tw: ableism, staring at disabled peopleAnonymous asked realsocialskills:I look contagious but I’m not. How do I tell people this? How do I get them to stop staring and stop being afraid they’ll catch my uncatchable condition?realsocialskills said:I don’t know, unfortunately. Do any of y’all have strategies for dealing with this?
My answer even now is cover up. That’s all I can do. I wish there was a better solution, sorry. If anyone has one, I’d love it.
(I’m also chiming in that wearing a t-shirt with my condition on it is highly uncomfortable and just not feasible.)
What do you mean by cover up? Do you mean like, wearing a lot of clothing? Or something else?
For example, if the mark is on your neck, wear high collars/a scarf. On your leg, wear pants. On your arm, wear sleeves/an armband. It sucks to do this when you’re really hot, but I chose to instead of being stared at. (You may choose not to, and that’s fine, of course.)
Depending on what type of mark it is, and how sensitive you are, you may be able to use make-up.
people can judge you as “looking contagious” from other chronic disabling conditions besides skin conditions. CF, COPD or asthma for example can cause a chronic cough that might appear like pneumonia or another contagious cough. Anxiety can manifest in chronic itching or skin picking which could be judged as head lice, etc.
Sometimes, it’s safer to lie about these conditions than to tell the truth and disclose (for example, if you are afraid of being outed at work, or if you are afraid of social backlash from a more chronic condition.)
Or simply stating “it’s not contagious” will often work.
I wish “it’s not contagious” worked more reliably, though. I have CF, and I disclose to more people than I probably should, because a lot of people won’t stop pushing after I try that.
Both of you have excellent points. By the way, has “something’s caught in my throat, no biggie” worked for any chronic coughers?