Sometimes I wish I had an illness. Because then I could say to people "sorry I can't do that I have x". I want to be able to have a reason other than "work" to be able to cancel social engagements or reduce my responsibilities. People have no respect if you say "sorry I can't come tonight I really need to take the night to myself to chill" but if I say "sorry I can't make tonight I have too much work on" then that's seen as a legitimate reason which won't be argued with. No one will hold me in a bad light if I have too much work on. But if I take time to chill that's me being selfish and antisocial.
The sad truth to my theory that being able to label myself with an illness would help is that it probably wouldn't. Lots of my patients get absolutely no sympathy from colleagues and friends for their illnesses. Especially the "invisible" ones. By that I mean illnesses which you can't clearly observe in someone. A limp or broken limb is easy to empathise with but chronic fatigue or lupus, no one can see those. It's hard for people to not just feel like you're making it up for sympathy or time off work. I am consistently shocked by patients stories when they tell me a colleague at work made fun of them or gossiped bout some bodily function they can't control. Are we still at school?
But I have a theory about why that is. I've done it myself. I've got angry with my husband for being able to relax on the sofa with a cold. I got angry because I wanted to be the one on the sofa. I wished I was sick, so I could be on the sofa! And when your friends, family or colleagues think you are just making it up its because really, they wish they could have a day off too! Because we are ALL over worked.
So am I really doing a disservice to society by wanting to slap a name on how I feel? I'm sure I could say I have anxiety and mild fatigue. But then people think that there is something wrong with ME. When really there is something wrong with SOCIETY.
We work too much. We don't relax enough. We don't get enough sleep. There isn't enough hours in the day to eat healthy all the time. It takes more time and money to eat healthy than it does to shove a macdonalds in your mouth. But it's so worth while.
Do you feel like people don't sympathise or respect your illness? Do you sometimes wish you had one to allow yourself some rest? How do you think we should change society so that rest is socially acceptable?
Photo by @rachyrairai