You Must Be Feeling Better

For those who have been diagnosed with chronic illness, there are powerful social ramifications for participating in events. Others often mistakenly assume that you must, after all, be feeling much better if should you decide to take part in an activity.

Chronic conditions, by definition, are not short-term challenges. Having a chronic illness results in multiple losses. Such losses range from those that are relatively minor, to those that are considerably more extreme.

Deciding to stop attending all activities is, of course, not reasonable. Our ability to cope effectively with the ongoing challenges of chronic illness is not enhanced by declining participation in all outside activities.

Even brief outings provide a much-needed diversion ftom the impact of ongoing symptoms. Our ability to continue to cope with persistent symptoms is enhanced by periods of being distracted from the pervasive impact of those symptoms.

Regardless, I’m still surprised by how many times others have remarked that I “must be feeling better,” when I have decided to show up for any given activity. That is simply not true, even if I look well, even if I should decide not to discuss my symptoms.

I am simply trying to remain as actively involved in my life as I possibly can. I know that this isn’t easy for healthy individuals to understand. I freely admit that I didn’t get it myself, before I developed chronic illness.

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