Does My Illness Count?

yes

What? No, I don’t need to even know what it is. It counts.

But it’s not a physical illness? Okay. But it still counts.

But you can still work and go to school? Yeah, that’s awesome. But it counts.

But it really isn’t like that bad? I really hope that’s true. But it STILL COUNTS.

It’s really common?

It’s really rare?

It’s still undiagnosed?

You’re in remission?

It counts.

**************

When I first started this blog, I had it in my head that it was a really unique idea and that it would be so revolutionary to talk about these things that no one is talking about. I was thrilled to find a very active and warm invisible illness blogging community, but as I read blogs about people who take 25 pills a day or who have to live in isolation because of their illness, I began to think things like…

Endometriosis isn’t really all that bad…

I can at least still keep a job, and attend college….

Plus it’s pretty common….

Some people hardly even notice any symptoms…I mean, I DEFINITELY notice my symptoms, but it’s not like it’s every day…there was even that three year stint where I was totally normal…symptom-free….

Maybe I shouldn’t make a fuss.

Maybe my doctor’s right – I don’t need disability accommodation at my university…

Maybe I shouldn’t even write this blog.

Endo’s no big deal. It’s just kinda…well nevermind.

I’m fine.

nathan fillion nevermind gif

And I probably would have stopped there, too, if it hadn’t been for 4 or 5 private emails I got saying “I love your blog, and I love your posts. You said on your about page that you were looking for people to do interviews with. I just have _______, but if that counts you can interview me.”

And every filled in blank filled me with compassion. Depression?! OF COURSE that counts, that must be horrible! Scoliosis? Hello, your spine’s a slinky, that totally counts! And I realized – I have fainted from pain. It counts.

But even now, typing that was somewhat difficult. I thought – well sure, that happened a couple of times. But right now I feel fine. I can’t complain.

But then I remember that most people probably do not feel like a husk of a human at the end of each day. Most people’s abs don’t feel like they just did 10,000 sit ups unless they, you know, just did 10 sit ups. I’ve done zero sit ups, but my torso is feeling the burn anyway. My “feeling fine” is not a healthy person’s “feeling fine.”

You have to be honest, and not that humble honesty that makes you want to shut up and be like everyone else. You have to be honest and say “I’m not like every one else! Things are a bit harder for me!” And yes, there will still be some people who have it even harder than you. That’s okay – it doesn’t put you out of the running. This isn’t a contest. It’s not about who has it the worst – every illness is awful in it’s own way. I do not want to win the most awful illness contest. Chronic pain is horrible in a way that mental illness isn’t. But depression or anxiety are deeply painful in a way that physical pain isn’t.

Every single condition counts, from psoriasis to cancer. If you’re wondering if your condition really counts as invisible illness – the answer is just plain yes. It’s like when people say “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.” But with this question, it’s

If you have to ask, the answer’s yes.

************

So, now that you know you’re a spoonie too, check out our T-shirt design contest and tell the world “I count!” You can even win prizes for counting yourself in! “Coming out” has never been so fun.

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7 thoughts on “Does My Illness Count?

  1. Great post. I think we all finding ourselves thinking about people in a far worse position than ourselves. but that doesn’t mean our suffering is any less. Pain and mental or physical illness is subjective, we all cope differently.

  2. I love, love, love this!! I’m meeting with the disability office at my university tomorrow, and I just had a fabulous conversation with a good friend where she essentially convinced me of exactly what you wrote above! I struggle with legitimating my invisible illness, and I can completely relate to everything you wrote here! I’m going to push for disability accommodations, and now I’m thinking big. 🙂 There’s nothing wrong with getting *too* much help, right?! 😀 Goodness gracious this community is so incredible. You’re awesome. Thanks for continually inspiring me to advocate for myself.

    1. This makes me so happy. After all, this is what my blog is all about! Let me know how it goes! I always wish I had gone, but as I graduate in two months there’s little point now. I’m excited to live vicariously through you though! I hope all goes well and you find lots of support and understanding. Keep me posted!

  3. You truly are an inspiration and some times that’s what I need most–to know someone else is feeling/thinking this way. When we struggle together it makes it a little easier to bear such a heavy load.

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