Do Not Judge Me Without Knowing My Story

Do Not Judge Me Without Knowing My Story

What makes you think it is okay to judge a person for something when you do not know the person?
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"Never judge a book by it's cover."

There has never been a more accurate quote to describe a person with a chronic illness.

Depending on the illness one has, you often cannot see the actual struggle going on. It is a silent killer more times than none. We do our best to live a normal life on the outside, but on the inside, we are dying for some relief.

I never thought I would see the day when my life would be centered around caring for my illness (Cystic Fibrosis) and wondering what each day would hold. I am very much a planner and control freak when referring to my own life. I hold a routine in my life the best I can, but I have had to learn to give up some control. Each day looks different and that is my new normal.

Most "normal" people have a typical routine in their daily lives...wake up, drink coffee, have breakfast, work 9-5, come home, spend time with family, have dinner, maybe watch the news or Netflix and then go to bed knowing you will wake up and do it all over again. Granted, I'm sure there are other factors in the day such as going to the gym, grocery shopping, etc. But for the most part, the day is predictable.

People with a chronic illness, chronic pain, or a mental illness could wake up one day, have a normal routine and a good day; then the next day wake up in pain, having difficulty breathing, unable to get out of bed and struggle to even take a shower.

For me, I am VERY much a go-getter.

Seriously, I do not like to stay home all day everyday. I like to get out and do things. I like to work and plan and grocery shop and spend time with family, friends and my awesome boyfriend. But more times than none (especially in the last two years), I have to really slow down my pace and watch how much I am going and doing. I have had to take time away from my amazing job, stay home and increase my treatment regimens, and increase the amount of medication I have. I have to make sure to have adequate resting time and plenty of sleep.

On the outside, I look like a healthy 23 year old. On the inside, my disease is progressing and my body suffers. Thankfully, I can get the healthcare I need and medication to treat my Cystic Fibrosis.

But often times, I feel judged for sitting at home...

...as do a lot of people with chronic illness' that I have encountered.

Those who do not have something this difficult to deal with just do not understand. And that is okay. But please, PLEASE do not make us feel less like a persons for not being able to go and do as much as those without a chronic illness. It just is not cool.

So before you go judging someone who stays home because of an illness you cannot see, be respectable and competent enough to think outside the box of possibilities you put us in. If a person you encounter is like me, they are MORE THAN WILLING to explain their situation to you.

We do not need your sympathy all the time, but we do need to not feel blamed for having a "kryptonite" that is out of our control. Remember that there is a human soul underneath the skin that you are conversing about and potentially judging. You should definitely never judge a book by it's cover.

Cover Image Credit: Amye Dykes

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I Think I Have Telephone Phobia And It's Serious

While a lot of people commonly fear clowns, darkness, and heights, I fear phone calls.

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Is it just me or does anyone else dread having to make and pick up phone calls? Am I also the only one who gets really sweaty and goosebumps everywhere whenever the dial tone sounds? I hope it's not just me. Maybe it's the idea of a disembodied voice over the speaker that scares me or maybe it could just be me being socially awkward for no reason.

Who knows? But I do know that whenever I have to make a phone call, I have to prepare ahead of time, and if you actually see me do it (which I won't let you), you would see that it's an extremely daunting process. First, I type out what I want to say and the questions that I want to ask on my laptop. Sometimes, if it's an important phone call, such as to a place that's hiring or looking for potential interns, I prepare multiple sets of responses in case the conversation doesn't go as planned. Then, I read what I wrote two or three times out loud to myself and correct whatever doesn't sound right because you know, things usually sound better in my head.

I rehearse the finalized version another two or three times, and after that, I muster up all of the courage that I possibly can and force myself to dial the number. Finally, when the person picks up, I do my best to read off of my script, even though it's staring at me straight in the face, and try my best not to sound like a robot. Did I also mention that, when I can, I lock myself in a room so that nobody can hear me? Well, I do that, too.

This is exactly why I avoid receptionist jobs. I don't like having to call someone that I don't know because I tend to stutter a lot when the person on the other end picks up, and it's hard to predict how those phone calls will go, so I can't really prepare for them as I would do at home. Usually, I'm afraid that I won't know how to respond to the callers' questions, and I don't want them to know that I don't know how to answer them, but I also don't want to put them on hold and take up their time.

It's especially bad when an office is so quiet that everyone can practically hear all of the "ums" and "uhs" that come after every word I say. This makes me even more self-conscious about the sound of my voice, and I often say to myself, "Is this really what I sound like?" It's basically just an endless cycle of trepidation. Another thing that gets me is the instantaneity of phone calls. It's not like texting or emailing where you can choose not to respond right away. You could even leave the person on delivered or read if you really wanted to, but you can't do the same when talking on the phone unless you hang up on them, which won't be good for either of you.

Isn't it ironic how the phone was invented so that people could communicate by calling, and yet, I don't use it for that purpose? I tell my friends not to call me because I tend to respond better on Messenger or iMessage because I have time to think over my response. If it's an emergency, then I'll make an exception, but otherwise, I try to avoid phone calls at all costs. My parents are probably the only other exception because they're my parents, and both of them say that they'll take forever to respond by texts, so I really have no choice.

In all honesty, I prefer anything but a phone call. You could send me hundreds of postcards, letters, and emails or even spam my Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. You could even write a message on a paper airplane and throw it to me. I don't care, but just don't call me. Will I ever get over this? I should, but I probably won't, which sucks, but I'll manage. I think.

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