I realized that one of the most stressful aspects of having mold illness or related illnesses has been not having the outer reality or the way people seem to see me match up with whom I think I am.

The problem isn't even so much that people tend to see me negatively.

It's that this filter has been introduced, the shadow of doubt that I might be making it up, might be crazy, might have psychological issues - that then makes it hard for people to see anything else about me.

the stress comes from seeing who I think I am: motivated, good at research, good at the complicated synergistic meta-learning process of pulling oneself out of chronic illness largely alone --

and then seeing that pretty much no one who is not part of the chronic illness communities sees me that way. 

I remember other times in the past, when outer reality finally matched up with inner reality, and how relieving it was. For instance, I'd observed that I learned quickly and studied strategically, and it was relieving to see that I'd gotten the highest grade on my first major test in a gifted program. 

Not because I felt proud of the grade - but because I could relax that I was seeing reality correctly.

Praise that didn't match up with my inner reality didn't make me happy. Sometimes I'd get rewarded or praised for things that hadn't been that hard or that were misunderstood to be more important than they were, and that actually stressed me and didn't make me happy.

Integration and having the outside match the inside feels good for me.

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I don't think I am crazy, malingering, or faking mold illness at all. Therefore it is really painful to encounter that concept frequently in the outside world. 

I'd like to believe that myself and my friends with mold illness are correct, but just as our families can doubt our sanity, we can doubt our own sanity. It's nerve-wracking to believe something that is not part of the general society (although it's getting there) that is just believed by a small, if sometimes unusual group. 

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Ways to counteract this:
  • Many mainstream, non-alienated people have had mold illness, including celebrities, radio show hosts, rich people, etc.
  • Plenty of people understand that mold can make people sick.

Maybe the issue is that I'm dating someone who frequently questions me and who proposes that I just decide to do things for emotional reasons or personal benefit. 

I guess I have to accept that if I'm in this relationship, I'm dealing with someone else's baggage. It's not really about the mold; I think it would be about anything. Maybe it's a good learning experience for both of us.

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