Posted on October 13, 2011 by Jocelyn:
Seven years of being ill has given me plenty of time to get familar with this, the dominant narrative imposed on people with severe and/or chronic illness in our culture. The person falls ill, and they battle bravely against their disease.
After all, how many times have you heard it said that someone “defeated” cancer, or “lost her battle with” cancer?
We have this schema of disease as a war, that it’s something you mount your body’s defenses against via your will, that you show valor by battling bravely, that your fighting against it and not “giving up” is inspirational.
And all that, frankly, is bullshit. I had to learn that the hard way. I really did think, when I fell ill, that my getting better would be a matter of willing myself to.
After all, I’d gotten sick plenty of times before, and I’d willed myself to get better, and I got better.
But that’s not how it works. Whether you will yourself to get better or not, your body has an immune system, and either it does its job or it doesn’t.
You take drugs, and either they work against the disease or they don’t.
You undergo chemo, and either it turns the tide or it fails to. Will has fuck all to do with it.
But ... Read more>>