One thing that has always irritated the hell out of me is hierarchies.
No one is ever higher/above me in life and so I simply will not tolerate a hierarchy system.
Is there a need for them within any society?
What astounded me when I became ill was the hierarchies that exist within illness, if we allow them, that is. (insert a wry smile here)
We are all in this together and we all share one thing that makes us magical, we have a chronic illness. Our symptoms unite us, it should be that simple, sadly it is not.
Twenty plus years ago I was in University studying to be a Nurse. Certain quotes remain forefront of my mind at all times.
"Pain us whatever the experiencing person says it is, existing whenever the experiencing person says it does." McCaffrey and Beebe.
Long ago before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and blogs when you were diagnosed an illness you never really met other people of the same illness unless you were at the clinic, hospital or joined a support group.
This meeting of minds would occur only once a week/month and then part until the next group meeting.
It must have been very isolating and lonely to be the "only species of your kind."
I call people with a chronic illness diagnosis a species as that is very much how this illness can be represented. We are very much a "class of individuals having some common characteristics or qualities, distinct sort or kind."
Thankfully times have now changed and we can share our support for each other daily. We can connect with people all around the world with the same illness and we can send smiles and virtual hugs to get each other through the day. Many people may be surrounded at home by people who do not understand and support them, the online friends fill this void.
There is a negative side to this community, though.
We are all equal. Why then do some people feel a need to be the illest?
Is there a prize for being the most poorly sick?
Do they award a gold star and chocolate bar to the people with photos of an arm with a I.V. drip in?
Where do the people go with the most medication, the photo of a handful of tablets?
Where does it say that the person with the most medication is iller than the person who manages the pain, symptoms without?
Is a newly diagnosed person not really as ill as a person who was diagnosed 20 years ago?
Is the person that is bedbound more ill than the person who still works part time?
The person who still wears lipstick and a dress daily is definitely not as ill as the person in pyjamas.
Last but by no means least, The person who knows every medicine inside and out, who has personal experience of each and every one medicine and who hates EVERY medicine, management, and advice, they must be the illest?
I do not mean this as an insult to anyone at all and with regards sharing images of visual illness that are something many of us do. Whatever gets us through the day is my motto. My point is that you should never look at any of us and feel less deserving of love and support. Some of us share our lives, warts and all and some are very personal regarding what we endure.
WE ARE ALL THE SAME!
We can all enrich each others lives and bring something to the chronic illness community table, together united we are GREAT.
If a blog, forum, social media page makes you feel less worthy then that is not the place for you. There are some people who bathe daily in the negative pool of being ill and gain personal gratification for being iller than anyone. But for the larger percentage of us, there are no hierarchies within illness and there are no stages either.
(I despise that post on stages in Fibromyalgia, typical example of a person who love hierarchies must have written that!Grrrrrr )