It is quite possible that I am in the minority of chronic sufferers on this topic, but I have never minded being different or original and I believe that everyone has their own views and truth. This is mine.
A pet peeve of mine is when healthier people tell chronically ill people, who are in pain and suffering, “… be grateful you’re still alive…”
To me it is the ultimate dismissive gesture intended to silence you and make you feel guilty about sharing your challenges or experiences. But it doesn’t work on me; not anymore.
You see. I am not grateful for being alive and in pain. Why should I be? It is truly something that only someone who is not in constant and agonizing pain would say.
I remember when my mother died after a short but painful battle with cancer and we took comfort in the fact that she was no longer suffering. We didn’t want her to suffer anymore. Death was her release.
However for those of us who are in constant daily pain, there is no release and we have to somehow be able to physically and emotionally keep battling everyday. Yes. Everyday.
Many of us have wished we could have release, and I have even wished for release in the form of death. I am not ashamed to admit this. Especially when there are no cures for my current illnesses.
Suffering is a most personal and intimate experience and I do not think it is something that someone else has the right to judge or dismiss.
I will not try and speak for others and the rest of the chronic community. These are my thoughts and feelings on the topic.
I know that there are some out there that will no doubt think I am not being very inspirational, grateful or positive. I don’t really care about their opinions now after many years and challenges.
I am grateful for many things, but I am not grateful for being alive and suffering everyday.
I usually try and occupy my mind with thoughts about other topics to try and distract myself from questioning why each day is filled with pain, disability, challenge and lack of physical abilities.
I have become very good at this and I assume many others are too. That is usually how chronic fighters keep going. But I personally reject the idea that we are not allowed to question or be ungrateful for the hand we are dealt.
There are many times when I would welcome death as an end to my pain and progressive illnesses. That doesn’t mean I am suicidal or lack character. I think it is more an indication that I am a realist and pragmatic.
Let us consider for a moment that a healthier person on the street is given the choice between a lifetime of pain, disability, lack of physical function, lack of independence, frustration, disappointment, loneliness, isolation, unemployment, rejection and abandonment … OR… slipping peacefully into oblivion. Which do you think they would choose?
As I said earlier. I am grateful for many things like my husbands character, my character, my furry companions, my past experiences, some people I have met, the things I try to do and the things I have already done… but am I grateful for being alive and fighting the hardest battles of my life? No. I am not.