When you are chronically sick….labels matter. I know that seems so odd but it is true.

I recently received some criticism on my last blog post. At first I was really bothered by it.  I read my post again. I still agreed with it. I also can see what these people were saying.

It starts back when I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. It took time of course but Fibro slowly started taking things from me.  I was slowly loosing the things that I had started to associate with being me. I had a career. No problem I will just find something else. Start a new job. Really really really like it. Four years later, taken again.  It has taken me a while to be comfortable to say. I am a stay at home mom. I don’t really know why other than I liked discussing both parenting and my career.  I felt like I was really struggling to know WHO I am.

Labels help doctors treat us. Labels help others understand a portion of what we go through overall.

Once a chronic illness has taken away working from you, you are trying to rediscover yourself again.

Labels suddenly become very important.

Labels don’t always mean you are a professional at it. Just that you enjoy what you are “labeling”. It gives you a connection to the real world that many times chronic illness has taken away. Think of all the person to person contact you have at work.  Now imagine that contact is taken away.  Now add typically a debilitating physical/mental issue. You have no reason to go out. No reason to have person to person contact other than any immediate family that might live with you.

When you get to choose what you are doing and participating in, labels don’t matter so much. They also tend to gear more towards professional “label”. Once that choice is taken away. The labels that you thought once defined you , no longer do.  You grasp at labels to wrap around yourself.  It takes a while to get comfortable with less and less labels. Slowly you realize it helps to have labels. It helps mentally and often that is the area that plummets soon after diagnosis. It is harder and harder to care and participate in your treatment plan when mentally you are falling.

For me , someone who struggled with labels to begin with, it took me years.  To tease out little interest and see if there is more to that.  Often I did this one area at a time and very slowly. At first the labels of my diagnosis were enough. It helped connect to others. It took me saying, I don’t care if I don’t make money at this. I don’t care if others like what I do. It is mentally soothing to me. It was still a slow progress but I finally feel like I am in charge and not my diagnosis’s.

Photographer- A person who takes photographs.

Writer-Is a person who uses written words in various styles and techniques to  communicate ideas.

Mother- A person who has raised a child, given birth to a child  and or supplied an egg that was united with sperm and grew a child.

These were found in Wikipedia. Not always the best place for research but often adequate for a definition.  Further in the definition it does say that both the photographer and the writer are often professional or in exchange for money.

The people that get upset about the labels we use often are not the people who understand what we deal with. What we deal with on every level, not just physical but mental as well. It takes awhile to let those criticisms just roll off. To not take it personally is a little harder, but I am getting there.


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