Chronic illness identity

Chronic illness warrior, chronic pain survivor, spoonie, chargie, dis-Abled, fighter, and all of the other labels used among individuals who face a myriad of long term illnesses….

It matters little how I refer to myself when I’m at a place where I feel there’s nothing I can do to overcome, conquer whatever my illness has brought to me.

The labels tend to carry little meaning when I’m facing the implications of my illness alone

They matter even less when I’m sitting in yet another physicians or alternative health professionals office and/or waiting room…

So why do I find such comfort in whatever label I choose for the day? Although it seemingly doesn’t change the trajectory of my chronic illness or the acknowledgment of my pain by others?

These labels may have little meaning outside of the communities they create which often transcends an individual’s immediate surroundings.

These labels thrive in cyberspace and it’s easy to see how certain events in the real world are crafted around these labels.

Personally, I’ve found them useful in cyberspace and I’ve enjoyed the disconnect in the connections I’ve created through these labels.

I consider it a disconnect because I only checked into these communities when I felt the desire to…otherwise, I stayed away.

Some years, I was connected to various chronic illness themed communities on a daily basis…I was even an administrator of one such community at one point

But once I received what I needed or at least once my outside support system stabilized, I relied on the amazing community less.

Now, I’m not a part of any particular community of chronic illness individuals. At times, I miss the relational aspects of the communities, I miss the feeling of being a part of something bigger, the feeling of not being alone…but for the most part I don’t miss it enough to immerse myself into any of these communities again.

It became overwhelming as I shared my story, my experiences with so many who could relate…it was sometimes overwhelming to witness the pain and suffering many of those individuals in these groups shared.

Now. I’ll mention various chronic illnesses or pains I endure, but I don’t want to be consumed by it anymore.

My illnesses impact every facet of my life daily…but my needs are different than they were years ago when I had to plug into the communities to maintain a semblance of sanity.

I’m forever grateful for the groups and the amazing people I’ve had a chance to interact with throughout the years of my intense involvement.

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