Young, Sick, & Invisible by Ania Bula
Pitch-Stone Publishing | May 1, 2016
Drawing on her own deeply personal experiences, Ania Bula explores what it is like to live with unseen chronic disabilities. She paints a vibrant picture of what it is like to be diagnosed with two life-long debilitating conditions as a young adult and relates the challenges and frustrations of dealing with predatory alternative medicine practitioners, arrogant doctors, indifferent bureaucracies, and well-meaning friends and family who always seem to say either the wrong thing—or nothing at all. As she discovered, suddenly everyone’s aunt is a health expert and everyone’s fad diet a cure. Making matters worse, her physical torment quickly translated into mental stresses. Relationships became strained, while others, including all-important romantic ones, never had a chance to start at all. Wading through a constant stream of ignorance and lies, in a desperate attempt to find peace, to stop the pain, and to return to a more normal life, she submits to being stuffed with powders and magic potions, poked and prodded, and even “faith-healed.” With honesty and humor, she shares her journey of pain, suffering, and, ultimately, coping, both to help others gain some understanding about what it is like to live with chronic illness—and to help those who might similarly suffer feel less alone so that they too might start living again.
Let me start off by saying that the only reason I gave this book four stars instead of five was that there was a thing or two I didn’t agree with. Other than that, I absolutely loved this book. I loved this book for multiple reasons: I am also disabled/chronically ill therefore I related very much so with the author, the author talks about her illness openly, and the author explains a lot about being disabled, how society treats the disabled, and various other things that go along with being disabled or chronically ill.
When I first started reading this book and the author begins talks about how she found out she had arthritis and how she saw so many doctors before something was done about it, I was beginning to get angry, not at her, but the doctors. I had not realized that the author lived in Canada and they have socialized medicine, which at the time I didn’t know what that was. Even after realizing all that, I was still upset for her because I know what it’s like to be in pain and not know what’s causing it.
The author talks a lot about the things that go hand in hand with being disabled/chronically ill: low energy/stamina, depression, etc. When you’re disabled/chronically ill, the simplest tasks can completely drain you. Something as simple as taking a shower can take all the energy you have. Depression then occurs because you can start to feel useless and it becomes harder and harder to fight those feelings. There’s a cost/reward equation that disabled/chronically ill people have to follow whether they want to or not.
Bula talks about how society doesn’t always understand how they are treating the disabled just by the things they say and do. She talks about how helping the disabled/chronically ill isn’t always what’s best for them. She gives dos and don’ts about what to do, what to say, etc. with disabled people. She talks about
I related with a lot of the things she was explaining about her own chronic illness although I don’t have the things she has. That’s the main reason I like this book so much. That and the fact that she is honest and isn’t trying to sugar coat anything, also while not being rude about anything either. I recommend this book to every disabled/chronically ill person out there, but I also think it would benefit everyone else to read it as well.
Thank you Edelweiss and Pitch-Stone Publishing for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.