#239 Have a good comeback ready

One of the extra strains of living with chronic pain is that it's invisible. And somehow, when they hear that we are ill, a lot of people don't know what to say... so they say "But you look good!" and probably mean it as a compliment. Of course when you're in intense pain this feels like a slap in the face, as if they don't believe you when you say that you could hardly manage to hold your toothbrush that morning. In general, people seem to believe that illness that doesn't show is intrinsically questionable.

Feeling misunderstood is something that can lead to isolation. I almost stopped going to lectures after a couple old ladies harassed me for laying down on the tram on my way back from campus one day. I was 22 yrs old, I lived with constant pain and an unstable back fracture and was just trying to get an education.

After living with chronic disease for several years you don't feel the sting of "You look so good" that much anymore, but it still gets to you on a bad day. That's why it's good to have a creative comeback ready the next time you hear it!

For Invisible Illness Awareness Week last year they collected different responses to this classic unwelcome compliment and published 54 ways you say you respond to "But you look so good"

Some classics are:

"Thank you. I’m on my way to the Oscars."
"I’d be great if it wasn’t for the pain."
"I’m not complaining about my looks."

Sometimes its easier to be bitter than to be nice, but I believe that's just spreading the pain and it doesn't help anyone. Physical pain doesn't mean we lose our creativity though... what would your comeback be?

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