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When You Don't Feel Like You're 'Sick Enough' to Get Help

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Some days I feel like a fraud. I feel like I’m not “sick enough” or that I’m somehow exaggerating the extent of my illness.

I struggle daily with chronic pain, and I have near-debilitating exhaustion to boot. All of this may stem from my scoliosis, or it may not. The doctors still don’t know. I have had to try and find jobs that I can still do in spite of my issues, I had to drop out of school because of them.

But I can still work. I can get out of bed every day. While I wish my body would let me nap, I can stay awake all day in spite of my exhaustion.

Now, maybe some of this is because between writing and video games, my life was already somewhat sedentary before chronic pain took over, but nonetheless I still struggle with seeing my illness as more than an excuse. And it’s my good days that are the worst.

Now, I have a friend with scoliosis, and hers is objectively worse than mine. She also has additional problems not related to scoliosis. We were talking one day and she mentioned she sometimes feels like she’s not sick enough because she knows others who are paralyzed by their scoliosis. This shocked me, knowing the severity of her scoliosis compared to mine.

I’ve heard many times that the fact that other people have things worse than you does not in any way diminish your own problems, but this experience really brought this home to me. Just because someone can’t do as much as you doesn’t make you any less sick. Being able to get out of bed doesn’t mean you are OK, and doesn’t make you any less deserving of help or understanding.

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Thinkstock photo by Marjan_Apostolovic

Originally published: August 2, 2017
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