September 10-16 is National Chronic Illness Awareness Week. In my posts I hope to comfort those who are first experiencing chronic illness and those who continue to live a life in chronic pain and with chronic illness; as well as educate those who do not know what it is like to live with an Invisible Illness.
The theme for this year’s Invisible Illness Awareness Week is “Invisible Illness? Share Your Visible Hope!
A lot of people participating in this year’s Invisible Illness Awareness Week are choosing to write about the hurtful things that many people who are not chronically ill say to those of us who are.
And I will be one of them.
Two things in particular have been resonating with me during my latest battle with Bipolar Disorder:
“It is impossible for you to have more than a dozen diagnoses. You have Lupus and you have Bipolar Disorder. Anything else you feel is a complication of Lupus and is not an actual diagnosis. Your mental illness makes you think that you have other diseases.”
“Why do you write a blog called “Mama Sick?” Why do you surround yourself with people online who are sick who do nothing else but cry ‘Woe is me?’ These people are not your real friends and are not going to help you get well. How are you ever going to get well if you associate with these people?
Need I even write a rebuttal to these comments? If you are coming here hoping to gain insight to those chronically ill and you honestly don’t know why these comments are hurtful and ignorant and downright ridiculous, then please feel free to comment here and I will address them.
If I sound a little angry, I guess it is because I am. I have been chronically ill for nine years, I have been blogging about this for three. How long has Christine Miserandino of But You Don’t Look Sick? been doing this? Or Chronic Babe? Or even Lisa Copen, the founder of Invisible Illness Week?
I am not going to stop trying to educate people, but I have stopped trying to explain myself. I can let go of many of the people in my life who just don’t get it, but it is impossible to let go of everyone, there are those whom we just must deal with, either by agreeing to disagree or simply by not speaking about it any longer. It is just too damned exhausting.
And so I will turn to you; my readers, my tweets, my friends on Google+ or where ever I am lucky enough to find you. I will cry to you and gain insight from you. I will call out to you whenever I feel scared because I have a new diagnosis or symptom. I will ask for your help when life is just too hard for me to go it alone.
It is you who will help me keep going.
It is you who are my Visible Hope.