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To the Woman Who Asked If I Was 'Too Good' to Help My Peers

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You saw a lazy teenager who didn’t want to help put up chairs. You saw someone rudely watching their peers work while standing idly by. You felt it your responsibility to correct me, and with a proud look on your face you asked, “Are you too good to help?”

• What is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?
• What Are Common Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Symptoms?

You probably didn’t know I had only gotten three hours of sleep that night, or that pain had kept me up most nights that week. You probably didn’t know I had been in the hospital that week trying to get my pain under control. You couldn’t see that standing there, my whole body hurt. You couldn’t see my invisible illness.

I didn’t say anything to you, but I should have. If I hadn’t walked away and cried, maybe I would have said something like this:

I have a connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. You can’t see my illness, but it is there. I live every day in constant pain. If I do something like lift a heavy object, I am putting myself at risk of dislocations and more pain.

So no, I do not think I am too good to help pick up chairs. In fact, I would love to be able to help. My reality is, I am sick, and sometimes I have to do what is best for my body. It is OK if you do not understand that, but I am asking you to respect it.

Photo via BalazsKovacs on Getty Images.

Originally published: November 21, 2017
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