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  • Writer's pictureJo Sutherst

Sustainable Prospects – Shoot Mod4#23 – Behind the Mask – Forcing a Smile

“I hide all my problems behind my smile. Behind my smile is a world of pain. You think you know me, but you have no idea. When you see me smiling you may think that my life is perfect, or that I have no problems or pains that I suffer through, but nothing could be further from the truth. Before you judge my life to be perfect and without any pain make sure you know who I really am and what I go through each and every day . . . I . . . have a . . . [life-threatening] illness that is not always obvious, but that does not mean I am not affected by these things. Look behind my smile and take the time to find out who I am and what I go through, you may be surprised.”

– (, 2017)

Every day with my Addison’s Disease is a struggle. I tire easily, unexpectedly overreact to little things, and at the moment I am in a lot of pain with my muscles and joints. But thanks to my cocktail of medications, I have a mask that I wear every day. I am able to trick the world into thinking that I am happy, confident and pain-free.

Instead, I have to force a smile so that the children in my lessons feel content and happy to learn. I force a smile to make those around me feel ok about things. I force a smile to try and make myself feel better.

This week I went to see the doctors about the increasing and often excruciating pain in my muscles and back. At the moment I find standing, walking and sitting painful. It hurts for my cats to walk on my lap. Pretty much everything hurts me and I don’t get much relief from it. Physio helps, as do painkillers but it is a short-lived relief and the pain always comes back. At the end of the appointment, the doctor said that it is always lovely to see me. My face must have registered some confusion. I had just explained my pain levels to him and he was commenting how lovely it was to see me.  He qualified his comment by adding that ‘you are always so smiley’. Not sure what else I am supposed to do. Smiling is my coping mechanism and my defence. Hopefully, my blood test results will discover the cause and add to my medication cocktail to help mask the pain to me and the world. Time will tell. In the meantime, I will keep forcing that smile.

REFERENCES (2017). I hide all my problems behind my smile. Behind my smile is a world of pain. You think you know me, but you have no idea.. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Nov. 2017].

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