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To the People Who Try to Tell Me How to Be Sick

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You are not a doctor.

I have many doctors, who have all trained for several years solely in treating people like me. Sometimes, a cure doesn’t exist. That doesn’t mean you can make one up.

You are also not a scientist.

Google does not replace several years of education. Your search is not going to yield information doctors or scientists have not discovered before “mydeliciouscurefoodamazingexercisehellyeah” did.

It is not “luck” that my partner did not dump me in a hospital carpark.

Just because I am sick, does not mean my partner thinks of me differently than when I was well. Just because I am sick, does not mean I am unlovable. My partner and I chose each other because we like each other a lot. It is not luck that my relationship didn’t fall apart when I got sick.

It is not understandable that I lost all my friends.

I don’t care how difficult it is for a well person to be around a sick person — it is unimaginably harder to be the person who is actually sick. I deserve friendship despite my sickness. The friends I no longer have did not have an understandable reason for ceasing friendship with me because I am sick.

It is not luck that I don’t have cancer.

Good luck is not getting sick. Good luck is being well. I am allowed to feel sad and disappointed that my life did not turn out the way I had planned.

It is OK to be ungrateful.

Overnight, I lost the life I knew and had to embrace all this blergh. That sucks. It’s OK to not find good things in being sick.

It is also OK to be grateful.

It is also OK to acknowledge the things being sick has changed for me. It is my job to acknowledge these things, not yours.

You cannot cure me.

And I do not want you to try. To the girl I met on the bus who told me to follow a meditation and diet plan for a minimum of two years — it will not cure me. To the friend who got frustrated I would not purchase Bach flower remedies by the liter — it will not cure me. To the people who recommended diets to me — they will not cure me. These options were discussed and discounted long before you clicked Google. If there was a chance they would help, I have already tried them. There is harm in trying. It wastes time, energy, money, hope and myself.  

I support Big Pharma.

I love that science, scientists, and research has provided me with a few drugs that are safe for me to take and give me a much improved life.

I have made educated decisions about my treatment with my doctors and you do not have a say in that.

I appreciate that your intentions are (usually) good.

But good intentions don’t pop around for a cup of tea. Good intentions do not go down to the chemist to pick up my medications, or drive me two hours to an appointment, or sit next to me in hospital and hold my hand because I am scared even though I was scared last week and the week before and probably will be next week too.

I do not have general unwellness.

If you do not know what is wrong with me, please do not tell me how to get better.

Originally published: July 13, 2016
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