One of the most infuriating things about having a chronic disease and going to the hospital on a regular basis is that your dignity is ripped to shreds. They suck the soul out of you. To the medical system we all are nothing. Our humanity is completely taken away from us. We are a partial collection of specific symptoms at best. The way it is set up in Norway, it’s not just the patients that are less than human. It’s the doctors and nurses as well. The doctors are completely interchangeable, as are the nurses and midwifes. You cannot establish a personal relationship with anyone, human to human. This system is perfect to disrupt any intent of caring about each other or connecting on any basic human level.
What’s even worse, they take away all your autonomy by saying that “nothing is your fault”. Doctors and nurses will repeat this over and over like a sinister mantra: “Oh, don’t worry, this is not your fault” “You can’t do anything about it”. Well FUCK YOU! How dare you treat me like an infant! I’m not a fucking child! A newborn baby is innocent, an infant is innocent but even my two-year-old toddler has some degree of freedom, some agency. We expect a few basic things of him, like not hitting people or taking care of himself to some degree. Yet as soon as you are sick you are treated like a stupid, petulant child. “You can’t do anything about this.” HOW DARE YOU?! How dare you take away my agency, dignity, AND with that my ability to heal. To actually get better. Well, statistically, people with your ailment and characteristics (based on the very limited information we collected about you, out of the millions of variables that make up a human being), bla bla bla… NOPE! You don’t know me at all. You haven’t even attempted to get to know me. You don’t have a lot of relevant information about me. So do not pretend you know what I can and cannot do. And don’t pretend you are here to help me because you just aren’t.
This is where the medicalization of human beings, of the human experience leads. And I don’t care much for the “but they’re just trying to show empathy and compassion” excuse. No, they are not. If they had empathy, they’d connect to me as one human being connects to another, and they would understand my struggles. If they showed actual compassion, they would do whatever they could to help me heal, to be better in the true sense of the word. They do the exact opposite in most cases.
We are responsible for our health. We just are. Are there genetic factors involved? Sure. Are we responsible for the trauma (physical or emotional abuse, rape, war, etc) that we have endured in our childhood or adult life? No. But we absolutely are responsible for our reaction to it. We can do better. At the very least, we can try to do better. We can learn to process our emotions better, we can learn to eat better, live physically and emotionally healthier. There are a million things we can do to live better. It doesn’t matter what the illness is. We have a choice and can work for a better life. ALWAYS.
So my advice for all of you out there: reclaim your autonomy, power and dignity. You can do better. Always. I believe that if we realize this simple truth, we can create a society that works better for all of us.