If you have a chronic illness or incurable illness you have asked yourself this question many times. I have. Why go on?
The answers don’t always come easily and can vary from person to person. But we all want meaning and a reason to keep going and fighting some very desperate odds and circumstances.
After a bad night of no sleep and lots of pain I was sitting in the shower and I began my usual contemplations…
I began to remember that when ever someone, anyone, looks back on their lives there will probably be a handful of things and days that stand out in their memories as being significant and/or enjoyable. It struck me that it is very similar to life with illness. There are a few days that we have that are priceless and we treasure. There will be a few days when we can feel the sun on our face and a smile on our lips.
Before I became chronically ill I remember working and rushing around and although everyday wasn’t painful or filled with health issues, they weren’t all fun and amazing days either… There were days that stood out as better than the rest.
When we think of people we tend to think of some of the more enjoyable times we spent with them and may gloss over some of the more challenging times.
The life of the health fighter is similar. We will have days which stand out as meaningful and enjoyable, while we battle with all the other days which are much harder.
For those that don’t have health issues it is understandable that they may wonder “…why go on!?…” When they consider what fighting an endless and changing battle must be like. That’s why many choose not to believe us!
It seems too awful to even contemplate a life like this when you are healthy and able bodied. Its not unless you have been there does it begin to be comprehsable.
I recall imagining going overseas for the first time, on holiday. It wasn’t until I had returned that I truly understood all that was involved. All the wonders and all the dangers. I feel the same when I speak to those who have never fought these fights. Often it is pointless trying to explain. The same is true with many specialists we encounter. They may see illness everyday, but have no idea what it is truly like! Many who return from active duty or war probably feel a similar way.
I have always believed that fundamentally all lives matter. The President or the Queen is no more entitled to a life than anyone else. The belief that some lives matter more is the source of most of the worlds pain and suffering. Therefore, if I am true to this principle I must also conclude that my life as a chronically ill person is no less meaningful than those who have the benefit of health. If we start to believe we are no longer worthy or important that’s when we start questioning “… Why go on!?…”
We would start believing the lie that we are no longer worthy of life.
If the world can make way, and seperate rules for kings, queens and religious leaders long after their service has ended, they can also make way for all illnesses and accept that our lives matter also… It’s merely a matter of perception.
To give up the fight would also mean that we are reinforcing the ideal that the chronically ill are not important, not relevant or worth living… And I just can’t agree with that. Ever.
One of the other reasons became apparent to me after I received a beautiful letter from a fellow fighter, thanking me for my writing and encouragement. I felt deeply touched and moved. I realised in that moment that we keep going for each other. To help our fellow fighters. To advance each other each small step and to help our chronically ill brothers and sisters believe that we are relevant. We are important. And we are worth the fight.