• Carly Wolf

Being Vulnerable with a Chronic Illness

Updated: May 13, 2019

VULNERABILITY (noun)- the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally. Being vulnerable in today’s society is somewhat looked down upon; however, I believe that this is a good characteristic to have. When chronic illnesses becomes part of someone’s life, this word may mean something different. Society today seems to have a notion that when you get sick you either you get better or well, to be frank, you die. This leaves the people who have chronic lifelong illnesses in this weird spot feeling like we do not have a place in society.

This idea from society puts a heavy burden onto the people who are dealing with illness. We often end up making others feel better about our situation by saying that we are good or fine or even just hanging in there. This then plays into the sigma around invisible illnesses; just because you can not see it doesn’t mean that its not there. This idea plays into being vulnerable because often times it is hard for people with chronic illnesses to be up front and honest about what they are feeling to the people closest to them. It can be hard for people to really understand what goes on in the life of people with chronic illness. I am by no means saying that they can not be understanding but it is hard for people who do not have an illness to relate to a person who does. It has taken me quite sometime to realize this very fact. In the beginning of this journey I too thought the same way that most of society feels and that is either you get better or you do not. However, after coming more to terms with my body, I realized that I really don’t want people to understand exactly what it is like to have a chronic condition because most of the time to have that happen means that they have a condition themself.

I do think though that there needs to be more awareness of chronic illness and its impact. To do that, people need to be vulnerable about what is going on in their life. However, with the current notion around chronic illness, it can be incredibly hard to be vulnerable with those around you. With that being said I do truly believe that being vulnerable is not a weakness, but rather a strength. Using that strength can help to create more authentic relationships with others. The best relationships that I have had with people come from a place of letting the person know what is going on in my life. Trust me though, this does not come easily to me because like many others we are just trying to be a “normal” human being. What I have recently come to realize is that we all carry our own burdens and that no one’s life is as perfect as it seems on social media. This lesson can be a hard one to remember. Going forward, I really want to work on sharing more with people so they can better understand what those with chronic illnesses go through. That is a big reason why this site Fierce Fighters came to life! I hope you stick around for more blog posts to come!

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