Illness Touches Us All
Here’s the thing. We’re all affected by illness. We have all known someone or know someone who has been touched by illness, be it temporary, chronic or terminal. The loss of good health to a person is something we could all say we know has happened to someone we know, someone we love. Illness is a massive part of our lives. So why don’t we talk about it more? Why don’t we garner an understanding of it, a respect for its devastating capabilities until it destroys our own lives or that of someone close to us? How come there is not a greater conversation? Why do the ill feel ashamed to speak out? And why are they sometimes judged and misunderstood?
We are all responsible
We need to do better. It shouldn’t be something that is only part of our agenda once it affects us. We as a society should support one another as we wish to be supported.
Because, frankly, the scary thing is, it truly can happen to anyone of us at any time. I recently learned that “Over 95% of the world’s population has health problems, with over a third having more than five ailments“¹ how mind blowing is that? Which means that just one in twenty people worldwide back in 2013, when this study was published, had no health problems. ¹
I have learnt myself that it is a frightening place to exist in a society that misjudges you, in a medical world that cannot and often will not help or support you, one where you are simply left to exist, not live.
What my journey has taught me
In a way, my chronic illness journey has been a blessing, a very harsh and difficult lesson in the teaching but an important one. For it taught me of this. That often no one is there to help you. That countless of people are left to suffer and those people demonised for speaking out.
I had always had an understanding and appreciation of the devastating effects of illness from a young age. My father was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and forced to medically retire. I knew what chronic illness looked like. I knew it was cruel. I knew many misunderstood.
What I didn’t know, until I became ill with a disease disbelieved, was how cruel the medical profession could be. How I could be mocked and belittled at every turn. And then, how society would echo that intent.
19 years on, little has changed. I am still striving to exist. Still fighting to even be respected in the offices of medical professionals and to not be laughed or disbelieved by society. Simply because there is no diagnostic test. Simply because I don’t look sick. The irony, if you were to look at my life, really look at my life, you’d see it. You’d see it’s devastating impact, my lack of living, simply existing.
And so I take to social media to campaign for awareness and understanding for myself and my fellow illness fighters. What an incredible sense of community we have there. Yet some doctors tell newly diagnosed patients not to join…how about that for medical gaslighting? The one place patients can feel support and an appreciation for their suffering and they’re told not to join? Speaks volumes.
A sense of hope and belonging
This community gives people hope. It allows us to not feel alone in our fight. Especially when that fight is often left without support. It gives people a voice and that is greatly needed. Whether you are a patient or not why not follow? For a sense of comradery, for awareness, for support and understanding, to make a difference in our world bit by bit. To help people feel less alone.
That’d be pretty amazing right?
Let’s support one another
We know that illness touches all of our lives in one way or another and when that happens we don’t want to go through it alone. We long for support, guidance, love and care. No one wants to feel isolated, lost, scared and hopeless. So let’s do better. Let’s be kind people. Talking about illness isn’t negativity, it’s a necessity. Others need to know they are not alone in their journey, be that in their fight or in their support of a loved one.
So let’s start now. I’m proud to say I fight severe illness on a daily basis and I’m here to tell others that they’re not alone.
Come join my Instagram community over at @myillnessmythoughts
Read more about living with invisible illness in this post ‘Behind the photo, behind the smile’.