"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.