The Frustration of Dealing With the Ignorance Surrounding Chronic Illness


“You don’t look sick.”

“Don’t exaggerate your symptoms.”

“It’s not like you have cancer, dude. Chill.”

“Is your disease contagious?”

“You should go see a doctor.”

These are a few of the annoying yet typical phrases many ignorant people make about chronic illness. If you don’t say to people you are terminally ill, they don’t seem to care at all about your disease. You cannot say how you really are feeling, because people often do not believe you, so I usually say I am just tired to avoid a long talk about how the mind controls the body.

 

When people say that a positive attitude can heal you, I kind of want to grab their bodies and transmit what I am feeling so maybe they’ll understand. Do they seriously think I would have a pill box bigger than my head if my thoughts could control my illness? I am not saying that attitude does not help, because it does, but it does not mean you’ll get cured for being positive.

I had been laughed at, judged and mocked several times because nobody believes me when I say my fatigue is bringing my down. I sleep a lot, anywhere, anytime, even though I don’t want to, because my body demands to restore the energy due to the medicine’s side effects or my illness itself. Also, bathroom emergencies for those with chronic illness seem to be item for people to laugh about. They believe we have diarrhea 24/7, when our body may just need to pee more than usual due to its internal condition.

Lupus and Crohn’s disease are my daily burdens. These diseases, like so many others, don’t receive as much attention as better-known illnesses. I am sure well-known diseases are awful as well, but because they are the only ones most people know about, those are the only ones they care about. People need to be informed, because if they were, they could save us chronically ill people a lot of emotional pain due to their ignorance.

People have asked me if my disease can be sexually transmitted, and have assumed really bad things about me. Some people stay away from me, and avoid drinking from the same bottle as I do in order to “be safe.” We were was born this way; our genes decided we were the ones to be special and different. Our bodies are superheroes that can endure a lot more than most people’s.

If I had not gone to a doctor, I probably wouldn’t be alive right now, so please stop asking if I am going to a doctor. It makes me tired to explain to people who are not my family nor my doctors about my symptoms or answer any questions related to my disease. I am a person too, full of a bag of emotions which can be easily damaged by ignorant comments.

I am tired of being seen differently because of something I didn’t choose to possess. We are superheroes – you know why? Our bodies are so bored with being perfect that they start damaging themselves because they don’t have anything better to do. We accomplish as many tasks as we can, and there are no vacation days from our disease. It’s our super job to be healthy and do everything regular people do. Smile, put your chin up and show your beauty to the world, ladies and gentlemen.

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Thinkstock photo via ElenkaSi.


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