Super Sick: Making Peace with Chronic Illness

By: Allison Alexander

Superheroes aren’t sick. This has been Allison Alexander’s observation, anyway. They don’t lie in bed all day because they’re in too much pain to get up. They don’t face the real challenges of the chronically ill—challenges that include socially inappropriate topics like mental illness, sex, and diarrhea. The latter, of course, would be exponentially worse in a spandex suit.

Alexander, who has struggled with a chronic illness since she was a child, wants to see herself in her heroes and searches for examples of sick characters in pop culture. She weaves her own painful experiences with stories from other chronic sufferers in a narrative that explores the challenges of living with a never-ending illness. She engages with how society values healthiness, how doctors don’t always have answers, and how faith, friendship, and romance add pressure to already complicated situations.

Journey through sage stories as Alexander makes peace with her illness despite a culture that suggests she’s worthless unless she’s healed.

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Allison Alexander

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