Saturday, December 5, 2015

Social and psychological impacts of chronic illness

I've been noticing a sense that people with different chronic illnesses have a shared experience.  Beyond the physical symptoms, certain social and psychological things commonly come along with chronic illness.
  • Friends, physicians, etc. tell you that there is nothing really wrong with you, or that your physical problems are entirely psychological.
  • People pelt you with a hailstorm of advice.
  • You become isolated because you can't go out and do things.
  • Even when you do see people, you can't be real with them.  You try to pass for normal, you don't talk about your illness.  You do this to protect yourself from the hailstorm of advice.  You do this because you are tired of being an invalid.  You do this because you want to be a normal person.
  • You find that you need help more than you can offer help, which leaves you feeling useless.  You which that the world valued what you have to offer.  You wonder if you have anything to offer.  
  • The way that you live as a result of your illness, the way you curtail your activities, diet, etc., is seen by others as something that is an expression of your choices and preferences, while you see it is something that interferes with the expression of your choices and preferences. 

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