What not to say to a chronically ill person!

A lot of people have been asking me why I don’t go to shows anymore or why I have been withdrawn socially, and assuming it’s because I don’t drink or use drugs anymore, or because I’m depressed. (Joke’s on you. I’ve been sober for several years now and depressed my whole life!) I get that it’s a lot different from how I was when I was touring. Trust me: I don’t like it either.

I have been trying to get myself to a place mentally where I have an easier time overcoming how much pain I’m in and get out more. That said, I’m also on a pretty strict medication regimen (which mostly make me really sleepy, which I hate, as anyone who knew “the old me” can speak to) and I’m, like, pretty much in constant physical pain that can make it difficult to stand, walk, and function.

Thus, I reserve my physical energy reserves for the things I need to do to participate vocationally and as a mother: attending classes, preparing for grad school, going to my internship where I look after several little kids at once, and spending time with my daughter. When I was 22, I could do these things and tour part-time as a guitarist. At 28, that’s not so easy for me anymore.

If someone you love tells you that they’re having a hard time with their physical health, please believe them the first time. Believe that they’re not just making excuses to hide a mental illness–indeed, even when I was still in RFTR full-time, I was doing a lot of mental and social gymnastics to hide the growing burden of my poor physical health–or, worse yet, to be lazy and not participate in society. It’s really shitty and embarrassing to self-disclose a chronic illness.

The only reason I do it, at this point, is to help people get an understanding of what the patient population goes through.

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