A Superhero’s Secret Identity

Every Superhero has a secret identity. Someone they can be when they aren’t being…well, a superhero.


When you have a chronic illness, you are a superhero. You also have a secret identity. Someone you can revert to so that you don’t have to show the world your superhero responsibilities.

My secret identity is basically myself pretending that I don’t have a chronic pain disorder. I revert into this form of self when out in public, around people who likely wouldn’t understand the struggles I face on a day to day basis living and parenting with a chronic pain disorder.

Example, while at the birthday party yesterday, several well meaning people asked me how I was doing post-surgery. They were excited to see I had ditched the cane, because surely that means my pain is less and things are great. These people know me and love me, but I still had to put on my secret identity because there was other people around me who I didn’t know and wasn’t comfortable with. Plus, it’s kind of bad party etiquette to discuss an infected scar that needs draining every so often…right?

This secret identity does give me strength on occasion. I am able to make it through certain things thanks to the power of denial, and sheer determination and stubborness play a part as well.

I think we all have a secret identity when facing the world, though. We don’t always share every last bit of ourselves with those around us. Especially on Facebook, we only really share our highlight reel.


Probably because we know that we will be judged for how we handle things. Which is a crummy, dirty fact about being a human. Humans are judgemental.

The question I ask myself quite regularly is…is this secret identity of mine helpful, or harmful?

What are your thoughts on secret identities? Do you have one?


About J.C. Hannigan

25. Mother. Wife. Lover of words. Weaver of stories. My first book, Collide, is available in e-book for Amazon Kindle and Kobo.
This entry was posted in bits and pieces, blogging, challenges, chronic pain, living with chronic pain, MHE, musings, parenting, personal, updates, words, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A Superhero’s Secret Identity

  1. Paul Davis says:

    I love the apple picture. While I don’t understand the physical pain, I do understand pain and hiding it behind a mask. You smile, tell everyone you’re doing fantastic, and everyone comments how positive and awesome you are to hang with. Meanwhile I’m struggling with depression. đŸ˜› But hey, fake it till you make it. Hope the pain can be eased, especially from the surgery.

    • Jess says:

      Depression can be a physical pain too. You feel it physically as well as mentally. I suffer from that as well. And that’s my motto too…fake it until you make it. Thanks Paul!

  2. Jess Spencer says:

    I very much have a secret identity, there are a lot of things about myself and my past that I keep secret and don’t reveal to anyone except the people closest to me. I think some of the thing so rom my past would shock the people who know me, but don’t really know me super well. It is a. Hinderance, I think having a secret identity. It doesn’t let people know who you really are, what really makes you you. They don’t get to know every facet of you and therefore will never truly understand you and how you make decisions or why you react to certain things the way you do. I think that’s where a lot of miscommunication comes from, a lot of fights. You don’t truly open up to people and they don’t see why you react a certain way and then get mad because it’s different from how they would react. Perhaps if we took off the masks and showed people our real identities, there’d be more understanding…maybe.

    Or maybe I’m just full of shit and have no idea what I’m talking about. That works too đŸ˜‰

  3. This is awesome. You totally are a super hero with a secret identity!

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