And the mighty battle call goes out, “I will not be defined by my disease!” Well, surprise! You definitely are. There is a word used to describe people in society whose place or status in society remains static, anonymous, and basically unimportant. This word is “liminality”. (You can thank the anthropologists for this one!) Those who are chronically ill are classified as persons in liminality. Yep, it’s a noun, look it up.
However, before you blow a gasket, here is the fun part, people who are deemed to be in liminality are often seen as a possible threat to any social class when they do not follow the code of conduct expected of them. What is this code of conduct? For the chronically ill, we are supposed to follow expectations placed on us by society! If we are ill, we should look it, dress like it, remain obedient with common health care procedures and show humility! You see, we are seen as being in a ‘threshold’ of sorts, we are not what we once were and society’s expectations of us are luminality. We are in a permanent state of illness. We are threshold people.
But we are a threat… we have invisible illnesses. That makes us very hard to spot. That makes us very hard to classify as one day we are productive and the following we may not be due to our disease. We are limited by our disease, this is true. But always remember, we did not ask for this and we are finding amazing ways to live within those confines! We are not liminality. We are not static, we are searching for answers, knowledge, and cures. We are not anonymous … Invisible Illness Awareness month is September, let our voices be heard! We are not unimportant! We matter! We matter to our loved ones, friends, acquaintances, social networks, WE MATTER. We may indeed be standing on a threshold, but we are stepping through it – to a life lived well with our illness … we matter.
Remember to make your voice heard this month, September is Invisible Illness Awareness month! Be a threat to luminality!!!