Those of us who enjoy life with one or more chronic illnesses likely fall into one of three camps. Positivity porn slingers, Tell-it-like-it-is’ers, and Neutral floaters.
Positivity porn slingers: Perhaps you’ve just been diagnosed and now that you’ve finally got your diagnosis you feel that there’s hope, that things will get better. Or perhaps you’ve had your diagnosis for decades and you’ve FINALLY figured out how to live with it. You see other chronic illness patients who seem to have a dark cloud hovering over them and boy, do they ever complain! You vow that you won’t become like them. After all, a big portion of owning your disease is having power over your mind. You avoid these people like they’re lepers. Some of them might actually be lepers.
Tell-it-like-it-is’ers: Ah, the complainers. My compadres. It’s likely you’ve been around the block a few too many times, have possibly been misdiagnosed, dismissed, passed around, or otherwise treated like medical waste. You seek to expose the deficiencies in your respective healthcare systems so that, just maybe, the right person will read or listen and begin to affect positive changes. You’d like to sling positivity porn too (even though, at this point, it makes you gag). You want a reason to warrant posting asinine motivational quotes.
Neutral floater: You’re cool. You’re neither positive nor negative. You take things as they come and don’t assign much meaning to the negative shit that goes down. Your karma isn’t being attacked, the universe doesn’t hate you and this didn’t happen because of the mirror you broke while walking under a ladder when you tripped over a black cat. You agree with Forrest Gump; shit happens. It is what it is. You acknowledge that being sick constantly is stressful but you don’t allow it to control you. Like a floating turd can sometimes be difficult to flush, so too is bringing you down. You’re a buoy in the storm. Float on, floater.
Now that I’ve identified these three types, there’s no rule saying you can’t move from camp to camp as it suits you. No one can be 100% positive that everything will turn out okay if you have faith, just like no one can complain 24/7 and believe it’s the end of the world. Just as you’ve had to adapt to the physical limitations your illness has imposed on you, your mind must do the same and may not be as quick to follow, particularly if you have a mental illness on top of everything else, and especially if mental illness happens to be your primary chronic illness.
I cycle between all three of these, although I’ll never post motivational memes because it doesn’t mesh with my base code of snarkasm (snarkiness and sarcasm – I made a new word, just call me Shakespeare). Illness can bring out the best in us but it can also bring out the worst. If you’re above going into meltdown mode occasionally, please share your secret with me! I follow all types of chronic illness bloggers and even though they may not be dealing with their challenges in the same manner I would, I respect the hell out of them for having the guts to share their struggles.
Passing judgment simply because you don’t agree with the way a person copes or attempts to adapt is not cool. I don’t imagine anyone truly enjoys writing about being sick. I do it because I need to. Think of it as opening a pressure valve in my head so my brain doesn’t explode. No two people are alike and neither are two people sharing the same diagnosis. We all have our own unique experiences and perspectives and deserve to have the freedom to express ourselves without being antagonized. Capisce?