There’s a big debate going on about communicating your illness or keeping it all to yourself. I wrote a blog a few years ago about this exact subject, so I guess it is time to write another one.
There is a commonly followed theory and philosophy that if you don’t talk about your illness and if you don’t acknowledge your illness, that you are a stronger person.
I do not believe this, and I certainly do not endorse this theory at all.
Chronic illness has become this out of sight, out of mind to make others feel better. However, it is directed to the chronically ill so they keep quiet and don’t disturb the universe. Our society doesn’t need to hear about your unpleasantness. AND This is a bunch of bullshit!
This world is experiencing many transitions. We are addressing many problematic systemic issues. We are trying to overcome many barriers in just the way we treat one another. This systemic issue of chronic illness is just as important as all the barriers we are trying to break. Chronic illness and medical care are aligned with mental illness, but we deem them silent as a way to state our wellness. It’s wrong, damaging, and isolating. I would even go as far as saying its emotionally damaging.
Chronic illness and auto-immune diseases are on the rise. 99.9% of diseases are caused by stress. When you look at our North American lifestyle, it’s no wonder many of us are sick. We love to work. We rarely rest, and we treat our bodies like machines instead of our souls uniform. NOW, chronic illness is being linked to childhood trauma.
The chronically ill humans are everywhere. We are at your workplace. We are shopping alongside you in the stores.
We’re at your yoga studios and gyms. We’re sharing our doctors’ offices with you. However, many of us stay in the closet because being chronically ill is not a normal thing to acknowledge or to talk about. Many, who have read my blog and seen some posts I have shared, have given me the honor of sharing their own story. They were vulnerable with me and not their loved ones in some cases. Some who’ve shared their story have not shared it with another single soul… WHY???!!!! In a simple answer, discussing your chronic illness is not normalized and it is not considered positive.
We contribute to our society. We shouldn’t have to hide like a secret. We aren’t the bones in your closet that you’re embarrassed to have fly out yah closet. We’re people. We’re people who got sick. We’re people whose bodies are fighting themselves. An everyday battle. We are people that just want to live our lives.
We are an asset to society. We are beautiful people that love hard and want the best for others. We put on a show every day for you. We are not faking to get drugs. We’re not faking to not work and be on disability. We’re not faking to get attention. We fake being well for you, for our families, friends, and ourselves. BUT we need to show you our reality!!! We need a fan base. We need a supportive network to be vulnerable with. We need a cheerleading section to encourage us to keep fighting. Hear me when I tell you this, it is easier to be ill than fight the illness… Did you hear me in the back ??? IT IS EASIER TO GIVE IN AND LET THE DISEASE TAKE OVER THAN IT IS TO FIGHT BACK!!!!!!
I am so blessed to have developed relationships with loved ones that I can be vulnerable with. I am honest. If I feel like shit, I say so. If I’m scared, I say so. If I feel lost, I say so because it’s the ultimate truth. But in saying that, I also fight back with everything. I put my illness first! I have excepted them as mine. Why?! Because they are not curable and therefore a part of me now. I need to accept it just as I would a learning disability, and/or a physical disability.
I strongly believe in mind over matter. If I was not positive about my life and my treatments I would not be in the long-term remission that I have achieved. However, speaking about it, informing others about it, educating others normalizes my life with it. My illness is a part of my story. My illness is a part of my achievements. My illness is the priority of my life.
So no, I will not keep quiet about my chronic illness and of auto-immune diseases in general. My entire purpose in this life is to advocate and speak out for others especially about the battles that I am facing and understand. Someone may learn something new. I may just be able to provide a glimmer of hope to someone else.
Imagine all the learning we could achieve if we just listened to one another with kindness and acceptance. WHAT A CONCEPT!
We need to normalize talking about chronic illness, and mental wellness.
We need to acknowledge that staying quiet about issues that makes others feel uncomfortable, only continues to leave others isolated. Whether we communicate our illness to others has no basis for our recovery and remission. That’s dependant on lifestyle, consumption of processed foods, stress levels, and how we treat our bodies as well as our minds. Our bodies are just different. They work differently than yours.
So to all my chronically ill community members; speak about your illness, tell your stories, and do not feel shame. This is not your fault and you have nothing to feel guilty about. Put your health first, create strong boundaries around yourself and your relationships. Those who love you and support you are what you need and those relationships you had to let go of, well they wouldn’t have been supportive whether you were ill or not.
Achieve your level of happiness and live your life anyway…