Chronic Snarkopolist: Chronic Illness is Not our Character
Hello my loves!
Last week I was reading a beautiful article written by ChemoBabe, Legacies, a regular blogger and women who has gotten through breast cancer. In her blog, she discusses character and illness. She made it through her illness but her brother only two years earlier died of his. “I can’t speak for everybody. I can only speak for myself. I will tell you that the women I admire the most are the ones who flourish not because of their good attitude, but because of their unflinching honesty.”
I quote her here because she is a powerful blogger and a spokeswomen for honoring truth over the notion that our health is somehow linked to our character. Many people have bought into the notion that if we behaved better we would somehow be healthier. Or if we were more deserving we wouldn’t be chronically ill. Even healthcare providers get caught up into this mindset. They are so used to seeing patients who harm themselves every day they forget that sometimes health conditions are not self-inflicted.
Admittedly, I struggle with this. I’m going to the cardiologist soon for a chronic condition yet I love a friend who gave herself a heart condition from years of abuse to her body. She needed help for it too but didn’t get the proper treatment. Sometimes even I have to heal from my own judgment. My health condition for my body failing is no more or less critical than for someone who needs it for other reasons. We are all in this together.
Sometimes I have anger inside when people are healthier than I am but who engage in a far unhealthier lifestyle. I WANT TO BE HEALTHY! I only wish my body would be so forgiving. Often I suffer from the backlash of internal beliefs that it is somehow a mark against my own character that I would be healthier if only I wanted to be. Sometimes I think, like Pinocchio, if only I wished harder, I would somehow heal, the way he could turn into a real live boy.
We are so beautifully human too. We all are. When others have problems or bad health, we say, “This isn’t YOUR FAULT, it is how life works.” But when WE have bad health and chronic illness we say to ourselves, “I should do better, I should be able to overcome this, I should be magic and be able to SMILE myself into health with my attitude and my charm and my wit.” We are, after all human. And we are not prone to rational thought no matter how brilliant we are.
I am no different. And I’m grateful to ChemoBabe for reminding me that it is no lack of my character that sometimes we bounce back from illness and sometimes we die, and sometimes we simply remain chronically ill for our entire lives and do our very best with what we’ve got.
What do you think? Do you do this too? Do you allow others to have human frailty but expect yourself to be made of steel? Do you ask more of yourself because you WANT more from yourself? Do you ever run into judgment that puts chronic health conditions as a mark of character? Tell me! I must know!
I’ll be back same time next week! Kiss kiss!
Tags: cardiologist for chronic conditions, chemobabe, chronic illness bloggers, chronic illness is not our character, Chronic Snarkopolist, columns written by Melissa Travis, managing health conditions, wanting to be healthy