Positivity is not a cure for chronic illness

Dear Healthy People,

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I resent you and all the things you have but don’t appreciate. You have your health and you don’t even realize how lucky you are. I know I’m supposed to “count my blessings” blah blah blah, but sometimes I just don’t want to.  Sometimes I just want to revel in the suckiness that is the lottery of life. Sometimes I just don’t want to be happy for you. Sometimes the green eyed jealousy monster just wants to hate you.

I promise I don’t spend all my time hating your guts. Most of the time I’m really delighted for you, but I just get tired. I know you don’t do it on purpose, but occasionally it feels like you’re throwing all the things you can do in my face. When you say things like…

-Anyone can exercise if you want it bad enough (would you suggest that to someone with cancer?)
-Anyone can be healthy if they just eat right (I just can’t even)
– I’ve been sick this week and no one can function like this (New flash, I do)
– Why don’t you just get up off the couch more (if you’re speaking to me it’s means I’m off the couch, so shove it)
– I don’t understand why anyone would stay home all the time (don’t you know it’s soooooo fun)
– You can do anything you set your mind to (I set my mind to incinerating you and that didn’t work)

…it’s really hard for me.  What is true in your world is not true in mine. I live in a world where health is not connected to how much exercise you get or how many fruits and vegetables you eat. I live in a world where no matter what I do and no matter how hard I try, my body will be broken. I live in a world where I have to function while being sicker then you have ever felt. No one gave me a choice.  I live in a society based on the needs of those whose bodies work correctly and yes, sometimes I resent it.

When you have a chronic illness you quickly run into what I call “Team Positive.” This is the “so you have a chronic illness, it doesn’t matter because you can be Happy Happy Happy all the time!” mindset. This belief has its place. There is no point in being sad and depressed about being sick all the time, especially when there is nothing you can do about it. The reality is though that chronic illness is not all rainbows and unicorns and positivity is not a cure. Sick people are still people, and we still have feelings that are not always uplifting. I prefer to acknowledge those feelings, admit that they are valid, blog about them, and then try not to dwell on them. But if you are announcing your 4th baby, your 20th marathon, and or an prestigious award at work and I don’t react quite as excited for you as I should be, know that it’s not you.  I am happy for you and all you’ve achieved and I really don’t want to take away from that. I’m just dealing with the part of myself that still resents that I won’t ever have those things. I promise I’m working on it.

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4 thoughts on “Positivity is not a cure for chronic illness

  1. It's so funny you wrote this! I just told my husband this past weekend that I hated everyone in my life because they just don't get it! I don't really hate them, I think, I don't know…lol. I feel like you're reading my mind!! Keep up the great work!! Love your blog!

  2. Thanks for your comment! Last night I was second guessing myself, wondering if I shouldn't have posted this because it was too honest. Then I got your comment and realized I was being stupid. Sometimes honestly really is the best policy.

  3. Thanks for your honesty… we are all made up of all these emotions. Sometimes when I get naysayers (especially on twitter) telling me to cheer up etc when I express this kind of stuff I get so bewildered because I think we are allowed to express all the feeling we have when we have chronic illness. like you I say it and move on. best wishes and stay honest.

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