First Cohort of Chronic Illness Support Group
The first cohort of our Chronic Illness Support Group started last month and is a joy to build our little community! Each week is a lesson in the importance of building bridges between our individual worlds so that we can each feel more heard, validated, and understood.
As we explore various pieces of our worlds each week, I am reminded how unique and how important the Imago relational experience is, both in romantic relationships and in general. One consistent theme that comes up is that living with chronic illness can be a constantly invalidating experience.
- We are told by doctors that our illnesses are all in our heads. They say we don’t understand our own bodies. Or listening to our concerns takes too much time..
- We are told by our friends – most of whom mean well – to “feel better soon,” or to “think positive,” or that they heard about a friend of a friend who found an essential oil that cured all their ails and that we should try that, too!
- We are told by our culture that staying in bed is lazy, that our ability to be productive is what defines our worth.
- We hear that our struggle while moving through an often non-ADA-compliant world is a personal failing on our part.
Wouldn’t It Be Fabulous If…
In this group, we share how exhausting and isolating chronic illness is, and not just because of the illness itself. What is exhausting is constantly feeling invalidated. Life would be significantly more manageable if our communities and institutions leaned into Imago.
- If doctors mirror and validate what they hear patients say before making a diagnosis.
- If friends imagine how it might feel for us to hear their words as we hear them.
- If those who are responsible for building our systems and institutions step into the worlds of people with disabilities.
- Others understand what it is like for us as we navigate our society, while living with a chronic illness.
What to do when you live with chronic pain or illness…
As we envision and hope for a more Imago-ed world, the connections that we build with each other remain invaluable. A second cohort of the Chronic Illness Support Group begins on Wednesday, October 12-Wednesday, December 7. We meet weekly over Zoom from 7 to 8:30PM EST. If you are interested in joining, or know someone who might be, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or fill out this interest form.