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My Advice: Try Walking In My Shoes

Posted Jan 04 2011 1:10pm
Image by paral_lax via Flickr

Recently someone said to me, "I'm sorry to hear of your affliction."

I believe that they were referring to my fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses, but honestly I was too taken aback to ask. This person is a stranger, not someone with whom I would share my personal situation. But I do choose to put some of my personal issues out here on my blog and, lo and behold, they read my blog and decided to comment on it.

Affliction is such a weird word.

I guess if I had been born 100 years ago, affliction might have been used by my family and friends to describe my current health problems. Although I imagine that 100 years ago, I would not have lived past my leukemia diagnosis to go on and develop chronic illness.

Honestly, the word affliction makes me think of the word sanatorium. You know, the medical spas popular in the first half of the 20th century for people with tuberculosis. Apparently the ones in Arizona also attracted people with rheumatism, asthma and other disorders. While there, patients received a healthy diet, plenty of rest and fresh air.

Which sound quite appealing, especially on my more challenging days...

Then I thought to myself, 'What the #$@%!
This is 2011 and I do not live with an affliction.'

I got in touch with the fact that having someone call my chronic illness an "affliction" made me feel demeaned and degraded. It took a while, but I finally got beyond my discouragement about a lack of disabled-friendly language. I then wondered what would happen if anyone in this person's family even became ill or disabled.

My opinion: I can't imagine this person being a fountain of support or understanding.

Which leads me to think that what this person needs is to spend some time in my shoes.

So I turned all my mixed emotions into a music video for the Depeche Mode song Walking in My Shoes which I will debut tomorrow as a Wordless Wednesday post.

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