I've been biting my tongue on this for so long... I know how some of it is going to sound. No, really, I know. People just don't say these things, or maybe they don't think about them or realize at all. It's very real though. There is a hierarchy of illness, and it leads to massive inequality among people who are sick. It leads to unthinkable hardship for those who have the "wrong" kind of illness. It's like some form of sickness-ism (discrimination of sick people based on exactly which type of illness they have).
My friend Stephanie summed up life with ongoing illness so well:
"It's very upsetting to wake up day after day with hopes and plans and dreams and be completely unable to do any of them."
I quoted what she'd written on Facebook, followed by my own addition:
I often think about how lucky most people are to just be able to do what they want without such immense and non-negotiable restrictions. I don't think I even remember what that's like anymore.
That I can usually cope with. What's hard to cope with, what makes me really sad, is how people who haven't been through this can't understand it. They still believe somehow it's a choice. That if I really wanted to, I could just do things. That the barriers are only psychological (and I don't mean mental illness, I mean lack of will or motivation).
I will never be able to understand how anyone could truly believe that someone, that I, would choose to live like this.
But this problem is a symptom. I've been thinking about why this mentality exists, and that's my conclusion - it's a symptom... of the hierarchy of illness.