When Someone's 'Well Wishes' Turned Into Words That Hurt
This past week I decided to write a post on Facebook, letting others know I was finally able to go out of the house after four days of dealing with kidney stones.
Quite a few people responded with love and wished me well. But one person messaged me and although wishing me well, said, “I’m so sorry you’re always sick.” I understand she meant no harm, but it actually tore at me a bit.
My battle and my brand has been built on being strong in the face of adversity. I work hard to show my vulnerability, but stay fabulous despite the many hurdles I jump over with an invisible illness. The feeling of disappointment and frustration when this comment was made has stuck with me all week.
Even the term “invisible” illness has its own issues because let’s be honest, my chronic illness is very visible to me everyday. I just choose to put make-up on, plaster a smile on my face, and fight through pain, daily. The underlying disappointment I had after this comment stemmed from feeling like I am failing at educating others about all of us who struggle daily, but choose to stay positive and “look” healthy.
This season for anyone is tough with the many flus, colds, and germs going around, but for someone who has a compromised immune system, it can be a nightmare always worrying about getting sick. Getting sick for us can mean weeks to months of recuperation or even worse — not recuperating at all.
I am very proactive with my health, but kidney stones have been part of my life for some time now. They hurt, they suck, and I have no control when they decide to rear their ugly head. It’s the same as anyone with an autoimmune disease has no control over when a flare happens, or a cancer fighter having no control over if or when cancer decides to spread, or someone who has a mental illness and their depression becomes overwhelming and debilitating. None of us choose to be sick or choose when these symptoms decide to wreak havoc. Believe me, it’s no day in the park to constantly be in fear of getting sick, or when the cancer might spread, or when a kidney stone decides it’s going to invade my body and leave me in debilitating pain.
So, before you make a statement to someone about always being sick, think about the person you are making that statement to, and what they might be feeling.
Having a chronic invisible illness is hard enough. Being doubted, judged or dismissed is heartbreaking.
Believe me, we are aware that we have a lot of bad days…in fact it can be really depressing sometimes. Some days, we have to grieve the people we should be. Most days, though, we celebrate the good days and continue to give our body the tools it needs to thrive.
Having compassion without judgment goes along way in this world. Please don’t judge our stories or the choices we make, because honestly, you don’t have any idea the options we had to choose from.
To all of my Fabulous Fighters, remember your worth, remember how far you have come and the daily struggles you choose to power through with a smile on your face and a light in your heart. You are true warriors and continue to inspire so many. Others may not understand what you’re going through, but your community is here for you.
“Compassion binds us to one another. Not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learned how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.”- Nelson Mandela