Happy Halloween, readers!
For day 18, the subject was “Dr Jekyll”, and it was perfect.
“Dr Jekyll” comes from a novel written in 1886, is about a lawyer who essentially transforms into a second person – one (Dr Jekyll) has a conscience, the other (Mr Hyde) does not. It created the way for the phrase “Jekyll and Hyde”, referring to a person who has the ability to have a dual nature (or two personalities).
Whilst day 18 was not necessarily focusing on people with split personalities or people who are two-faced (although it is Halloween!), it got me thinking about my ability to be two people – the one will the illnesses and the one who appears healthy. And I wasn’t the only one who had this thought.
My “Dr Jekyll” is the Lauren who appears “fine” from the outside. The Lauren who has done her hair and makeup, dressed up nicely, has a smile on her face and is going about her normal business without a care in the world. This Lauren mainly comes out at work – a role I play so well that people are completed aghast when they realise I’m actually really poorly.
My “Mr Hyde” is the Lauren who is clearly unwell. The Lauren who looks pale, drawn and has big black bags under her eyes. The Lauren who is once again in leggings and a baggy top, hair probably not brushed and certainly no makeup on. The Lauren who can’t stay awake and can’t move because of the pain, or can’t make it out because her bladder has gone into overdrive.
The ability of the chronic illness community to do this, to switch personalities and hide things so well is astonishing. I don’t mean to big myself up, but do you know how hard it is to hide it sometimes? It’s really hard, especially when it’s on the days where your symptoms are incredibly bothersome. And it’ll also take someone really special to be able to see the “Hyde” to your “Jekyll”.