When You Don't Feel Like You're 'Sick Enough' to Get Help


Some days I feel like a fraud. I feel like I’m not “sick enough” or that I’m somehow exaggerating the extent of my illness.

I struggle daily with chronic pain, and I have near-debilitating exhaustion to boot. All of this may stem from my scoliosis, or it may not. The doctors still don’t know. I have had to try and find jobs that I can still do in spite of my issues, I had to drop out of school because of them.

But I can still work. I can get out of bed every day. While I wish my body would let me nap, I can stay awake all day in spite of my exhaustion.

Now, maybe some of this is because between writing and video games, my life was already somewhat sedentary before chronic pain took over, but nonetheless I still struggle with seeing my illness as more than an excuse. And it’s my good days that are the worst.

Now, I have a friend with scoliosis, and hers is objectively worse than mine. She also has additional problems not related to scoliosis. We were talking one day and she mentioned she sometimes feels like she’s not sick enough because she knows others who are paralyzed by their scoliosis. This shocked me, knowing the severity of her scoliosis compared to mine.

I’ve heard many times that the fact that other people have things worse than you does not in any way diminish your own problems, but this experience really brought this home to me. Just because someone can’t do as much as you doesn’t make you any less sick. Being able to get out of bed doesn’t mean you are OK, and doesn’t make you any less deserving of help or understanding.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo by Marjan_Apostolovic

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Chronic Pain

watercolor painting of woman in red dress putting on blush

My Struggle to Control How People See Me and My Invisible Illness

Invisible illnesses can take so much of a person’s independence. They can berate the mind and weigh on the body day in and day out, all the while leaving your outward appearance relatively unchanged. Strangers look at you stepping out of your car in a disabled parking spot with piercing eyes and you swear you can hear [...]

When Chronic Pain Pushes Me to Take My Anger Out on Loved Ones

I can remember being a little girl and getting yelled at by my mother for no particular reason. My mother has always been loving and kind, so for her to yell at me was a pretty big deal. My dad would always tell me, “Be patient with Mommy, she’s in a lot of pain.” As [...]

4 Tips for Dealing With Chronic Pain in College

I was lucky enough to make it through college before my chronic pain entered my life. And guess what? I still struggled. So I can’t lie and tell you it is going to be easy. Studying will take time and energy, being hunched over your laptop while writing a term paper will be painful and [...]
male doctor talking to female patient

We Need to Talk About the Sexism Against Women in Healthcare

When talking about sexism in healthcare I usually get one of the following reactions: disbelief and unawareness, likely paired with a bit of rolling eyes, or someone nods immediately as they have either had a similar experience as me or know someone else who’s been met with sexism in healthcare, so their reaction is sympathetic and knowing. [...]