illness

A Message to the Healthy from the Chronically Ill

 Trying to explain to someone who’s perfectly healthy why I have to think through every commitment.

Why everything has to be weighed against the emotional, psychological, and physical cost.

Why things that don’t stress normal people stress me.

Has been very challenging.

The person I was dealing with today was not being very kind about it.

I know this person means well, but the impatience and lack of understanding had me in tears earlier.

If you don’t understand, give grace.

When in doubt, give grace.

A little kindness couldn’t hurt.

If you’re healthy, don’t just assume everyone’s life is as easy and healthy as yours is.

For me, every choice must be calculated and considered for the cost, for how much it takes.

From me.

From my family.

That means that if I actually make effort to spend time with you.

To help you with something.

To attend your gathering.

To reach out to you.

Then you’re very special.

And I esteemed you important and worth any potential stress associated with that situation.

I miss the days when my every move wasn’t considered.

If you can just go do what you want when you want, you’re very, very blessed.

And you probably take it for granted because you don’t even know how very blessed you are.

I didn’t understand this until my health problems got severe.

But you are blessed.

So thank God that you are healthy!

And, please, whisper a prayer for those of us who aren’t.

Blessings

Sarah Forbes

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2 thoughts on “A Message to the Healthy from the Chronically Ill”

  1. I’m sorry to hear that you have a chronic illness, do you mind saying just what that is ? I have epilepsy. I suffer from multiple seizures on a daily basis. I never know just when they will happen. I have epilepsy, but I don’t let it define me. I usually don’t even mention it, because it isn’t WHO I am, just something I have. Whatever issue you may be dealing with, don’t let it define who you are. You are a person made in the image and likeness of God. That’s something to be proud of. I believe that everyone is suffering from something – even those who appear to be “healthy”. It’s what makes us human. No one is perfectly healthy all the time. Know that you aren’t alone, whatever condition you may be battling. God bless you, and courage! 🙂

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    1. Hi Joy, thanks for your comment! I have over 20 medical diagnosis including multiple autoimmune diseases like hashimotos. We’re currently testing for Lyme Disease. I have never and will never let my health define me. My faith is my indentity. But my health is a huge, gigantic part of my life. It has to be something constantly on my mind –or I’ll die. I’m not exaggerating. For instance, trying not to bleed to death is a daily reality for me. My health is incredibly serious. Even my doctors say it’s a wonder that I’m still alive. If you read yesterday’s post you’ll see that in nearly immobile due to my health, and there are links to posts about my health conditions on that post. There absolutely are people who are healthy (even though as you say no ones 100% healthy): they can go do what they want when they want without a calculated planned. They don’t spend days in pain after walking a tenth of a mile. They don’t have to worry about if they’ll be able to attend an activity where there might not be a comfortable chair. They don’t worry that eating certain foods will cause hemorrhaging (true story). I choose mentioned my condition. It’s an area of outreach and ministry because it’s largely taboo to talk about these things. And it shouldn’t be! Not talking about it makes us feel isolated and alone, and that’s not okay. It makes us feel like we’re the only ones. While everyone may be battling something, people who are generally healthy often misunderstand what’s going on with someone who’s severely ill and handicapped. They say unkind things and downplay the actual seriousness of what’s going on by acting like we’re being dramatic or calling us a drama queens when the truth is, it IS that serious. We get mistreated for not doing things “normally.” It is part of the sinful nature to judge those who seem like less or who are different –which is how many people treat those of us with severe illnesses and disabilities. I’ve even been accused of not being saved because I couldn’t heal myself or because my house isn’t clean. I am confident in who I am in Christ! I know He has me safe in His hands. My hope is in Him alone as I’ve mentioned many times on the blog. I have been very bold to speak out about the unbiblical treatment of people who have serious medical conditions by those who claim the name of Christ. God has used my honesty and my boldness for His glory! Speaking out about what people do that’s wrong and how they misunderstand chronic illness is not the same thing letting it define me or not understanding my place in Christ (as others have accused me; I’m not saying that’s what you’re saying). This post was just to raise awareness about those of us with severe health issues. I posted this on Facebook, and it resonated with many many people there who suffer from similar disorders as I do. So I made it into a post here on the blog. There is a difference, in my opinion, between most people’s minimal health concerns and people who actually have to be daily concerned with staying alive. I will continue to bring awareness to those of us with serious life-threatening conditions because we need a voice and because we need understanding and grace from those around us. It is only by talking about our health that it will be understood by those around us. Being silent doesn’t help anyone. I truly think that a little extra kindness and grace can go a long way regardless of your health condition. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement!

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