The first few days were relaxing and I got pampered. But by the fourth day I was sick of being sick. And of course this reminded me of my struggle with ME/CFS/SEID and the endless, often dark tunnel of rest and restricted activities that took away four years of my life. My present situation was easy by comparison.
So I adhered to instructions and did my best not to bend my knee. This required keeping my leg stiff as I walked and navigated stairs. And I figured out how to drive with my left leg straight out jammed up under the dashboard. As I limped about doing my errands I quickly realized that people were staring at me. And not the casual glance that strangers exchange when they pass each other in a public place. These were long, hard, head turning stares. Since I wasn’t on crutches and my brace wasn’t visible under my capris pants, I was an oddity of some kind – permanently damaged and handicapped. I felt the same judgment that I had suffered when I was struggling with ME/CFS/SEID. Many people labeled me as weak and inferior – depressed, lazy and a hypochondriac. This stigma was almost universal because most of the medical world had determined that I didn’t have a real physical illness. And even after I was fully recovered, the stigma remained as people assumed that I was weak and could mentally implode again at any moment.
This recent experience has been a sharp reminder of the mental fortitude required to deal with the many cruelties of ME/CFS/SEID. How do you fend off the judgments of others? Please COMMENT on this blog or Send in your thoughts and I’ll post them with your permission. You can use the Contact Form or send an email to Martha at DefeatCFS dot net. And Guest Blogs are most welcome!
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Be Well Again,