How many times over the years have you been accused of being lazy since developing your illness, or even before the ME/CFS was diagnosed? I can remember long before I was ever diagnosed people calling me lazy. I knew I wasn’t lazy, but I was too young to know what was going on wtih my body and how to explain that I just didn’t have the energy. If I would complain about being tired I would be told, “You haven’t done anything to get tired!”. I can remember as far back as my pre-teen years not helping at my grandma’s to make dinner with my sister and cousin because I would have terrible pains in my legs and I would feel so extremely worn out. My mother used to say that I was experiencing growing pains but I know it was the ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia – I know that now.
I think being called “lazy” by others is one of the worst things you can say to someone – especially when the person is anything but lazy. I know this is one of the reasons why I became such an overachiever because I was always trying to prove that I wasn’t lazy. As children, we take what we hear and what we are told and it sticks with us even into adulthood. I have heard Dr. Phil say over and over that it takes a 1,000 “attaboys” to erase one negative comment you have received.
Those of us who are sick, and have been repeatedly called lazy most of our lives, will never get enough “attaboys” to erase all of the negative comments we’ve heard about ourselves. Most of us do the exact same thing that I have done: we internalize it and try to prove to the world that we aren’t lazy. We are sick.