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When Your Chronic Illness Is Used As An Excuse

When Your Chronic Illness Is Used As An Excuse

In my experience, there are three types of people in this world, those who genuinely care about what others think, those who don’t, and those who pretend not to care, but actually do. As much as I’d like to think that I don’t care, the truth of the matter is that I really do. Simply put, I actually care if others think that I make good choices.

Choices, excuses, and questions

Which is why it bothers me so much when people use the fact that I have psoriatic arthritis to question the choices I make. Do you think you could really do that? Is that really a good idea? Can you handle that?

Maybe I don’t know

You know what? I don’t know. I don’t actually know what I can and cannot do most days until I get up and start my day. But I am still capable of making the best decisions I can make, given all that I DO know. And you don’t get to question every decision that I make simply because you think you may know what’s best for me.

Yes, there are many days when psoriatic arthritis holds me back from doing what I really want to do. But does that give you the right to question whether I should try and do it or not? Should I just give up living, simply because I’m not 100% sure of the outcome?

My PsA should never be used as an excuse

I may be right, I may be wrong, but the fact of the matter is that my PsA should never be used as an excuse to question my judgment or the choices that I make. Sure, you can question my intelligence, logic, or even how informed I am, but no one will ever be able to make a more informed decision about how my PsA will play out in my life than me.

No one has the right

You don’t have to right to use my PsA as an excuse to decide what I should or should not commit to doing. Either way, all choices are mine. And while I appreciate your concern that I may end up in pain, that I may have to make difficult choices, having PsA doesn’t negate my ability or right to make them.

Questioning my choices

For example, my husband and I have chosen to homeschool our children. After a great deal of thought, research, and prayer, we decided it was the best choice for us at this time. Now like anyone with PsA, I have good days and bad. I have days when I feel like I could take on the world, and other days that I don’t feel so great.

So does that simple fact give anyone the right to question my decision to homeschool? My children are excelling. They are developing well, emotionally and intellectually. Yet, people still question if I can actually do it, simply because I have psoriatic arthritis.

They question my choices simply on the premise that I have psoriatic arthritis. I have an advanced degree in education. They don’t question that. I have a great deal of experience. No one questions that. My children are performing above grade level and participate in many activities. No questions there. But people find out I have a chronic illness and suddenly they have the right to question my decisions?

What’s your experience?

Who knows. Maybe it is just my experience. Maybe I’m the only one who lives with this type of questioning related to my chronic illness. Or maybe not. Maybe other people with PsA live with others questioning their decisions. Maybe others live with loved ones using their chronic illness as an excuse to be unsupportive or question their decisions. Am I alone in this or have others experienced this too? How do you handle it?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • AuntJana
    2 years ago

    I don’t have this issue, I don’t think my grown children think one way or the other. I believe they choose to just deny I have a disease. My diet, that’s the cure all in their opinion, the sugar is the culprit. There is never a how are you feeling mom? Never a phone call to check up, no texts. They refuse to see me with a disease. I have even been told —“You should not call it a disease, it makes people uncomfortable.”

    It is so hard to find some joy a lot of the time in my life with PSA. My husband is supportive and very helpful but he is also very good at hiding his feelings and emotions. It’s easier to brush it under the rug and try to hide from the fact that this is my life now. I sure wish I could do that too.

    I am glad you can do what you do—good for you. It sounds like your children are happy and thriving being home schooled. ☀️

  • Jaime Lyn Moy
    2 years ago

    I’m a volunteer photographer at my son’s summer camp for children with juvenile arthritis. When he was 14 and in a flare, the camp installed a huge climbing wall. I watched him step up to the wall, and I kept thinking, “There is no way he can do this.” I wanted so badly to tell him not to do it and just sit on the sidelines and watch. I didn’t want to see him increase his pain. I learned an important lesson that day: Never underestimate the determination of a warrior. Not only did he scale the wall like a spider monkey, he did it in record time. Clearly mom doesn’t know best. I’m so glad he doesn’t use his disease as an excuse not to try new things.

  • Leanne Donaldson author
    2 years ago

    I LOVE this story @jaimem. As a mom, I think there is nothing better than watching our kids prove us wrong 🙂 (at least about stuff like this!). You are so right, sometimes when we are determined to do something, we make a conscious choice to live life and accept the pain. I can’t even imagine the joy in that moment! – Leanne

  • Kerby
    2 years ago

    I experience this on a daily basis, unfortunately from family mostly. I may want to do a yard project! repair a car or household item and many times hear, I don’t think you can handle that. I take it with a grain of salt mostly but occasionally lash out. I also experience friends and neighbors ask for help with a project and I usually help even if I know it will cause me pain and cost me mobility in the following days. Sometimes I’ll say, no I can’t help today my arthritis is too active, which has led to rebuttals of, there’s nothing wrong with you or why, didn’t you eat your Wheaties today or some other dismissive insult disguised as humor. I haven’t got many friends these days mostly because I have asked for help with projects that I need to complete but know I no longer can do myself, many of those requests provoke replies similar to those previously mentioned or something along the lines of, the only time I hear from you is when you need something. So I no longer ask, and no longer socialize with those people. I’ve been ill for 25+ years and I could go on and on but won’t. I accept that healthy people are incapable of understanding and are completely immersed in their own world. I hold no grudges and convince myself every day that today will be better…sometimes it is.

  • Boedica
    2 years ago

    I seem to have the opposite problem where I have to tell others what I can’t do. I think because I look ok and family know me back to my high energy active days they still think I can do it if I put my mind to it.
    My son, an adult, said to that he doesn’t think of me as being disabled, but yet he does think his Dad is. Which is true, yet he can physically do far more than myself.
    I get tired of explaining my limitations to people. Then again I was taking on they phone to someone about some charity work I wanted to do.I got really annoyed when she based her questions to me on my limitations rather than asking what I can do! No win!

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