I have also had to let go of people who negatively impacted my health and don’t support me on my journey. While it was sad to see them slip out of my life, it was for the best. You don’t need anyone in your circle who treats you without compassion or who serves only to worsen your health.
To those of you who have said or who think chronic illness could be worse, please remember that people with chronic illness will rarely get better.
Remember that most chronic illnesses are incurable and terminal illnesses are incurable. Cancer can go into remission and those with chronic illnesses can go into remission (this is not the same as a cure). Some die from chronic illness. Some die from Cancer (or Chemo). While the diseases are not the same, they should be treated the same in the sense that people should have just as much sympathy, compassion, understanding, and support for those with chronic illness as they do for those who have a terminal illness or Cancer.
You have no idea what someone is going through, so before you judge put yourself in their position. No two people are alike and no two people handle situations in the same way. Nor are two illnesses alike. It is not fair to constantly compare chronic illness to terminal illness or Cancer. They are two vastly different sicknesses. They affect people in vastly different ways.
Those with chronic illness need your support. They need your help. They need you to offer to cook for them or their family. They need you to offer to clean for them or take them to appointments. They need your help but will rarely ask for it because they feel like you won’t understand. They feel weak because of the way chronic illness is treated and how it is thought of as less serious than terminal illnesses or Cancer.
So instead of saying “It could be worse” or “At least it’s not Cancer,” think about how these words can affect someone living with a serious chronic illness. Remember that these illnesses never go away and these people will likely suffer for their entire life.
Consider what your life would be like if you were diagnosed with an illness that never went away. Think about how you would feel if you were told that it could be worse. Choose your words more carefully as people suffering with chronic illness are vulnerable and your words can seriously hurt them. I can’t tell you how many nights I have spent crying because of something insensitive someone said to me regarding my illness.
Remember that chronic illness is different than terminal illness or Cancer but it is not any less severe or devastating. Both change and claim lives. Until you’ve walked it, don’t judge it.
Don’t ever stop advocating for yourself. Don’t ever listen to those that tell you it could be worse. Let yourselves grieve. It’s okay to be sad for a while about all you have lost.
But don’t live there.
You’ll find a new purpose and new ways to find joy out of life. Sometimes the good days will be few and far between, but I promise they will come. Cling to hope and those that support you.
And remember, your
is always there for you, waiting with open arms.
Kristin George for #YouSeeUs.
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