Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dirty Liar

I went for a check-up yesterday. It was nice to see my specialist smile after he read my test results.

Every trip to the hospital makes me think about my journeys; the one to a proper diagnosis and the one to Healthy Town. Since I started writing this blog, the appointments have also brought back memories of what I did to isolate myself.

Even the most anti-social guy is a social being. To be truly anti-social, you’d have to live in the woods by yourself completely off the grid and off the land.

I’m not very good at catching fish and I’ll never know a poisonous mushroom from a good one, but I wanted to learn when Dr. HC diagnosed me with that shit condition. Instead of watching reruns of Survivorman, I stayed in the city with Tim and the doctors.

Living with neighbours, co-workers and family can be tricky when there’s a part of you that you’re unwilling to share. Luckily, there are a few ways to tell a non-truth.

Misdirection: You weren’t here yesterday, says a co-worker. Are you okay? Ah, I wasn’t feeling well, I reply, but I’m great now. Hey, how did the big meeting go? Was Frank super pissed about your numbers?

Side step: Do you have Fibromyalgia? Well, Boss, there’s a lot going on right now.

Denial: I’m fine, don’t worry.

The truth is, in order to segregate my illness from certain parts of my life, I had to lie. I remember one test that required me to wear a pretty bulky piece of electronic equipment for 48 hours during the work week. My first thought was about hiding it from my co-workers.

And I did hide it. If anyone noticed, they didn’t say. There are enough people there who would say something, regardless of my attempts to stay distant.

Lying takes tremendous energy, which was something I didn’t have to spare. I had to map out escape routes beforehand, because I wasn’t good at thinking in the moment. I had to pin down distractions.

At first, my heart would pound with every spoken lie, and then it became routine. Easily ignored. Just like the middle-aged panhandler, who made me sad at first. His sign said he needed money because he was travelling. Three days later, that same man was there with the same sign. After two weeks, I was annoyed, and a month later I didn’t care. The sign might have been more effective if he travelled to another intersection.

In my life, I at least had the decency to change my sign according to circumstance. But it didn’t really matter, because with every act of misdirection, the adrenaline slowed and I became a liar.


  1. Oh, sad that you felt you needed to lie, but I can understand. Do people know now?

  2. I recently started telling people. At the time, I thought lying was better than announcing my issues and then refusing to talk about them. It is sad :(

  3. It makes you wonder how many people are lying or hiding something. If they are good at it, how would you know? What secrets are being carried around, getting heavier and heavier?

    Straight From Hel

  4. Hey Helen, great questions. I imagine we're all hiding something. There are some facts that you share with the world and other facts that you share with a small group of people. The world does not have the right to your whole story.

    Many don't see choosing confidants as keeping secrets from the rest of the world, but if you're hiding a big thing and it takes a lot of energy, it becomes a secret, just like you become a liar after lying too many times.

  5. It's not a matter of lying really it's amatter of protrcting yourself your physical and mental well being. The fact that there are many non beleivers out there both in the medical profession and amongst the general public . Empathy for this condition is rare I mean hey what the hell it's not like you have cancer is generally the response. No I don't have cancer, but it's a little uncomfortable that sonmetimes I wish I did (i've never sid this to anyone before. NOt that I in any way dismiss cancer or regret not having it that's another hellish battle I would not want to fight, although my respect for those that do is insurmountable. I just know that their condition gives them access to incredible resources both medically and socially. It's sad that some times I resent that sometimes I feel so alone. thanks jenn xo j

  6. jk, you can write comments on my blog now!

    I resented feeling so alone, too. In fact, I got really, really angry. I'm going to write about this next, after the holidays.