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I Don't Owe Anyone an Explanation or Apology for My Health

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Reading articles and seeing posts about chronic illness and the negative effect it can have on those affected sometimes becomes depressing. The articles are needed to spread awareness and inform people. I get that. 

But as someone with a chronic illness, I become somewhat hopeless when reading about all of the things chronic conditions prohibit us from doing.


Those of us who have a chronic condition didn’t ask for it (at least I hope not!). So why do we apologize so easily when we can’t do something or have to break plans? I’m guilty of it too.

Do we expect apologies every time someone we have plans with comes down with the flu or food poisoning? I know I don’t. So why is it expected of us?

To be quite frank, I don’t feel I owe an explanation to anyone when it comes to my health. I didn’t ask for it but now that it’s here to stay, I do have the choice in how much or little I want to divulge.

For example, I had a “friend” who is no longer in my life get angry with me for sleeping through our plans. My friend wanted to continue saying I blew him off. People who do not have chronic illness should be more careful in their choice of words.

There is a major difference between blowing someone off and being so exhausted that you slept through every alarm, straight into Monday morning from Friday.

And I am expected to apologize? Don’t people realize what I would give to have a “normal” weekend? And there are some people out there who will attempt to make you feel even worse about it!

You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your health or how it limits you. I don’t recall our chronic illness politely asking if it can swoop in and drastically change our lives.

Unfortunately, our conditions are here to stay, but no one except for you determines how you discuss your health condition or how much you decide to share.

So, today, I am taking my own pledge to stop explaining why I’m so tired or why I slept 72 hours straight.

woman standing on a pier over the ocean at sunset

Today, I will no longer apologize for my health issues and or symptoms I experience. I am not my chronic illness. I will no longer apologize on its behalf because we are separate entities in this life.

Today, I am saying goodbye to those who feel they’re entitled to an explanation on why I wasn’t able to do something or keep plans. No one is privy to that information unless I make it readily available.

Today, I am done apologizing for what I have no control over. Today, I’m taking a stance for me. I hope you will too.

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Originally published: June 27, 2017
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