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Why I Don't Believe Those of Us With Chronic Illness Need to Explain Ourselves

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To everyone who is living with a long-term or chronic illness, I have a serious question for you:

Why do we feel the need to explain ourselves to others under the guise of “I don’t care what you think” or “this is who I am?” I think it’s important for us to be able to understand our differences; however, I don’t think we need to explain why we’re not “lazy, we have a chronic illness,” for example.


I see so many articles like that and I respect that perspective and the energy it took to craft a response to a world that largely doesn’t understand people who are “different,” or people who struggle with something they never have. But I don’t think we need to explain our illnesses to anyone else, unless it’s someone who is truly curious or open to listening.

No matter what we say or do, the articles we write or the videos we make, there are people who will still think we are lazy, complainers or hypochondriacs, and I don’t believe we can’t change that. I appreciate everyone who is bringing awareness to our issues and what we live with day in and day out. I believe we first need to stop feeling like we have to “explain ourselves” to them though.

Instead of explaining ourselves, let’s take care of ourselves, support each other and offer information to those loved ones and others who are truly curious and understanding about what we’re going through.

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Thinkstock photo via zubada.

Originally published: July 6, 2017
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