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To the People Who Doubt My Illness

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Dear People Who Doubt My Illness(es),

Yes, I am talking to you. The doctors who told me I was faking it, the “friends” who think I overplay my illness and everyone else.

In the morning, I wake up and stretch… my joints crack and clip. During the day, I randomly get sharp pains in my knee and overwhelming fatigue. And I feel the need to clarify that “fatigue” is not “I need to take a nap and then I’ll feel better.” It is actually “every ounce of my being is exhausted but I probably wouldn’t be able to sleep if I tried.”

If someone is sick, I need to avoid them at all costs. My immune system, or lack thereof, leads me to getting sick more easily and more severely.

I’m covered in bruises not because I’m “clumsy” but because I bruise from even a simple touch (and that simple touch also hurts like crazy, long after it’s happened).

Please don’t say, “LOL, you’re always at the doctor,” because I go to the doctor not for the laughs but because I have serious health issues.

There are also some people who really, really try to understand and be nice, but comparing the flu your grandma got in 2004 to my chronic illness makes me feel misunderstood and depressed.

My chronic illness isolates me. I want to hang out with you and do things but a lot of times I seriously can’t. Please understand you’re still my friend and I really appreciate being invited, but I can’t really plan out my spoons.

Next time someone comes to you with similar issues, please treat them with compassion and believe them even if you’ve “never seen that before.”

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Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: December 9, 2016
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