Being Mad at Earthquakes
How being mad at my chronic illness won't make it better
Being mad at my chronic illness is like being mad at an earthquake.
I can totally be mad at an earthquake. They are very dangerous at times, making buildings fall and destroying lives (and, sometimes, causing other natural disasters, like dominoes), annoying others, making me shaky and fall everywhere (I live on a fault line, it happens a lot). But being angry at that earthquake does not change the fact that it is happening. It is outside of my control, I can't stop it. So, being angry at it, while ok, does nothing to change it, because I just can't.
It's the same when you're chronically ill. I can be angry that I am sick, and I do get angry about it at times. That is perfectly ok. I have that right to be angry. Just like an earthquake, this is something that affects my life completely in some ways, and just is annoying in others (it also makes me shaky and fall everywhere). It is also, outside of my control (contrary to the belief of some ableist, positive thinking does not make it go away). Depression is very good at trying to tell me that being sick is my fault somehow, but depression is good at lying and I know I had no control over being sick. So, being angry (and sad), while ok, does nothing to change it, because I just can't.
Something I can be angry about is ableism and that is something we, as a society, can actually work towards changing. The metaphorical earthquake has happened, yes, but how society reacts to it is what we can work towards doing better. Every day, disabled/chronically ill people are discriminated against because the world is inaccessible to us, we are told constantly how we should "cure ourselves" to fit into the world not made for us. People want us to "cure" the "earthquake"! I've been told by a variety of people to lose weight, cut out gluten, take vitamins, go vegan, go keto, do yoga, and JUST SUCK IT UP. But guess what? I've tried most all of those things and the "earthquake" isn't stopping anytime soon! I've lost weight, but that doesn't make the chronic pain go away. I can't eat gluten anymore, but that doesn't cure my gastroparesis. I've done yoga before, and I'm still sick. Ableism would rather me do the impossible and stop "earthquakes" than add an elevator or ramp to a new building.
I do get angry that I'm sick and in pain. A lot. But I've come to terms with the fact that, while I can be angry, it won't change anything. I will still be sick when the anger and sadness fades. What I can do is share my story, get people to realize that the world is full of ableism and, while it is a world I desperately want to be a part of, I can't because ableism stops me at every turn (I'm like the little, disabled mermaid). And I can show people how we can change this world to include people like me. Because changing minds and hearts is much easier than stopping earthquakes.
If you would like to get started right now on learning more about ableism and how it affects the disabled/chronically ill community, please go follow my twitter: @chronically_meg
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Be kind to disabled people!