If you break your leg or have your appendix out there are little niceties and social rituals that people do. They send flowers and cards telling you to get well soon. When you first come home from the hospital, they offer to bring food or help you out. They ask if you are getting better, and you probably are. After all, we expect people to get better once they receive the right treatment.
Just maybe, if your diagnosis with a chronic illness was dramatic enough, you will get cards, flowers, visits and well wishes. But if your diagnosis was not dramatic, there will be no social rituals. Your life has changed dramatically. Yet, many of the people you know will hardly notice. Some will acknowledge your illness and go right on with their lives. A few may offer to help at the beginning. Some will ask if you are getting better. After a while, you may find yourself saying yes either because you are tired of the question or don’t want folks to think you are a hypochondriac, lazy or crazy.
The whole word doesn’t have to know about the details of your medical condition. Most people don’t need to know at all. Explain it to the people who really care about you, but don’t make it the center of every conversation. And always remember, you are not our illness.