“Why would you even say that?”
“I don’t find that funny. “
“You shouldn’t laugh about chronic illness.”
“If you do that , people won’t take our issues seriously.”
“You really offended me by making that comment. “
These are all things I have have said to me, by people WITH chronic illness and even people WITHOUT. Apparently, if you suffer from a disease, you get your “humor card” taken from you , and it is now NOT okay for you to be a happy person, or find any kind of joy in life.
So , I’ll start this next paragraph by saying, lest you think I have no right to speak on this matter, that my diagnoses in order are, Systemic lupus , heart failure, Sjogren’s, Raynaud’s, POTs, dysautonomia, and EDS. So trust me, I have been around the medical merry-go-round. I many times have pain that would put most people on the floor, have had so many surgeries, that they don’t give me enough lines on the medical forms, and so many allergies that they no longer even put them on the ER bracelets. I just get a big red one, that says, “See List”. I have been sick since I was about 7 ( I was so sickly that my Grandpa called me P. , short for PeeWee) , and VERY ILL since I was 14. I didn’t get diagnosed until I was 19, so I had five years of basically every doctor saying to my parents, “She’s just lazy. ” and “She’s just wanting attention. ” So you develop a thick skin, and I developed a sense of humor from the craziness of it all. Sort of like OR doctors, ER doctors, etc. That gallows humor. I CAN and DO find the funny in just about any situation.
I’ve learned over the years that there are two types of people, when they find this out about me. They either “totally” get it, and love that I make a joke of it, or they are so offended they can’t take it.
But my question to them has always been. “Well what SHOULD I do? Should I be this joyless, soulless person, who is angry about things I can’t change or control? Should I rail against the Doctors, the nurses, the techs and even God?” If your answer is “Yes!”, then my reply would be, “And what would that help?”
Rather , isn’t it better to find joy where you can? To laugh over the quite frankly ridiculous things that become necessary when you’re stuck with a lifetime illness? Isn’t it better to be positive?
I am sorry if you think it’s wrong somehow , that even though I have more issues than you can shake a stick at, that I am happy anyway. I am sorry if you find it strange that I am able to laugh , not BECAUSE of how things are, but IN SPITE of them. And to be quite frank, and I am sorry that even though things are hard, that you have no way to smile.
But I am NOT sorry that I AM able to find joy. I will not apologize for coping with the circus that is my life , with humor. ( P.S. Below, find an attached article about the effects of gallows humor and how it helps us cope in stressful situations. ) https://meded.duke.edu/practice/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Gallows-humor-in-medicine.pdf