I think when people hear someone has a chronic illness, there’s a stigma and we are often automatically stereotyped. I want to share some common myths relating to the chronic illness community that people have to face and fight on a daily basis.
1. We don’t want to work.
The truth is, we do want to work. We want to be able to function like a “normal” person, but we are unable to due to pain and/or other symptoms. Chronic pain takes a toll on our bodies and makes it difficult to do everyday tasks. We have to do what is best for our bodies, even if that means not doing something we really want to do, like working. We don’t like asking for help, but if we can’t work, we have to ask for assistance.
2. We never know or understand what is going on in our bodies.
The truth is, we often do know and understand what’s going on with our bodies, probably better than many of our doctors. Despite this, some of our doctors won’t listen to us, which prolongs our pain and symptoms. This is extremely difficult to deal with.
3. All of our days are bad days, so if we have a good or better day, we must be faking.
The truth is, we do have days that are better than others. We have days where our symptoms decrease from the previous day. This doesn’t mean we are faking. Maybe we were able to catch up on rest that our body needed and don’t feel as tired or as much pain. This doesn’t mean our fatigue or pain disappeared.
4. There’s a cure for the chronic illness(es) we have.
The truth is, many chronic illnesses don’t have cures. They have treatments that can decrease symptoms or slow down the progression of the disease.
5. We did this to ourselves.
The truth is, we didn’t do this to ourselves. We didn’t ask for this. We want to be able to function “normally” every day, but we just can’t. That’s something that’s hard enough to accept without people making us feel like it’s somehow our fault that we have a chronic illness.
6. We are lazy/don’t want to do anything.
The truth is, we want to be able to go out with our family and friends. We have a desire to go horseback riding, hiking, etc., but sometimes we just can’t. At the end of the day, we have to listen to our bodies.
7. We don’t look like we are in pain.
The truth is, we have been in pain for so long, we’ve become good at hiding it. This doesn’t mean we aren’t struggling. What’s the “right” way to look like you’re in pain anyway?