Coping With a Chronic Illness

Notes From a Sickbed is a down-to-earth, witty graphic novel by Tessa Brunton. Tessa Brunton is a cartoonist whose past work has been voted Best American Comic 2014 and was nominated for an Ignatz award twice. Her most recent graphic novel is about her experiences with chronic illness, and how she coped with it. I think there are a lot of reasons to pick it up, but I’ll stick with a couple for now. Notes From a Sickbed is a worthwhile read because it breaks prejudices and raises awareness for chronic illnesses.

To start, Notes From a Sickbed breaks stereotypes about people with chronic illnesses. It is well believed that those who are bedridden are incredibly lazy and wallow in their misery. That could be far from the case, as they are people just like us. Being able to see what another person’s life is like just gives you a better sense of empathy and understanding. If you believed people with chronic illnesses or mental illnesses were lazy, reading this novel will help you realize that the things we take for granted, are privileges for others. That’s not to say it’s easy to live with chronic illness, but it’s inspiring to see Brunton make the most out of her situation. The way she manages to make joy out of a seemingly bleak room is something to learn from. Just because they live different lives doesn’t mean they have bad lives. After all, who doesn’t have bad days?

The author Tessa Brunton struggles with a disease called myalgic encephalomyelitis (chronic fatigue syndrome). It is a fairly uncommon disease, with 17 million globally being diagnosed. Since it is fairly rare, it only makes sense that the general population doesn’t know the details about certain chronic illnesses. To be honest, not many people want to learn about things that don’t affect them or their family members. People will, however, read graphic novels. Since it’s turned into something fun, they can have a good read while also learning and sympathizing with someone else’s struggles. 

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