My Judgment-free Zone

My Judgment-free Zone

Judgment is a social ill that many people with chronic illness must endure. People have said, “You’re not the same person,” “Snap out of it,” and of course, “You don’t look sick.” Most recently, referring to my irritability and need to regroup, someone asked where the old me had gone.

When living with chronic illness, judgment can be arduous. When those in your inner circle — the people who know what you’re going through — are the culprits, it is heartbreaking. This week’s column is to reiterate that judgment in any form is unacceptable. A book cannot be judged by its cover.

I once said that people will drag you through their fire and disappear in your storm. This is a sad, sobering truth. I cannot count the times I have been the listening ear, the voice of reason, and the shoulder to cry on, only to be met with criticism and ridicule. To pretend as if I am immune to such treatment would be specious. But my valley experiences are teaching me about humanity.

A proclaimed empath, I feel everything. This is a blessing and a curse. The blessing is the ability to relate, to help others, and to show compassion. The curse is that my vulnerability leaves me open to ingenuous and insensitive people. My kindness is taken for granted. Candor is never for applause or accolades. It is to expose the naked truth behind adversity and illness.

Lessons never come easy. People don’t get it until they get it. When met with insensitive comments, I make an effort to let them pass through one ear and out the other. I tell myself that there are too many important things to focus on that demand my attention and energy. I remember that opinions don’t define me.

Thriving with chronic illness requires that we wear many hats. Great are the demands. If I must retreat for my sustenance and peace of mind, I have the right to do so. If I am in a difficult space mentally, I have the right to stay there as long as it takes to heal. If the concern is genuinely about my well-being, please pray for my strength and reserve judgment in my time of fragility. Remember that life is unpredictable. Ask yourself if you would be satisfied with the judgment you hold against others.

If you know someone who is struggling, offer a hand to hold or an ear to listen. If you cannot do that, please remain silent. Unknown battles are fought daily. You don’t know what you don’t know. Read the book without omitting chapters.

To anyone thriving and surviving chronic illness, liberate yourself from the judgment of others. The critics have no idea what you’re going through. You are tenacious and resilient even when you doubt yourself. Continue to honor your boundaries, do what is best for you and retreat when you must. Your peace is what matters most.

“Will you take the time to look
And read each chapter in my book?
See the hills and valleys I travel each day
Stand beside me until I find my way.”
— “Teresa’s Song” by Teresa Wright-Johnson

You are invited to follow my website at www.teresawrightjohnson.com.

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Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Teresa I. Wright-Johnson is a married Multiple Sclerosis Warrior and Congenital Heart Disease Survivor. She was born with a heart murmur and an Aortic Valve Defect. Teresa has endured multiple open heart surgeries and cardiac procedures. She was diagnosed with MS in November of 2014 and is under the care of an esteemed MS Specialist. Teresa knows there is a calling on her life and she fully embraces that. Teresa uses her illnesses as opportunities to further rely on her faith, walk in her truth, raise awareness and educate others. She believes that she is purposely on purpose. Teresa offers a solid background in Criminal Justice and Social Services. A graduate of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and a retired Sr. Parole Officer for the State of New Jersey, Teresa uses her life to empower and inspire others. She embodies community service, is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc and is active with several other organizations. Teresa aspires to be a light that shines in dark places. Teresa is an author, poet, inspirational speaker and a community activist. She enjoys writing, reading, listening to music and spending time with her family and friends. Teresa acknowledges the unwavering love of her wonderful parents throughout her life and her supportive and loving husband Marvin who is beside her through every trial and triumph.
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Teresa I. Wright-Johnson is a married Multiple Sclerosis Warrior and Congenital Heart Disease Survivor. She was born with a heart murmur and an Aortic Valve Defect. Teresa has endured multiple open heart surgeries and cardiac procedures. She was diagnosed with MS in November of 2014 and is under the care of an esteemed MS Specialist. Teresa knows there is a calling on her life and she fully embraces that. Teresa uses her illnesses as opportunities to further rely on her faith, walk in her truth, raise awareness and educate others. She believes that she is purposely on purpose. Teresa offers a solid background in Criminal Justice and Social Services. A graduate of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and a retired Sr. Parole Officer for the State of New Jersey, Teresa uses her life to empower and inspire others. She embodies community service, is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc and is active with several other organizations. Teresa aspires to be a light that shines in dark places. Teresa is an author, poet, inspirational speaker and a community activist. She enjoys writing, reading, listening to music and spending time with her family and friends. Teresa acknowledges the unwavering love of her wonderful parents throughout her life and her supportive and loving husband Marvin who is beside her through every trial and triumph.
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One comment

  1. Charles Sorrow says:

    Excellent article. I have been involved in Ememrgency Medical Services (EMS) for about 35 years. We listen to patients’ complaints all day long. We have a hard time extending that same courtesy to our peers. We in EMS tend to eat our own. We can be very judgmental of one another. My MS has gotten to the point that I no longer work in the field. I participate more in EMS Education. This is something I need to stress to EMT students.

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