Like the majority of people out there, no one tends to appreciate what they have till it’s gone. A common mistake yet still a mistake at that.
When your worst fear breaches the surface of reality, our point of views are drastically changed of how we see the world and the people inhabiting it. Yes, I’m talking health.
Just like many, until I had everything stripped away from me with one mighty snap of life’s jaw, I took my normally functioning body for granted. Granted I was 9, but none the less. Now, being ill obviously has a lot of down falls to it but it does have it’s ups too. Occasionally, maybe. Sometimes.
Taking a step back from life and watching it from the side lines really improves your ability to see what’s going on, how people react to your situation and how they typically treat the average ill person. So here are a view things you learn being chronically ill.
1. People are genuially quite rude to the disabled and ill percentage of the population.
I have noticed, as has my family, being in a wheelchair pretty much makes you invisible to the normies. Now you’re properly thinking that doesn’t make any sense what so ever, wheelchairs are unmissable right? Wrong.
Using my wheelchair for day outs, or distances I can’t walk means I can do a whole lot of observing from down below. Personally, it’s hard enough being in a wheelchair at 17 being pushed by my 13 year old brother without adding to the chaos it brings. I am constantly cut up, pushed infront of, elbowed, walked over, and hit round the head with some stupid ladies handbags. I’m not sure why and how exactly but I’m very much convinced I’m invisible as soon as my bum touches the seat. Magic.
2. People are quick to judge.
I’m sure I’m not the first person to complain of such things, but it’s 100% true. I have a blue badge to help aid me and get me though the tough days. Even on a good day, I may need it as I can’t walk to distance intended for healthy people to get wherever I’m going. As I’ve mentioned before, I also use a wheelchair to get around the place. Anybody would think I’ve just slaughtered a new-born baby by the looks I get given. I’ve heard on multiple occasions that I don’t need my wheelchair, I shouldn’t be in a disabled parking spot or I’m simply just too young to be ill. The looks I’m given can be absolutely heart-breaking, making the whole ill and 17 concept even harder to cope with.
3. Friends don’t always stay.
Over the years, specially at the start of the whole diagnosis process, I’ve lost my fair share of friends. I don’t know what it is exactly, but maybe when you become ill you get a free ‘please run away’ sticker slapped on your forehead. As many stressful periods of a person’s life often does, a chronic illness or if you’re lucky, multiple (insert sarcasm here), filters out the true from the fake. It hurts, but you find out who’s in it till the end and who isn’t. You can call it a curse and a blessing.
4. People are selfish.
As I’ve mentioned previously, for a large portion of my time spent ill, I spent the majority of it watching from the side lines as everyone else continued embracing life and all it’s glory. I can’t say I was any better when I wasn’t in this position but it’s something that is now incredibly obvious. Unless it personally affects their life or them, people don’t tend to care all that much. I can’t say this is the case for everyone but from personal experience, it’s a large majority. I had no visitors or cards, not even a single text from outside my close family (parents and brother). I was 13, bed bound and persuaded I had met life’s end. Even now 4 years on, I can’t say it’s got much better people wise, I’m still waiting on that text.
I suppose being ill has enhanced my ability to care for others, and to thoroughly understand the loneliness and overwhelming feeling someone gets when facing a stressful ordeal. I can honestly say, hand on heart, I have been there for as many people as possible in the last 4 years as humanly possible and still currently am.
5. People are highly uninformed on the majority of chronic illnesses.
Everyone has heard of cancer and rightly so. However, what about the 50 million other illnesses, disabilities and chronic conditions a percentage of the world’s population face every single day? I have learnt that most people haven’t got a clue what my illnesses are, what the do or even that they are a thing. There is little to no funding for research and only a few specialists covering my conditions in the UK. It is unbelievable how uninformed and oblivious the general population is. Yet again, I can’t say much as I hadn’t got a clue till it smacked me in the face. I think this is why it is so important to spread awareness not just among the chronic illness community but outside of it too. Friends, family, the weird guy wandering the streets. Anyone.
It’s all part of my experience learning to dance in the rain.