Monday Morning Thoughts: Why Does Our Culture Demand We Hide Our Chronic Illnesses?

It’s been awhile since we’ve had a Monday Morning Thoughts…. such is life. Welcome back to my stream of consciousness!

I was updating my résumé over the weekend, something I like to do periodically, because YOU NEVER KNOW, and while I was doing it, I sort of had an existential moment.

Why do we encourage people to hide their illness from employers or applications?

The obvious answer is because genetic discrimination exists in our world. It’s a sad truth.

I think we can agree that most employers, or even coaches offering athletic scholarships (for sake of another example), would likely select an otherwise healthy candidate when choosing between two equally qualified people, the only difference being that one of them has a chronic illness.

If you don’t think situations like this exists, just ask someone who has been on the receiving end of such a selection.

This is a cultural thing, something that I think we need to work to change.

What if we marketed illness in a positive way, and got people to listen?

I laid my thoughts out in a bit of a spur of the moment tweet storm…

I know there are people living with chronic illness out there WILLING to do this. I know I consider some of the things having to do with my CF battle very serious strengths. Are people willing to listen to us, though? Not yet, I think.

Let some of the respondents think for themselves:

The simple fact is that people have very negative experiences when disclosing cystic fibrosis in a place where we can be judged for living with it. Illness is often seen as a serious negative in the job market or anywhere someone may be at a disadvantage for having a chronically ill person as a teammate.

It’s the simple truth.

It’s time for that to change…. And so I ask how? How can we change this culture? How can we prove to employers, etc. that our illnesses have positively shaped our personalities in remarkably productive ways?

I’ll leave that you as I ponder the same question…

…and that’s what I’m thinking about this morning.