As a person who suffers from an invisible illness, what is the best way to react when people around me comment that I look fine?
That is a hot topic isn’t it? We have a few posts on our web page where people have addressed this question too. And you may want to read the article at our sister-site, National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, “54 Ways You Say You Respond to “You look so good!”
I think that it depends on your relationship with the person. Is this someone close to you who you feel comfortable being a bit vulnerable? If so, consider sharing, “I know it may sound silly, but for some reason when you say that, even though I know you mean it as a compliment, it FEELS like no one understands the actual pain I am in. Rather than saying that, if you said [fill in the blank] I would feel a sense of relief that you are one of the few people who actually ‘get it.’”
If it’s someone who is an acquaintance, it’s not really necessary to explain. Or if you want to, though it’s natural to want to throw out a sarcastic remark, I think the gentler we are in our response, the more likely people will try to understand.
Even though you may not be close to the person, she may have a relative who is very ill. Your response may open her eyes to what her loved one is going through. So laugh with your ill friends about what you could say, but offer grace when it comes to the words you actually do say.