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To the Person Who Thinks I'm Lazy

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To the person who thinks I’m lazy, this is a letter for you. After reading this, I hope you’ll get a little insight into how that makes me feel.

Firstly, I must say it’s probably not your fault. To be completely honest, I might have made the same judgments about someone like me before I was diagnosed. But then again, I was a naïve teenager still learning about the world and the people in it when I was diagnosed.

This is not a post to claim you’re a bad person or to even claim I am never lazy. At the end of the day, I am a human being, and from time to time, probably just like you, I can get lazy. But for the most part, just getting through the day takes more energy from me than climbing a mountain might for you. I know you may read that and say to yourself, “What exaggeration!” but it’s true. It’s OK that you don’t completely understand. In truth, I hope you never really do since that would mean you go through the pain and exhaustion I do each day.

This is not a pity party either or a need for sympathy or attention. All people with a chronic illness want is understanding. Even if you cannot truly grasp just how difficult a regular day may be for us, we hope you grasp the fact that we are, in fact, not lazy. We want to work, we want to play with our kids, go on long walks and attend every event we are invited to, but while we want all that, sometimes it’s just not realistic on a daily basis.

Those with a chronic illness who are able to work count themselves lucky. Those who has an understanding manager and colleagues are even luckier. And those who have a family who is supportive feel as though they have hit the jackpot. A husband who understands why he has to cook the dinner — again — because we are in too much pain. A manager who gets we wish we were at work and knows we are important to the team despite our struggles. Friends who don’t make you feel guilty that you can’t make it out to see them after all. This is all we want.

We are not lazy, but rather in too much pain to get of bed, get dressed or brush our teeth. We are not lazy. We sit at home willing our body to move at ease, so we don’t have to feel like we’ve wasted an entire day doing nothing. On those occasions, we are not being lazy. Our bodies need to recover to get us through the rest of the week.

We are not lazy. We just need more time to recharge compared to other people, and we wish it were different, too. We want to have a good night’s sleep and feel refreshed and ready to take on the day. The only pain and discomfort we want to feel is a little indigestion or a cramp.

To the person who thinks I am lazy, I hope you never have to explain yourself like this to anyone. I am proud of myself and those around me who smile every day despite the pain they’re in. Those who try their best to meet their goals and live a “normal” life. I admire each and every one of you no matter what your chronic illness is and whether it’s much worse than mine or much milder.

Each day is a battle, but sometimes the illness isn’t the biggest battle. Instead, it’s the people who refuse to understand. Just remember you can’t always see someone’s pain, but we can see your judgment.

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Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

Originally published: November 4, 2016
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