MARCH 14, 2020
Perhaps one of the most distressing things to come out of the recent CoronaVirus pandemic is the enormous double standards that are now becoming clearly visible in society and playing out in front of our very eyes.
I shall explain.
For the past decade I (like many other people with Autoimmune diseases) have been battling serious illnesses and painful disabilities whilst much of the world has shunned us or told us that we are exaggerating our health struggles. We struggle to get medicines, assistance, support and compassion and are often treated with suspicion because our symptoms can be invisible or not easily recognisable by the average person on the street …much like this current virus.
However when there is the slightest chance that healthier people might suffer flu like symptoms and have the slightest possibility of inconvenience or intrusion into their everyday lives we are faced with a human outcry and a world gone mad with panic!
The difference is mystifying.
From scenes like the hordes of people buying up toilet paper and hand sanitizer to those fighting to get groceries and everything in between, it has made many of us with health challenges scratch our heads at the terrible double standards and discrimination which exists in this world today.
For those of us who have struggled with stigma and terrible disability for such a long time it is very hard to take it all in.
The simple truth is that unless health problems are happening, or has even the slightest threat of happening, to a healthier person than they really just don’t care about all the ‘other’ people out there.
Regardless of the fact that ten percent of the population suffer from Autoimmune diseases (when you work out how much 10% of 7 billion people are you get a picture of the numbers involved!) they don’t seem to matter compared to the chances that a healthy person might come in to contact with a virus that most likely won’t effect them for longer than several weeks!
“But this is a mass health risk!” [They] say. Yet it is actually much less likely than the risk to a persons health that Autoimmune diseases are and these disease currently affect one in ten people (mostly women) worldwide.
“But there is a possibly of deaths!” They say. whilst scientists, doctors and the world health Organisation are indeed suggesting that a small percentage of ‘at risk’ people (the sick and the elderly) may face the risk of death this is still far less than the risk of death from Complications of Autoimmune diseases and their treatments that sufferers face every day!
Furthermore, whilst governments are trying to do all they can to help the currently healthy general public deal with this virus and all the questions they may have about it, not one organisation (including hospitals) that already know about me being one of those “at risk” people and whom also know that I take a number of immune suppressing drugs have been in contact to help or assure me. None. Even though statistically I am more likely to die from this virus than all those currently clambering for toilet paper and supplies.
More care is being directed to assisting the mob mentality and assure those healthier people out there than people like me and many other Autoimmunes who are far more at risk. Very few (if any) of those who are genuinely at risk of this virus have been rushing grocery stores, fighting in the shopping malls or trying to cause mass panic which again highlights another big difference between those with illnesses and health challenges and the general public.
Strangely enough people are far more willing to accept the invisible nature of these diseases (viruses) but have been far less willing to accept that many of the painful and difficult symptoms that autoimmune sufferers battle daily are often not always visible to naked eye which suggests that it was never a conceptual barrier to understanding but rather a compassion barrier all along.
Whilst many People have been deeply shocked and angered by being inconvenienced by the COVID, and it’s impact on their daily lives, they are also the same people that will tell Autoimmunes to “get over it…push through it…stop being so dramatic… get a grip… and stop pretending!”
The additional factor that there is currently no cure or vaccine for this virus is behind a lot of the fears and panic for those that have not yet even been affected by it, yet those same people will not understand the worries and pain of those who actually have to live with real health problems and challenge and the real limitations placed on our every day lives … yet we still have had no cures or vaccines for many decades, even centuries, now.
The countdown is now on and all efforts are being made to fund, find cures and develop vaccines for a virus that seems to primarily cause limited fevers, limited pain and a few weeks bed rest for the majority of those who are affected. Billions of dollars are being called upon and offered up by countries the world over but I have not seen this same level of care, funding and awareness being turned towards many other diseases that are truly life changing illnesses and even permanently disabling.
Everyone knows about and have all heard of this virus by now however many of my friends and family still have no knowledge or interest in the diseases that affect every moment of my life and the lives of so many millions more; One on ten people on this earth. How can this possibly be a fair standard of care and interest?
People seem to thrive on fads, novelty, popularity and panic but will quickly turn their backs at the long term problems and issues that exist in healthcare today unless it directly affects or interests them. Healthcare has been a political issue for so many decades now and universal health care has been looked down upon by many political parties the world over …until … yes, you guessed it, it may possibly affects them directly!
After many years now of being on chemo therapy drugs and immune suppressing medications I have long had to isolate myself and be careful where I go and what I expose myself to and I have felt the ridicule and scorn from a number of people out there yet now we are seeing everyday people hiding away and cancelling worldwide and expensive events and erring on the side of caution and somehow they are all being praised for it! Double standards? One group is praised while the other is looked down upon? Why?!
Sometimes the double standards that exist and have been affecting (and hurting) those with Autoimmune diseases are so heartbreaking and cruel that it defies comprehension and reason but hopefully when things like the Corona Virus comes along it can possibly finally illustrate to the average person out there just what it might be like to have to face genuine and real health battles and fears everyday of your life and a gar more uncertain future and prognosis.