Welcome to the world of chronic illness. Please leave your expectations of a normal life at the door.
People have a lot of expectation of each other. We can tell ourselves we don’t. But we do. Our expectations are shaped in many ways, many by our childhood. Some by what we ourselves do. Some by what we want others to do (or ourselves). Shaped by our culture and our idea of what normal is. Some people will say there is no normal, that we are all different. While this is somewhat true, there really is a normal, perhaps we can call it a norm, of health and ability. And history does not tell kindly of those who did not fit that norm. Ostracized, even feared for their differences, disabilities, chronic illnesses. Our expectations are shaped by this. But if you have chronic illness or disabilities like me, you won’t ever be able to meet those expectations and this slaps you upside the face on a regular basis. And that hurts.
We are expected to do all the things an able bodied healthy person can do, but we can’t. We are expected to hold jobs, be a good parent, take care of our house, be involved in social activities, have hobbies we regularly indulge in, but we can’t do all that. Some of us can do some of those things some of the time, but we can’t do it like we are expected to. Many of us look fine, so we are looked down on and thought of as lazy. We aren’t. We just can’t. The bar of able bodied normality is set too high for us. And that hurts.
So if you know me or someone like me who deals with chronic illness, or if like me, you suffer from one yourself, please, give yourself and your loved ones some peace of mind. Leave your expectations of a normal life at the door. And come on inside.