When it comes to interacting with people with disabilities and chronic illnesses, sometimes people without these conditions can be a bit...well, sh*tty. You'd think that common sense would prevail, but alas, the foot-in-mouth syndrome is apparently more catching than the latest covid strain du jeur. Here are a few of the things that I think are some of the sh*ttiest things ableists most commonly say.
*1. “But you don't look sick!"*
Well, by golly Sherlock you’ve solved it! 🧐 Now I can back to living a normal life—I’ll just ignore all these debilitating symptoms I’m experiencing, because through your powers of reduction, you have concluded that my outsides are a complete picture of my insides. (Eyes do a full exorcist rotation in head!)
*2. “Have you tried essential oils/going gluten-free/yoga [insert snake oil here]?"*
Tell me what medical school you went to again? Also, not that it’s any of your business Todd, but I could do the warrior yoga pose with lavender shoved up my backside while avoiding all gluten, and it *still* wouldn’t change much, besides possibly giving me splinters. (Ouch!)
*3. At least it's not [insert worse condition (usually cancer) here]."*
True, things could always be worse, but actually Margo, I’d rather have a medical condition that is diagnosable and treatable, rather than having someone like you invalidate my ongoing everyday limitations.
*4. You're too young to be sick!"*
Well, this is super awkward, because my body clearly didn't get the memo.
*5. “You're so inspiring for just...living."*
While I get the intention may be sweet, I’m just trying to my best to cope with the sh*tty hand I’ve been dealt. I also have no desire to be your token inspo friend that you tell stories to your friends and family about, as if repeating anecdotes about my life, somehow make you more interesting as a person. I mean, WTAF?
*6. “It's all in your head."*
Ah, your parents must be so proud of you Todd, for having a fake psychology degree to match that fake medical degree!
*7. “Can you have a baby?"*
And the award for the most inappropriate question goes to... this person! This is obviously nobody’s business, but it also (wrongfully) implies that every person with a womb must have an automatic desire to procreate. If I were to answer this question honestly, I’d have to say that with my dysfunctional family, I have plenty of grown kidults in my life. And anyone who has been there, knows that a crying baby is a doddle compared to dealing with toxic narcissistic assholes, but that would just make things even more awkward—for you.
*8. “But you were fine yesterday! Also, “You’re always sick!”*
Both less of a question; more of an accusation. What am I supposed to do—live stream the two days I spent resting before I went out, and the 3-4 days after when I’m crashed out for you to believe me when I say I’m not fine? And while we’re at it, why is it woke to believe every self identifying victim of discrimination, yet people with disabilities continue to be marginalised, or we just not cool enough for you Margo?
*9. “Everything happens for a reason."*
Comes with a matching faux serene / smug face that suggests my suffering is somehow connected to a higher purpose, that serves only to comfort the person saying this, rather than them having to you know… show any real understanding or empathy. Probably the kind of person you might want to consider keeping on your Christmas card list and leave it at that!
*10. “My aunt's neighbour’s dog's cousin's owner had that, and they're fine now."*
As my doctor always says, anyone who claims to have recovered within a few months, *never* actually had Chronic Fatigue, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, or Fibromyalgia, in the first place. Now, please tell me more about your aunt’s neighbour’s dog—preferably with pictures 😍
These are some of the most cringesh*tty things people have said to me about my chronic illness. What do you think? Any other ableist comments that compel you want to rotate your head or worse, à la the exorcist?
#MyCondition #ChronicIllness #ChronicFatigue #MyalgicEncephalomyelitis #Fibromyalgia #Disability #InvisibleIllness #DistractMe