The Chronic Illness Edition of “My Little Ableist Friend”

-by Staci Forrest

A while ago my friend Cara (@flutterflyinvasion) posed on her Blogspot blog an entry called “My Little Ableist Friend.” After reading this entry, I decided that It is time to tell you all about my Little Chronic Illness Ableist Friend.

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My Little Chronic Illness Ableist Friend is with me every minute of everyday. She constantly whispers into my ear about how I am “faking” my chronic illness. How my chronic illness is “insignificant.” How I am being a “baby” and “just looking for charity” when I admit to others that I have a chronic illness. How I need to be “more discrete” when taking my medication in public-or, rather, not take my medication in public at all. Most of the time, I can shut her up. That is, until the pain comes.

When the pain comes, my Little Chronic Illness Ableist Friend gets louder. Her tones and thoughts become more fierce and judgmental. She says, “SUCK IT UP!” and “IT’S NOT THAT BAD! THINK OF ALL THE PEOPLE DYING FROM PAIN RIGHT NOW!” Now and then, she reminds me to take my Tylenol and Advil. But, when the pain gets tough again, she’s right back in her judgmental state. She reminds me throughout all of this, “Don’t tell anyone you’re in pain! You don’t want to bother anyone and you don’t want them to think that you’re always sick,” and “Make sure to say that you are sorry every 10 seconds!”

All the while my pain is climbing from a 3 to a 5 to a 7 to an 8.

When the pain finally gets to 10, my Little Chronic Illness Ableist Friend screams into my ear “OKAY! HOSPITAL TIME! BUT DON’T TELL ANYONE THAT YOU’RE GOING.” My Little Chronic Illness Ableist Friend is worried that I will get in the way of my friends, that I will hurt my friends, and that my friends will think that I am not independent because I asked them for help. My Little Chronic Illness Ableist Friend hates the fact that I can’t drive. She wishes I could drive so that I didn’t have to rely on anyone to get me to the hospital. She loathes the fact that I can’t drive.

I don’t loathe the fact that I can’t drive. I don’t loathe the fact that I have a chronic illness.

I feel better now that I have reclaimed my Little Chronic Illness Ableist Friend. Maybe now, the next time, I can decide how I need to manage my chronic illness and not let My Little Chronic Illness Ableist Friend control me.

Originally posted on Chronic Illness Girl. 

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