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When You're Judged for Being 'Too Thin' as Someone With a Chronic Illness

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“You can never be too rich or too thin.” – Wallis Simpson

I have to respectfully disagree. I’m not sure about being “too rich,” but I think it is extremely possible to be too thin. I have spent my whole life being very thin. My low weight is not due to a choice. I do not have a eating disorder. I have struggled my whole life to achieve to a healthy weight. I eat healthy meals daily. My low weight is a result of medical difficulties shortly after birth, having numerous surgeries including nissen fundoplication and having a small airway. I have a rare genetic syndrome called Treacher Collins. I am unable to gain enough weight. Not every person with this syndrome is underweight, but it is common, in part due to numerous medical complications associated with it. Don’t tell me to eat more. One more sandwich or another bowl of ice cream will not “fix” or help me. Don’t tell me I have a problem you wish you had.

To me, being this thin is really terrifying.

I don’t have a safety net when I get sick. Similar to someone who is overweight, the first thing I’m judged for is my weight.

The last thing I want to be seen as is frail, fragile, or weak.

A hug won’t break me.

I’m not made out of glass.

A stiff wind won’t knock me over.

I can stand on my own, thank you very much.

Just like so many other people, I want to be seen not for what I look like, but who I am. To me, regardless of what anyone tells you, it is possible to be too thin.

The Mighty is asking the following: Tell us a story about a time you encountered a commonly held misconception about your disability, disease, or mental illness. How did you react, and what do you want to tell people who hold this misconception? Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: July 15, 2016
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