Being Sick Isn't Socially Acceptable

by Samantha Smith

So, you’re 25. You’re at the prime of your life. You have a job, a boyfriend, and lots of friends. Since you have a job, you can pay your bills and still have enough left over to have one night out a week. You enjoy a drink or two. You finished college and that degree is going to get you places. You're being responsible, but you still have time to have fun.

Reality? You're 25. You should be at the prime of your life. You may be able to hold down a job, if you have a flexible enough boss But you hardly work enough hours to count. You don't make enough to pay normal bills, let alone medical bills and medications/doctor visits. There's never enough money left over. You are exhausted just from showering that morning that you're in bed by midafternoon. There's no energy left for making or even eating dinner, let alone a night out. On the rare occasion someone remembers you exist AND you have some extra energy, you can't even imagine having a drink. Alcohol and your required medications don't mix. You finished college and are living at home, too sick to be able to live on your own. You're responsible for taking meds every day and on time. You made it from the bed to the couch. OH YEAH. THIS IS LIVING.

I hope you're already sensing my sarcasm here. It's a sad and ugly truth. Not every day is that bad, but I’ve had enough of them to know how bad a bad day can truly be. Even though people in my age group are (hopefully) growing up and doing the adult thing, they still are young and want to go out and enjoy life. And they should!

There's a few obstacles we face being sick.

One, it's hard to find and/or keep friends. You find your circle of friends dwindle as you and everyone around you realizes being sick will be with you for life. Doesn't mean people don't care about you, but life separates you. You'll meet other sick people likely through social media. If you're lucky like me, you'll meet a few really awesome friends that way. I’d be lost without the friends I have made.

Two, when you're sick you tend to flake. It's not intentional, and you don't mean anything by it, but illnesses can be unpredictable. You may have every intention of hanging out, but after a few times of bailing, the invitations stop coming. When you do go out, some people may question why you aren't participating in the same way as everyone else. Why can't you eat? What do you mean you can't drink? Just one drink. It won't kill you. Here eat this, it’ll be fine. Insert annoyed face here.


It's not always like this, but it's a typical scenario. It does happen. When illness is part of your life, it's hard to make room for anything else. The positive thing about this situation is learning who your true friends (and family for that matter) are. Thankfully, even though I’ve had hard times explaining my situations to others, what I’ve been through hasn’t been as extreme as others.

In //">my last post, I had talked about how hard it is to be positive all the time. When situations such as this occur, it hurts. It makes it hard to find the good and positive in your life. If you find yourself trying to help someone understand what you may be struggling with, remember to take a deep breath, and realize some people just won’t ever understand. That’s the thing about being sick, especially with a rare disease (or two); people don’t seem to get it until they “get it.” You’ll find someone who is understanding of your situation, and you’ll find someone who may give you a hard time about it.

Either way, YOU know your struggle. YOU know what you can and cannot do. This is YOUR life and for the most part, and you don’t need to explain it to anyone.

Just remember not to stop living your life. You just have to find a way to live it differently.

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