Chronic Illness Grief Iceberg

We all know that the tip of an iceberg represents a small fraction of what actually exists.

We hear about it in terms of mental health, people pleasing, and life traumas of all kinds, but as someone new to chronic illness, I wasn’t prepared for the iceberg that slowly grew within me as the days went on and my need to stay above water became more and more apparent. As I bobbed at the surface while most of myself lay hidden within the depths.

And through friends resenting me for not being well enough to connect as I used to, family resisting my changing accessibility needs, work and society pressuring me to perform at the extremes that I used to before illness...I realized that very few are stopping to appreciate and be supportive of the grieving process that I have and am currently going through. That every single chronically ill person goes through.

And yet I and we are all in grief, with many suddenly at the hands of #longcovid, with multi-millions globally swiftly disabled in what is now known as the largest mass-disabling event in human history.

If our changed health were a recently departed loved one, others would reach out with love and patience: they’d say to take as much time as needed to process and heal. They’d care and they’d remain in a caring and supportive state until the healing process ran its course.

But when it comes to chronic illness, and especially #invisibleillness, they cannot see the loss in the same way. They cannot see that we ourselves have died and are trying desperately to be reborn into a new existence that supports our physical, emotional and spiritual happiness.

So with that, and in solidarity with the entire #chronicillnesscommunity, I implore you to read these slides, truly understand what they’re saying, share with every person you know (not because these are great pieces of art but because you will save lives with this form of solidarity and recognition as an able-bodied person), and open your heart and mind up to understanding chronic illness in this way.

This is how you begin to unlearn #ableism and save lives.

TL;DR it’s hard to lose another to death. But imagine being a witness to your own death. That is this grief.