Did you know you break the rules every day, simply by being you?
This month on RAHealthCentral, we are looking at unspoken rules. The ones that guide how we live, how we look, and how we act.
As a society, we have a norm, an average, and this determines how we react to each other. For instance, if you are having a meeting with your boss, showing up in ripped jeans and a cropped shirt is not likely to enhance your promotion chances. Adults are expected to work, couples are expected to marry and live in the same home, and we are all expected to say please and thank you. Not following those rules can bring censure by others and possibly societal stigmatization.
When you have a chronic illness, you find out that there are a whole lot of unspoken rules regarding health that you didn’t know about. Which makes sense — when you’re a healthy, able-bodied person, you’re not navigating those implicit commands of the chronic illness world we live in. Throughout September, we will be exploring what it’s like to be a rule breaker, the consequences we face, and how to cope.
Emil is going to take a look at the rules of being a man and how chronic illness affects that role. Marianna will write about how the rules change when your health changes, and I’ll explore the other side of that coin, penning an article about breaking the rules of being a chronic illness patient.
One of those rules is to actually have a chronic illness, but what happens when you are in remission? Stay tuned for Cathy’s slideshow exploring community and belonging and what happens when you feel better. I’ll also be diving into the community aspect, writing about our tendency to compare ourselves to each other and how that comparison can hurt us.
But September is not all about rebelliousness here on the RA site. Cathy is continuing her series on parenting and chronic illness this month, writing about something really exciting. People generally assume that when a parent has a chronic illness, it will inevitably impact the health and sanity of the children. But this doesn’t have to happen. Cathy will tell us more in her September article on this topic.
Our culture also has certain rules about preventative health, but it can be hard to stick to that when you have a chronic illness. This month is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and Emil will share important information to keep you safe and how a chronic illness may affect symptoms and tests.
Please join the conversation to talk about breaking the rules and how to deal with that on the RAHealthCentral Facebook page!
Lene Andersen is the Community Leader for HealthCentral’s RA Community. Lene (pronounced Lena) is an award-winning writer, health and disability advocate, and photographer living in Toronto. She’s written several books, including Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis: Tools for Managing Treatment, Side Effects and Pain, and 7 Facets: A Meditation on Pain, as well as the award-winning blog, The Seated View. Follow Lene on Twitter @TheSeatedView and on Facebook. Watch her story on HealthCentral.