“You are not obligated to do everything a healthy person does. You are not obligated to be an inspiration. You are not obligated to hide your illness in order to make other people feel comfortable. You are allowed to know your limits. You are allowed to have bad days. You are allowed to stay in bed if you can’t get up to do anything else but go to the bathroom. It is not your fault if other people leave you because of your illness. It is not your fault that you are sick. You do not have to apologise for something that is out of your control.”
Whoever wrote that quote knows what they are talking about.
Until I read that, I felt bad if I didn’t push myself to do things that my healthy friends could. In secondary my teachers would ask if I was in pain, and I would say no just so I could carry on with whatever sport we were doing because that’s what healthy people did.
I hide my pain from people everyday, every minute. I smile through the pain, so people don’t ask why I look like I am about to cry because crying is what I really feel like doing. When I go as white as a sheet or green and someone asks me what’s wrong, I say I have a virus. I don’t tell them that’s what pain does to a person. I hide my world from healthy people, it stops me having to see the pitiful looks they shoot my way if I say I am sore because my joints really don’t like to cooperate with my brain.
I know my limits, my body tells me then loud and clear every single day. And we ARE allowed to know our limits! We are allowed to stop rushing around and go at our own pace, even if that means waking up extra early so we are ready by the time everyone else is ready. Yes we are allowed limits but it’s knowing what they are, and how to use them to manage your life so you don’t push yourself too hard which is the tricky bit with illness.
“You are allowed to have bad days”. Everyone hates bad days. They never come at a convenient time, they completely mess up your plans, they prevent you from doing the things you needed to do, you get behind with your school work. Bad days are horrible, and many people, me included feel so guilty that we aren’t doing enough on our bad days that we try and do as much as we physically can but make ourselves worse as a consequence. We are allowed to be guilt free when we spend that whole day in bed focusing on ourselves, recovering enough to do something small the next day. Those days should not be overshadowed by that feeling that you shouldn’t be lying around, you should be active and getting on with your life. We all need those days, to recalibrate our bodies and minds so the next day, we can stand right back up and fight again.
I actually don’t have much experience with people leaving because of my illness, mainly because most people don’t know I an sick. That is the extent to which I hide my pain.
Unlike what a few of my family members think, I did not chose to become sick. I don’t know any sane person who would choose to wake up in the morning with their knee stuck in a weird bent position that takes half an hour to unbend, or have their hands resemble claws in the mornings due to the morning stiffness and then it takes 3 or more hours just to feel like you can move around properly. Or have to get up in the middle of the night and drag yourself to the bathroom so you can sit in the hot water to relieve the pain. Or to be physically sick because of the pain. No it is NOT my fault I am ill, and it is not me who needs to apologise.