A little while ago I posted Part 1 of my series all about the individuals attitude towards their disability and/or chronic illness. You can catch up with that post here.
Tonight, part 2 is a guest post from Emma over at I’ve Tried Aspirin. Huge thanks to Emma for responding to my questions.
When Estelle asked me for my opinion on this topic, she couldn’t have picked a better time. I’ve now been chronically ill for nine months and whilst I strive every day to maintain my “up and at ’em” attitude, last week really took its toll on me. I was just about coming back from the brink of absolute emotional despair after three days of horrendous symptoms and fighting my corner with various healthcare professionals when someone uttered the words: “wow, that’s really tough but you’re a strong woman and you’ll get through this”. Do you know how irritating that comment is and how grating it becomes when it’s repeated to me again and again?
Up until a few years ago, I’d lead a pretty hellish life. A novel worthy life in fact so that’s exactly what I’m doing with it. Yet here I am, still standing. I’m the person people come to with their legal problems (I was a law student) and seek out for advice on life situations nobody else would know anything about. I’m the tenacious dog with a bone who won’t take no for an answer when I know justice isn’t being served. I’m the woman who just somehow, keeps getting from A to B regardless of what life has thrown in her direction. What this translates to however is that in the nine months I’ve been sick, I’ve had one visitor. One. By all means, I’d describe myself as someone who loves their own company but that’s a stretch even for me.
Please do not feel sorry for me, in fact I demand that you don’t. That is not what this is about. This is about conveying that your friend, family member, neighbour or colleague might just be tough as old boots but that doesn’t make it acceptable for you to, let’s face it, turn your back on them because they’re strong. When you’re chronically ill you face daily symptoms, vicious flare ups, nasty hospital visits and have to fight with the bureaucracy of the healthcare system to access the medicine and care you’re legally entitled to. Your life is spent trying to prove yourself and that’s enough to knock even the toughest down. So next time you see someone with a long term illness demonstrating their strength once again, don’t comment on it. Instead, ask to pop round for tea or check if they need any groceries. A small gesture like that is ironically what will give them the strength to get up and fight once again
You can follow Emma here:
Get in touch below with your comments. What do you think? Is support from those around you important? Does it make a difference to your coping mechanisms?