Unexpected Ways Chronic Illness Can Impact Life.
(Akiit.com) The definition of a chronic illness is one that has been continuing for more than six months. It does not mean the illness is going to result in death – that would be a terminal illness – but is instead going to continue to impair the sufferer’s life.
It is impossible to name all of the different chronic conditions it is possible to suffer from. Some of them are more well known: fibromyalgia, Celiac Disease, hyperthyroidism. Others are less well known, illnesses of the mitochondrial DNA or specific organs of the body. All have the same uniting factor: they are not expected to improve, they may get worse, and they are long-lived.
You would think that living with a chronic condition is all about health. There is a tendency for those of us who are well not to think of a chronic condition as just a part of someone’s life. We hear that someone sleeps for up for 18 hours a day – such as happens with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – and we think: “that must be terrible. That must be dominant.” It’s hard to imagine they have a life outside of that, that their lives must revolve around their weakest point.
It doesn’t work like that, though. People with chronic conditions are still people; they just happen to have a little bit more on their plate than those of us that are well. If you have been recently diagnosed with a chronic condition or just want to educate yourself as to what they go through, here are all the other ways these conditions impact you.
The most obvious problem in this department is one in terms of work. Even after decades of disability legislation such as https://www.ada.gov/cguide.htm and even positive discrimination, the sad fact remains: few employers want to take on someone with a chronic condition or disability.
It’s easy to see why from the employer’s point of view. They want their workforce to be available to work; people with such conditions may occasionally not be able to. It seems like too big a risk, so they find other reasons to reject applications.
If people can work, then they find some of their salary is eaten up in higher-than-usual medical expenses. While the cost of their doctor-related care might be covered by the likes of floridamedicareadvantageplans.com, the rest of it is up to them. If they suffer frequent wounds, that’s an expense they have to meet. If they needs supports or to adapt their home, they will sustain the burden of this.
Having a chronic condition is akin to having a child you are financially responsible for. There’s no escaping it – and unlike with a child, it’s not something you ever wanted in the first place.
How many times do you think you can turn down an invitation before people get bored of asking?
The answer is lower than you’d think, as sufferers more than understand. To begin with, friends tend to think that the “I’m not feeling well” reason for canceling plans is actually more of an excuse – it dents their self-confidence. Eventually, people drift away and social isolation can set in unless steps are directly taken to combat it.
It’s difficult to sustain friendships when your health is fragile. Making new friends is particularly tough. While we are all used to the idea of “foul weather friends“, who would go into a friendship that is foul-weathered from the start? When you are still getting to know someone, is it fair to ask them to take on the burden of knowing about your illness?
Then there is the sad fact that some people don’t understand. Worse yet, they don’t want to understand.
Interaction With People
Following on from the situation above, interacting with others – such as strangers, colleagues – can be difficult. Some people are, willfully or not, quite shocking in their ignorance. This is something that people with chronic illnesses have to deal with on a regular basis.
Imagine being so ill with an autoimmune disorder that you are little more than skin and bone. You are under the care of doctors; clinicians with years of experience who acknowledge and verify your illness. Then you stumble across someone at work, after years of pain and heartache, and they are ignorant enough to think that they have the cure. “Oh just eat more onions if your immune system is bad,” they will say. Sure, onions are potent and can be useful – but they can’t handle the level of illness you are suffering from. Not to mention the fact that autoimmune conditions happen when your immune system is arguably working too well.
Sometimes, this ignorance is just that – ignorance. People don’t know they’re being hurtful; they think they are being helpful. Some may even convince themselves that the sufferer has never been told something basic like drinking more water is a good idea. Others are doing it to diminish the suffering of the person who is unwell. When you have this kind of illness, you tend to begin to recognize this kind of person early on – and learn to avoid them.
Hopes and Dreams
We all have hopes and dreams. The things that we want to do; the places we want to experience; the joys we anticipate for ourselves.
If you live with a chronic condition, your hopes and dreams are embarrassingly small. You don’t want to tour around Europe for the summer; you want to go through a day without needing three different types of pain medication.
This sets you aside from the majority of society. There is no great promise of an exciting future, because the present is a little too tough to deal with.
In conclusion, there are multiple ways that having a chronic illness can impact a life. But it is, nevertheless, still a life – with joy, happiness and something to give to the world. It just looks a little bit different from what we have been taught to expect, but that doesn’t make it bad or inferior. It’s just different.
Staff Writer; Harry Love