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Illness is one of those things we don't think about until we are in the throws of it. Then we can't believe we ever took our health for granted.

There's a lot of stigma around illness that can caught a great deal of fear of contracting illnesses or diseases, especially if it is chronic. Sometimes those illnesses are as acute as passing a kidney stone, but sometimes it's centered around long term illness like schizophrenia or multiple sclerosis.

Living with illness is not a walk in the park, though the perks of a pension or a special parking spot may seem bright and shiney. But don't take it from me. Listen to talks from people who experience illness first hand and still persist through their daily lives like Sita Gaia, a Registered Social Worker with epilepsy, or Sam Berns, who's diagnosed with Progeria.


Redditor Unknown_Kid7 asked:

"What is a non-life threatening illness/disease that you fear of the most?"

Let's see what illnesses and diseases people would rather not contract.

Stroke.

"A Stroke. The chance of being paralyzed for decades, unable to communicate or do anything for myself, trapped in a body that doesn't work right anymore, is terrifying."

- nitestar95

"Had two strokes at age 22. Paralyzed on my left side for 9 months, and took 5 years to get my full strength back. Scariest day of my life."

- starfoxai

"This right here. I'm a neuro nurse and our floor was recently applauded for our low mortality rates. Don't get me wrong I'm glad we were able to save people; but the frustration, sadness, and emptiness surrounding disability after suffering a stroke both scares and depresses me."

"Imagine going from a completely independent adult to no longer having control over your speech, your limbs, or your bowel/bladder. Your personality is changed. You can't eat or drink like you normally could. You are dependent on someone for the rest of your life, and you could be alive for decades."

"A lot depends on the severity of your stroke and success of the medication/surgical intervention you had. But I completely agree, strokes can be terrifying."

-user deleted

Rare allergies.

"There's people with really horrible allergies. Like sun or water allergy. That sucks."

- Schnuselwusel

"I'm allergic to the cold. it sucks living in Ohio where there's winter. The worst is not being able to swim or eat/drink cold foods. My joints swelling and not being able to breathe outside in the winter is also pretty bad. Sometimes I don't even believe that it's possible. Like how does this happen? How do you just… have an allergy to the cold."

- msbeesechurger

"I had a classmate with a sun allergy. he always had to wear long sleeves on sunny days and regularly wore hats. he did all 4 years of high school marching band though, just would wear bandanas, loose-fitting long sleeves, and sunglasses. F*cking intense."

- hepsy-b

Forgetting those around you.

"In terms of mental health, Alzheimer's. I do not want to look at my children in the face if and when I get old and not recognize them."

- withOneStar

"My grandmother lived for 20 years after diagnosis. She basically had people making her eat and drink. But she went 20 years not knowing my father and 10 years not knowing my grandfather. It was terrible. My grandfather gave up near the end and I believe he let himself die. She lived another few years basically just in her head. I never want to go that way."

- Coconut-bird

The inside trying to come out.

"Physical: Vaginal Prolapse. Because.. falling vajayjay."

- withOneStar

"Can confirm. I've already gone through a hysterectomy for it and just found out all the other innards in that area want to be outards too."

- mailboxheaded

"I've seen a bladder falling out of an elderly woman's vagina. Trust me, you do not want ANY of that to be free."

"The crazy part is the patient would just push her bladder back in, like it was no big deal. My years in urology were... interesting."

- ParisaDelara

Not trusting your own mind.

"Schizophrenia. My partner is schizophrenic and I can't even imagine not being able to trust your own mind."

- thegreatone79

"It f*cking sucks, let me be the first one to say. And I think I don't even have a bad case and it still has ruined my life. You learn to distrust your own senses."

- Nurse_Neurotics

"As other people put, it really f*cking sucks. I've questioned my whole life, my whole existence and myself all because of voices, delusions and hallucinations. Lost friends. Dropped out of school. It's not fun."

- Dongleoid

Get the Shingles vaccine.

"Shingles. Pretty strong chance it'll happen one day as I had chicken pox as a child."

- stupidlyugly

"I had it a few months ago, a very mild case with no open sores. I felt like I had a horrible sunburn that was being removed with a belt sander. This lasted 3+ weeks."

"My wife came down with it last week. F*cking gross, open weeping sores on her face, right side only. In her nose and getting close to her eye. Toothaches as well. Antiviral drugs right away helped some. We went online and found that apple cider vinegar should help- it's done wonders for the open sores- dries them up quickly and stops the itch."

"Get the vaccine at 50. I wasn't aware of the vaccine. My Dr. said, 'Didn't you see the commercials on tv?' I haven't had tv service since 1998."

- RiffRaft23

Multiple sclerosis.

"MS. I developed optic neuritis last week. Blind spot in my left eye and pain when I move my eye. Unfortunately it's strongly associated with developing MS, especially when it occurs in women and is unilateral. I have an appointment for some MRIs next month, one of my eyes and another of my brain. Here's hoping no lesions."

- halfarascal

"Stay active and no matter what happens, don't let MS define you. The worst thing you can do is think you're doomed. I have two (extended) family members with MS. The one who didn't change a single thing in their life because if the MS has hardly any signs of it in almost almost 20 years now."

- theBarneyBus

"MS patient here. Gone almost 5 years without a flare up. My doctor once said that they are expecting a flare up no more than once every 20 year or so with these new meds."

- sjookvest

Detoxing is scary.

"Alcoholism."

"2 years sober."

- BirdGuy64

"When I checked in for rehab, they had me sign a waiver which I'm sure is probably standard procedure but it was disconcerting because it absolved the facility of any liability if you died while detoxing. Even though I knew that I was going to be okay, that was when it really hit me that this isn't a joke."

"Saw one dude climb on top of the sink thinking he was on top of a large pole, I think he was going through pretty strong DT's. I was fortunate that I had shakes and that was about it. I was one of the more minor cases."

"I'm 2.5 years sober now and I wouldn't want to go back for anything. It's a wild, scary ride that I'm glad I got off of."

- MiracleWeed

Passing stones.

"Kidney stones."

- leiibabee

"Can confirm: absolutely horrible experience."

- daninmontreal

Ticks to make you vegan.

"That tick bite that gives you a permanent allergy to red meat."

- AdvocateSaint

"I always joked with my friends that vegans developed the species in a lab for 'vegan biological warfare.'"

- halfarascal

Why is it so scary to go through illnesses such as the ones in this list? The pain can definitely be a factor. Or is it because we know we live in a world that is not meant for disabled people or for people with chronic illness?

Would your fears still be the same if we took care of those with disabilities or illness better than we do today?

Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.

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