Chronic Illness Medical Cannabis Personal Essay

5 little ‘luxuries’ that are necessities for people with chronic illness

If you are a disabled or chronically ill human, I hope this list will reasonate and maybe even laugh a little. What an absurd journey we are on!  If not, please read this list with an open mind and lots of empathy. When you are disabled your illness is all day, every day. It just isn't when you "complain" or share your personal stories, it is forever present in your daily life. I have always found it curious how people can empathize with being run down, but only if it doesn't last too long. Here are 5 things I have been openly judged for needing on a regular basis (and continue to need).

Online Shopping

I'm looking at you, yes you! The one's who side-eyes us for getting pet supplies, necessity items, groceries, Amazon/Walmart, etc. delivered to our door. Don't get me wrong, I would much rather support local and boycott unethical brands. Contrary to popular (abled) belief, there are not enough hours/spoons/battery in a day for the average disabled person. This means that we are very selective of where we put our energy. Work and wellness are non-negotiable, sometimes we need to reserve what is left for loved ones or self-care and that means ordering some stuff online despite the socio-economic implications. It's certainly not perfect, but it's a fact of life for some.

Food Delivery

The delivery world right now is so extra, I won't argue that for a second. Getting a delivery service to bring you $30 of restaurant food for $50 with taxes and fees isn't the most economical way to feed yourself. My old neighbours used to make comments on how often I got takeout like it was some sort of extravagent thing. Nope, just a bad ass chronically ill warrior feeding herself in any capacity she can. It is easy to feel ashamed of needing to order takeout, no one wants to eat less healthy food and at greater expensive, it is simply sometimes a necessity.

Cannabis

Ok, before you @ me - not ALL chronically ill people use cannabis. In fact, many people say 'have you tried cannabis' as liberally as 'have you tried yoga'. However IF you use cannabis medicinally, or have an authorization to use medical cannabis, it is absolutely not a luxury. Able-bodied or otherwise healthy humans lack understanding when it comes to medical cannabis. Cutting back on non-essentials like alcohol or cannabis seems like a no brainer when experiencing lean financial times. It is important to have compassion with chronically ill individuals who use cannabis. Buying your daily medicine, which for many is cannabis, it's not the same as skipping a six pack to save some cash.

Self-care/Rest

Honestly, I get a little feral when healthy people critique my sleeping habits. I'm not sure how 'wow I wish I could make time to sleep/rest/self-care activity' is supposed to be taken, but it sounds shady AF. There are deadlines, social engagements, holiday functions, family events that disabled people just straight up miss. I don't value 8 hours of sleep a night more than I value your friendship. The fact that healthy humans think it's a choice means they haven't been listening. When disabled people push themselves beyond their limit there are very real physical, emotional, and economical ramifications. Every chronically ill person is different, it isn't for anyone else (even other sick people) to question what medical treatment they use to manage their illness properly.

Telecommuting

'It sure would be nice if I could just stay home all day'.....stop, please stop. If a disabled or chronically ill human is getting 'special treatment' at the office that allows them to work from home it isn't 'nice' it is a necessity. I will never forget, at the last office job I was ever able to work, the intense amounts of shade I used to get when I needed to work from home. This turned into more sick days for fear of asking for even more accommodation than I already was granted. The truth of the matter is that whatever work accommodations you need are between you and your boss (or HR). Don't let any salty abled co-workers who wants to be home with their dog make you feel shame or keep you from doing your job.

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