Having chronic migraines, I have noticed how I can look one way, but I feel quite another way. For example, I ask myself how I can be in such horrible pain at work and no one around me even notices. Truly frustrated with this dilemma, I picked up a copy of Just Fine: Unmasking Concealed Chronic Illness and Pain by Carol Sveilich to see if I could find some answers.
The book discusses hidden health disorders in a unique way because the author not only offers insights and coping tips offered from physicians and psychologists, including traditional medicine and mind-body medicine. She also has included profiles of people living with a hidden health disorder and she lets them tell their story in their own words, along with their photographs.
What I really liked about the book was being educated about other types of concealed illnesses, and at the same time, how I saw myself in many of the stories. There were common threads of emotions from these people living double lives.
Some of the topics from the book included how to deal with canceling plans, learning how to answer people when they ask how you are, being envious of other people in good health, sacrificing personal goals, making adjustments, and how to respond to people when they question the severity of your symptoms.
I was surprised and relieved to see the author even dealt with the subject of sex with a chronic illness, which I never saw explored before in a book.
This book definitely made me feel not so alone with my double life. It was very comforting and it taught me how to look at people differently, because someone who is smiling in the office might be living with a hidden health disorder like me.