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Why Do I Feel the Need to Apologize for My Chronic Illness?

I apologize for my chronic illness too much (sorry).

I have fibromyalgia.¬†I have always had it, even though I didn’t know the name of it until I was in my 20s. You’d think by now I would be used to its effects and the ways it can limit my abilities to do stuff. I¬†feel like I am. So why do I find myself so often feeling guilty or apologizing?

I¬†apologize for the housework I can’t do. I¬†apologize that I don’t have a job. I¬†apologize when I need to rest. I apologize that I can’t walk very far.¬†I apologize that I can’t be spontaneous.¬†I apologize for needing to change plans.¬†And those are just the first ones that come to mind.¬†So I ask again, why?

Is it because I feel like a burden if I need help or can’t help others?¬†Maybe it’s a direct result of being doubted by the medical profession for so many years.¬†Perhaps it’s connected to having to fight for disability benefits and try to prove my invisible illness to strangers who mostly don’t believe me.¬†Is it because I know it affects my loved ones too? Even if just by worrying them.¬†Or is it because as a woman, I have been conditioned by society to feel guilt, insecurity and a responsibility to make everyone around us feel happy, cared for and looked after?¬†I’m sure The Mighty’s male-identifying community¬†could confirm whether it’s the same for them or not.

I’m aware that I’ve asked a lot of questions and not given any concrete answers. Sorry about that. Oops, not again! But I want to reassure any of you who also struggle with guilt and apologizing unnecessarily that I understand the feeling. Please try to remember, you don’t need to feel that way. You are 100 percent enough.

Getty image by kwasny221.