Thanks to that classy anonymous person who yesterday wrote this in a comment on my "Telephone" post:
“you're a f_____ idiot. a stupid f_____ crybaby.... I've been reading your blog for some time now, and all you do if (is) bitch and moan. you're a f_____ psycho hypochondriac."
The commenter also noted that I had drank alcohol at my event (it was actually after). I didn't write about the drinking post-event in this blog, so whoever wrote this comment must have been at my event. Someone I know. The only people I knew there were a couple of my friends, a few instructors and a bunch of my classmates. Or maybe it was someone who was told that I had been drinking alcohol. Again, it would have to be someone I know. I want to know who it is!
Whoever you are, I want you to know that you are ignorant and cruel. Let me explain some things that you should have already figured out since you have been following my blog despite hating it (and me, it seems):
1. I am not always sick and I'm seldom so sick that I can't function. I feel pretty decent a lot of the time -- it's actually very seldom that I am sick for an entire day. Thursday was a great body day and I made the most of it with my friends.
2. The theme of this blog is health issues. This is why I constantly talk about how crappy I feel on here. I'm pretty sure I'm not imagining my symptoms. Perhaps you would have balance and fatigue issues too if you were missing part of your cerebellum, had fused discs in your neck, a curvature in your back... I could go on, but I don't want to repeat myself again. I won't mention the Post-Viral Syndrome either because it isn't really detectable through tests: Anonymous Commenter may question the validity of my claim to this illness. Why is it so inconceivable to you, faithful reader, that I am really suffering and not imagining or faking it?
3. I have had health issues for my entire life -- some serious, most requiring treatment and monitoring. The effects of these and my physical and learning disabilities on my childhood were significant and I still carry the pain with me. I use this blog to help me deal with that.
4. The invisibility of my disabilities and health issues complicates matters even further: I tend to get paranoid either that people won't believe that I have issues or that they will try to enforce provisions that I don't think I want or need. It also makes it difficult for me to know when to disclose my problems. I discuss these issues here. Many other bloggers face similar issues and I want to connect with them.
One of my main concerns about writing a blog about my health issues was that that my readers (including friends and family) would think I was exaggerating my issues, just looking for pity or making excuses for not living my life fully. I was concerned that no one would want to read it, that I was somehow arrogant for writing this blog because it means I think I'm important enough to be read.
And now I have proof that at least one person out there thinks I don't have reason to share my issues and vent about my experiences -- that I'm just a hysterical woman.
My health issues are only one part of my life, but as I said, this is a health themed blog. My outlet. I thought this was my "safe place" as one person commented on my blog. Now I feel unsafe, like I have to stop writing about what I'm going through. When I read that terribly hurtful comment I thought,
Wow. How sick could I have been if I was well enough to drink with my friends? Maybe I should not defer my second semester. I can do it and I need to prove to people that I'm not giving up.
It's unfortunate that one comment can intensify my fears and insecurities about what I write in this blog and how I choose to live my life. I write so much in here about the guilt I feel about claiming illness and disability. I feel accountable to my readers, like I have to prove that I'm genuinely suffering. Seriously, I imagined myself tracking down this commenter and showing him my medical records. Why? Because I feel that medical evidence proves my suffering. It seems my narrative about my experience isn't convincing to him or her.
After I read the comment I felt this intense need to write entries about Pounce and Maui, when I'm there. I want to prove to skeptics that I think about much more than my health. That shouldn't really be a mystery, I guess, since I'm a full time Post-Graduate Corporate Communications student. Of course I will still write about Pounce and Maui, but it will likely be within the context of my health: Pounce came into my life early in the first few months of my current illness, helping me feel useful through my care for him; Maui will mean therapy and rest, but the airplane rides will likely make me feel sick as they usual do. I just can't pretend that my health doesn't play a massive role in my life. It governs most decisions I make. Surely that is worth documenting, no?
I'm not trying to prove to this commenter that I am suffering and have reasons to have a blog about my health. If he or she has indeed read this blog for some time, my suffering should be evident. There is nothing I can say here that will change the commenter's mind. My purpose in writing this was to explain the emotional impact of such a comment. I'm writing this entry more for the people who care, not the ones who don't. But please, if you have any response, share it. Just use fewer expletives, so I can post the comment without offending my readers. Oh, and provide proof of what you mean as well. I prefer arguments that have some meat to them. I want this to be an open community, but only if you have respectful, intelligent things to say.
Thank goodness for comment moderation!
P.S. Today my feet and ankles were so swollen I had trouble getting my shoes on and off. It is painful and fatiguing. I left school early to do school work I didn't do yesterday because I was sick and I was glad that I would also get to take my shoes off and put my feet up. Don't worry Anonymous Commenter, it really does hurt and weaken me. And they really are swollen. Wanna see? You can give me a foot massage. You owe it to me after being such a jerk.