I just had a chance to sit down catch up on the latest episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and I have to say, I was not only hurt and offended for Yolanda by your comments and questioning of her illness - but for myself and all other chronically ill patients out there. In your blog you defended your comments, saying that you were just asking how she was doing. But your comment about her Instagram account and how there are 'Happy selfies and then sick selfies' says otherwise. As someone who has a chronic and invisible illness, I wanted to reach out to you myself and tell you just how hurtful your comments are to those of us suffering from an illness.
When you are chronically ill, how you feel changes day by day, minute by minute and hour by hour. You can wake up feeling good (by the patients' standards) and by lunch time feel like you've been hit by a truck. It changes constantly. So yes, one minute we will have a photo of us feeling well and then later that day a photo of us curled up in bed exhausted.
My friends have come to expect and accept the fact that when I am invited to an event, I cannot RSVP as 'Going'. It is always 'Maybe' because I honestly have no idea how I will feel a week or two from now when the event is. I hope I can go, but it doesn't mean I can. Our illnesses have a mind of their own. We cannot control when we will feel sick and for how long. If I do go to a party or an event, it can take me up to a week to finally recovery afterwards.
Your other comment about Yolanda's photos of her treatment is "a little much." was another comment that did not sit well with me. She is documenting her journey in hopes of raising awareness for not just a cure, but to combat ignorance like you displayed in this episode. It's not an exaggeration on her part. It's not for show or for entertainment. This is her life and instead of hiding it or trying to sweep it under the rug - she is dealing with this publicly to help inspire those of us who are going through similar battles.
"People get antibiotics and move on." There is no cure for a chronic illness. Simple antibiotics will not fix it. There is no "moving on" from it. It is a life long battle. I am 23 years old, I have been dealing with illness since the day I was born. I've had 4 open heart surgeries, take 45 pills a day, have a pacemaker/defibrillator, sleep with oxygen at night, take inhalers as well as SVN treatments, follow a low salt and no caffeine diet. All of this is done so I can stay alive and have a day or two out of the week where yes - I will appear to be healthy and have an opportunity to take a "happy selfie" when I finally feel as normal as I ever will.
As for why the ladies were not talking about her illness or answering your questions, it's because it was not coming from a place of concern. You came off as suspicious of Yolanda and as if you were questioning the legitimacy of her illness. You put everyone at that party in an uncomfortable and awkward situation. They want to defend their friend and her battle, but are not sure how to tell you to back off. On top of that - they are not the expert on her illness. Friends and families do not want to answer questions about their loved one's illness in fear of giving false information that will further the ignorance and suspicion of the patient.
I'd like to share with you 6 Common Misconceptions About The Chronically Ill from an article I found on the web.
Misconception #1: The way a person looks reflects how he or she is feeling physically.
Misconception #2: If people’s mental state (emotional stress for example) makes them feel worse physically, then their chronic illness cannot possibly be physically based.
Misconception #3. Preparing for an event by engaging in “radical rest” will assure that when the occasion arrives, the chronically ill will feel better than had they not rested.
Misconception #4: If chronically ill people are enjoying themselves, they must feel okay.
Misconception #5: Stress reduction techniques, such as mindfulness meditation, are a cure for chronic pain and illness.
Misconception #6: Being home all day is a dream lifestyle.
So I encourage you Ms. Armstrong to ask questions with compassion instead of disbelief and suspicion. It is one thing to be confused and want to learn more. It is another to question whether or not a person is truly ill, or at least what you perceive sick to be.
And to Yolanda,
I want to thank you for sharing such a personal battle with the world to learn from, and sadly, at times judge. There is very little to no proper representation in the mainstream media of chronically ill people and by you being so open about your illness you are not only inspiring those of us who suffer to keep going, but you are helping to combat ignorance. On behalf of chronically ill people, thank you.
Hope and Love,