Wednesday, 17 July 2013

30 Day Chronic Illness Challenge: Day 18

Day 18: Do you think you have become a better person through being ill? Explain

I have mixed feelings about this. I understand the way in which the question is meant, but I’ve also seen it tossed about very lightly in the past and so it makes me a little wary.

For example, I once knew a person who had something which lasted a fair few painful months and was thankfully fixable. They said very flippantly to me that being ill had made them a better person, but then continued to be the epitome of lack of compassion and sensitivity to the point of preaching to others how much worse their situation was and had been. Despite their belief to the contrary, I don’t think their period of ill health made them a better person at all.

The point of this anecdote? It isn’t something granted purely by the state of being ill as that individual seemed to think. It's not an automatic diversion onto a different path. To me being a “better person” as a result of being ill is about the way in which you look at the world and the things you say being different.

(Yep, sure. Image courtesy of

Am I a better person? I’m not sure. Certainly there are aspects of the way I think which are different than before. The main thing I could hold up as “better” is that having an illness classed as invisible has without doubt taught me to be less judgemental purely based on what my eyes can see. If I ever feel like dismissing something as untrue, I find myself stopping and considering what I felt like when people accused me of making the whole thing up. So I suppose I’m a little more open minded than I was.

The example most people seem to give for this question is that they’ve become more compassionate. I’m not sure if that’s true of me or not as I think I’ve always been compassionate and ready to listen. I would say that I’m more patient with things I don’t understand now than I was.

As a person I struggle to call myself a “good” person no matter what anyone else tells me – my aforementioned perfectionist streak sets itself squarely in the way – so I have the same problem in calling myself “better” too. Maybe someone will read this and give me a frank assessment!


  1. I didn't know you before you were ill, but you're definitely a kind and compassionate person. My Dad works with a guy who got a spinal injury whilst climbing and is now wheelchair-bound. He's just as much of a dick as before he got injured. Some people assume his cantankerous nature has come from losing so much freedom but people who knew him before know that, on the outside at least, he is no different. Some people have it in them to become more open, more compassionate and constantly try to be "better" whether or not illness or injury leads them to it. Others are just arses. I don't think you're in the second camp xx

    1. Thanks Midori :-) I think the point about everyone having the potential within them regardless is a very good one xx

  2. Yup agreed with Midori. I didn't know you before, but you seem to be a very grounded, sensible, intelligent person who also happens to kind and compassionate. I would say thought you've always been that kind of person.

    I would imagine an illness that doesn't go away and is with you for life, rather than change you as a person, just strengthens what you already are. A miserable sod beforehand will have even more to complain about now, hence be an even more miserable sod.

    A pleasant person of a cheery disposition may have a bit of a fight on their hands initially, but I would imagine would revert back to their old self when they had come to terms with their illness.