5 Questions I Wish People Would Stop Asking Me About My Illness
Sometimes people (even loved ones) ask me questions that, while they seem to be innocent, hint at a deeper misunderstanding of what “chronic” means. These questions can even make you feel as if you’re being blamed for something you have no control over. Here are just five questions I wish people will stop asking me.
1. “Why are you still on medication?”
“Because reasons,” I usually just want to answer – and leave it at that. Sometimes explaining that it’s chronic and medication will help, but sometimes it doesn’t, which usually makes the rest of the conversation a bit awkward.
Asking me why I’m still taking medication feels more like the person is blaming me for not “getting better,” or in a worse case, thinking that I’m addicted to the medication – or wanting to get me to stop taking my meds, usually cold turkey.
2. “Aren’t you healed yet?”
Shock and horror! That chronic condition that you’ve struggled from most of your life and will continue to struggle with didn’t clear up overnight!
I sometimes can’t stop the sigh escaping my lips when asked this question by someone to whom I’ve already explained on multiple occasions what the meaning of “chronic” is. Rather than show me that you care, you’ve actually just shown me that you didn’t listen to what I was saying.
3. “Have you tried ___?”
Insert anything after “tried,” really. Homoeopathy, acupuncture, standing on your head while reciting the alphabet backwards. The advice usually starts out innocent enough – until you either don’t want to follow it because it doesn’t work. or have tried it and it doesn’t work. (Meaning you used whatever it is wrong, apparently.)
Sometimes the best thing you can try to do is change the subject completely.
4. “But why are you still sick?”
This is usually asked (even though questions one to three have already been asked) in a “does not compute” kind of way. I guess it goes with the idea that medicine must cure once and for all, and not just relieve symptoms. It’s usually the fourth question where I need to keep my sarcasm in check and rather point out calmly that insulin also doesn’t actually cure diabetes.
5. “Haven’t you prayed about it yet?”
Probably if you’re not religious you’d just roll your eyes, but if you are religious, comments and questions of this kind can be extremely hurtful as they not only question your faith, but basically calls your morality into question. That is to say, if you were a better person, of course, you wouldn’t be ill.
In the end, I think it’s not the honest questions that I mind, but those which calls into question your character and the validity of your illness(es). In those cases, I’m afraid, sighs and blank stares may be directed at the one asking the questions. And, no, I’m not going to try standing on my head while reciting the alphabet backwards.
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