I was on twitter a few weeks ago and came across something that caught my eye. There was a post which headline read “20 Things I’ve Learned From Being Sick”. I thought to myself, how many of them do I have in common with this person ? So I went to the blog and what I read hit me in a way I have trouble explaining. The article was very funny first off, but underneath the humour was so relatable and for me at least, seemed to switch something on the inside of me about my experience of being sick. In such a GOOD way.
I experienced some of the 20 but not all, however, the whole article is intelligent, funny and worth reading over and over. The author has lupus which I’ve heard from my own rheumatologist is a very painful & complicated disease.
It made me realize I was struggling so hard to impress others about being strong, inspirational, someone to look up to …. But just because I am sick doesn’t mean I have to be any of these things. I have had family members and friends tell me that I am. So … I doing a good job of being sick ? I don’t feel that way. Especially tough, are the critics who say I am not trying hard enough. I literally could kick them in the throat. Because sweetheart, you wouldn’t last a day in my slippers !
I have thought that to myself so many times and this author articulated sickness in a way I never could. Nonetheless, I am truly grateful for reading it. I feel entitled to feel how I feel no matter what people think or don’t think. My friends, it took me a long time to be able to laugh at being sick, but it felt SO DAMN GOOD.
The author has graciously agreed to let me quote her article & I would like to share with you a few points of this article that really hit home for me. If you want to read the entire article the source is at the bottom of this post, and I encourage you to read it, as well as the other posts. Sick or not.
“20 Things I’ve Learned from Being Sick
A few times a month I get e-mails from these awful websites that focus on inspirational nonsense and the editors tell me that they came across my blog and thought I would be a good fit for their site … I just can’t submit something to websites that are 90% made up of articles with titles like “watch this inspiring paraplegic man play the drums! How inspiring! If he can drum then you can do anything!” No. If he can drum that doesn’t mean I can climb Mount Everest. There is zero correlation between those two things. I also have no interest in climbing Mount Everest so what is your article even proving, stupid website?!
So the folks asked for a “list-type” article detailing the inspiring things I have learned since being diagnosed with lupus.” And the request made me so irate that I actually sat down and came up with a list of actual real life things I have learned from being sick. So here is the list I created.
- Stairs are the worst.
- Beds are the best.
My bed is my best friend.
- Netflix is also the best.
Okay, I have two best friends. Bed and Netflix. How did anyone get through having a chronic illness before Netflix was invented? I guess you just taped every episode of Days of Our Lives and re-watched it on your sick days.
- My boyfriend (husband) is really patient.
- I’ve learned who my true friends are.
Having a chronic illness is a great way to find out who your true friends are. I guess an even better way to find out who your true friends are would be to text and ask them. Definitely way less dramatic than getting lupus.
- “But you don’t look sick” is the worst thing you can say to someone with an invisible illness.
It makes me want to hulk out every time I hear it. My friend Clare, who is really good at friendship, once said to me “You don’t look sick, but I bet that makes it even harder for you sometimes.” Yes! Be like Clare. Say things like that instead of ending the sentence on “but you don’t look sick.” If you say “but you don’t look sick” to me, this is how I hear it: “As a healthy person I feel the need to comment on your struggles even though it’s really none of my business and I must say that you do not look sick, which is my way of not validating your illness…….(cont’d) If you’re telling me I don’t look sick because maybe my lipstick looks really fierce and I styled my hair a really cool way today just tell me my lipstick looks fierce and that I’m rocking my hairstyle! How I look has no relation to how I feel.
- You have to joke around about your illness sometimes.
(Cont’d) It’s important for me to have friends in my life who are also not serious people and who can joke around about it too. It makes coping with an illness way easier and it also makes it much easier to openly talk about your illness with those around you.
(And my favorite of all ….)
- Everyone expects me to suddenly be inspirational and that’s total BULLSHIT.
I’m sorry, being sick or disabled just doesn’t make me or anyone else an inspiration. And if you keep thinking that, you are upholding and propelling very dangerous ableist beliefs that end up objectifying sick and disabled people and making them some sort of “other.” So quit it.
I am not an inspiration. I spend 90% of my time squandering my potential while binge watching Netflix originals. If someday I actually do make a difference in the world by winning the lottery and funding this breakthrough lupus treatment then give me a shout. But for now just let me watch Daredevil in peace.”
I think I love her !!! And she now has a follower for life. Thank you Lisa, you have no idea how you’ve empowered me.
I know this post is a long one, but I felt I had to do the article justice because everytime I read it it makes me laugh. And, it expresses so perfectly how I have felt so many times and just wasn’t bold enough to speak up. I hope this made you smile or laugh. I am off to get some fake eyelashes on … why, because I damn well feel like it !