Three notes that may apply to listeners, friends, providers, or others

ableism, chronic illness, dehumanization, medical system, mental health system, mental illness, PTSD, saneism

TRIGGER WARNING: ableism, saneism, provider dehumanization/disengagement


To therapists: I am not a “case.” I am a human being. If I am a “case,” so are you, therapist sir or ma’am or whatever you may want to be called. You are a case of dehumanization. I am a case of humanity. We are not a “population.” We are a community. We are not just our diagnoses, and our diagnoses are more than us; we have our own whole full lives.

To medical providers: I have been living with chronic pain for five years, and a lot of that was malpractice. Even if my prognosis is good, and even though you have not been here for most of that time, sometimes, I don’t want to be cheery. Sometimes, I don’t want to be the easy “patient.” Often, I am not brave at all. Oh no—that word—“patient.” I am a human being, not a “patient,” not another file folder for your office, to be tucked away and locked after each half-hour visit, months apart… I wish much more, if not all, medical care was much more like acupuncture, where, once you adequately explained your perspective on the issue, you lay there and napped while other people fussed over you and actually put their heads together to try to put you together again. Take my problems seriously—and also take me seriously, as a person apart from an equation to solve. I know my own self best, and I want your best brain to help me.

To well-meaning friends and acquaintances who feel the need to diagnose and cure me right away: I may or may not have tried daily kale smoothies, aromatherapy (fragrance sensitive anyway), eating no gluten, exposure therapy, eating no dairy, traditional medicine, somatic experiencing, muscle testing, acupuncture, hiding in my room all day, exercising more, denial, yoga, constant discussion of my problems, tai chi, your grandma’s herbal tea, detoxing, EMDR, eating only broth, eating only cooked fruit, EFT, probiotics, just getting over it, considering the mind-body connection, blaming all my physical problems on my PTSD, blaming my PTSD on my physical problems, and/or meditation. I don’t even have to tell you what I’ve tried, and what was helpful, and what was total hogwash. You know what? Unless you suddenly became the expert on my mind and body, it’s none of your business!