Welcome to the fourth day of the WEGO Health ‘Advocating For Another’ Blog Carnival. Today’s prompt is as follows:
Today’s post theme is all about the reveal. What’s something people would be surprised to know about your life as a health activist, your community, or condition. Uncover it and elaborate upon it in a stream-of-consciousness style.
In my day-to-day life I am not aware of other people’s perceptions or their personal thoughts regarding my life, health community or even my condition – it is often the elephant in the room – the topic that nobody wants to discuss as they may feel awkward or simply do not want to pry. People often stare at my crutch, but do not ask me any questions on the reasons why I might need ir, looking at me suspiciously as if I am only using it to exaggerate my condition for disability benefits.
However, reading articles in magazines and from some replies from others after they have asked me how I am with the typical “That sounds awful, it must be so terrible living like that”; it seems people assume that living with any chronic illness or disability must make life completely miserable and living with one mean we all must be absolutely depressed all of the time; unable to have fun and enjoy life. However, as we health activists and patients know that this isn’t the case at all; humans are resilient and can withstand a lot more than we think we can cope with!
And although many of us, have to cope with a chronic condition; with unpleasant symptoms everyday we are still able to enjoy life. I think living with a chronic condition actually makes people appreciate life more than those who are healthy, taking pleasure in simple things – for example I love having my nails painted, I find it relaxing and enjoyable, picking bright colours to cheer myself when symptoms have been bad. Also enjoy watching comedies; and always laugh with the jokes. Although I often feel unwell with the symptoms associated with my condition, I still make an effort and enjoy volunteering with a local charity and have even recently helped during an Open Day to advertise the Centre, pampering the ladies with hand massages and painting their nails – felt great putting smiles on other people’s faces!
It makes me sad when I read stories in the newspapers regarding ‘benefit cheats’; and how people assume that when people have been spotted out having a great time then they surely must be cheating the system. Just because someone is ill or suffers with a disability does that mean they should no longer enjoy life? Should they simply shut themselves away and wither away? We should be able to go out and have a great time during the times of respite from our symptoms without judgement and criticism.