Feeling the Pressure from Able-Bodied People to Get Better

Last updated: February 2022

One thing that has remained a constant throughout decline of my health these last two years is this: the looming pressure to get better. With chronic illnesses, hearing the term “get better soon” makes my eyes roll. It’s not that I don’t want to get better, or that I don’t believe I ever will—it’s that the more time goes on, the more the people around me expect me to feel better by now.

There is no quick test or quick fix when getting a diagnosis

Every persons body and immune system works or reacts differently. Some people get lucky and only have to go through minimal appointments before receiving treatments. Others, like myself, could take years to find a diagnosis. There is also occasions where people are misdiagnosed and have to go through the works all over again. It’s unrealistic and unfair to have some sort of timeline, or to have an end-date in mind for us to “get better” or improve.

If my illness inconveniences you, imagine how I must feel

With that being said, yes of course chronic illnesses can affect those around us tremendously emotionally, but it should not be something that makes you feel some sort of annoyance. Nobody chooses to become ill, just like nobody chooses how long it takes for their circumstances to improve. Everything is a waiting game for us. For me personally, my whole life and endeavors have had to be put on pause. So if you think our illness is inconveniencing you—it’s really not.

You are abled which means you have the ability to do as you please and make choices without any repercussions. I am disabled, which for every individual could mean many different things, but for me means that although I may be able to do something like walk up a flight of stairs or go for a walk, does not mean that I should. I am constantly stopped in my tracks because of my illness. Everything I do physically has a negative impact.

So my illness really is not an inconvenience. It’s not directly affecting your day to day life in a negative way. You’re just acting petty.

Trust that I’m trying my best

Your negative feelings towards my illness and internalized ableist thoughts aren’t going to make me “get better” any faster. If it was possible, it would be done by now. Nobody chooses to struggle like this and nobody wants to constantly live in survival mode. I am a driven person stuck in a sick persons body.

Just because I am unable to work at the rate that you are, does not mean that I have stopped trying. I still work and push myself in ways that abled individuals will never understand. Instead of quickly jumping to the worst-case scenario, trust that I am doing everything that I can with what I have. Trust that I am working hard to keep my life together and move forward in life, but understand that will mean something different to me and look differently than it does for you.

There may be a day where my health improves, or maybe I even go into remission. But it is not up to anyone to dictate what I am capable of or how hard I should be pushing myself. A disabled person shouldn’t have to convince you that they are doing their best. You should just trust that they are.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AxialSpondyloarthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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