At some point along your journey I hope that someone has told you that your illness is not your fault but how much do you actually feel that?
Our brains are designed to analyse information and make meaning out of the chaos that is life. When something as big as chronic illness happens it’s very hard for the brain to compute that there isn’t something that we can do to control the situation so we turn it inwards.
We see this in trauma work time and time again. When an event is too big for the brain to process that’s when the narrative of self blame crops up. It is easier for us to blame ourselves than it is to accept that there is nothing that we can do to change the situation.
The brain looks for evidence to prove it’s theory so when a family member says something like ‘why can’t you just try harder?’ we see that as evidence that we are failing, not that it is unfair for the family member to expect that of us.
There is a lot of shame that comes with being chronically ill. We spend our entire lives being told that we are only worthy when we are productive and when chronic illness comes in and blows our life apart it’s only natural to feel bad over not being able to do as much as everyone else. It’s these two experiences that collide so fantastically to make that special kind of chronic illness shame.
What I wanted to do today is remind you that this is happening. That if you feel bad about your illness, like you aren’t doing enough, or some how you are failing, that’s not your fault either. You are not weak for feeling this way. Anyone in this position would feel like that from time to time. So this your reminder to cut yourself some slack. Intellectually we know that is not our fault but feeling that is a whole different thing.
So my question to you is how much do you believe today that you chronic illness is not your fault?