Dear Healthy People,
Stop telling me about your friend with the same chronic illness who runs in 5Ks every weekend, is all vegan, and still has the energy to garden and do yoga in her spare time. That’s your friend. That isn’t me.
Stop trying to ‘empathize’. Stop telling me you know what it’s like to feel tired too — spoiler alert, you don’t. Stop telling me that you have depression as well. Stop telling me you know what it’s like to stumble or how your foot falls asleep sometimes too and just how damn annoying! that is.
Stop thinking I’m faking it. No, I don’t use a wheelchair. No, I don’t have a cane. No, I don’t wear my illness, but a day in my body would have you running in the opposite direction before you could sign the last letter of my name. The constant tingling in my fingertips and toes, the day I woke up with no vision in one of my eyes… yeah, I know, I don’t ‘look sick’. I’m not certain when telling someone that became a compliment, but it isn’t.
“There is no magic cure.”
Stop trying to fix me. Stop suggesting that special diet, those magical vitamins, this ‘bout of positive thinking!’, you read about online that cured people with my ailment. Let me make this abundantly clear on behalf of myself and every person in the world with a chronic illness: there is no magic cure. If there was, I wouldn’t take 3 shots a week. If there was, there’d be no need for fundraising, MRIs, and neurologist visits. If there was I wouldn’t be writing this right now.
Dear healthy people,
I’m tired. Listen to me, I’m tired. Walking in my body everyday is an experience enough, but dealing with your judgement, your pity, your general ignorant knowledge about my disease is a struggle in itself. Maybe you mean well. Maybe you believe what you’re saying or maybe you’re just trying to reassure me, but please stop.
There are ways to help if that’s your intention and the best way to find out how is simply to ask. Sometimes the best medicine for someone is an open ear and a kind heart — no advice necessary. Sometimes all it takes is for you to suppress that urge to interrupt, interject, advise and just listen. Trust me, you’ll do a world more of good that way.