Would you rather BE an illness or HAVE an illness?

I got into a discussion about this the other day with some people and wanted to get a general opinion. If you had (or if you do have) a permanent illness or ailment, would you rather people say that you HAD the ailment or that you WERE the ailment? For example:

I am bipolar vs. I have bipolar.


I’m an amputee vs. I am missing a leg.


I am mentally retarded vs. I have mental retardation.

I know for me it makes a difference on how I identify myself but I don’t know about others. How do you, or people you know, identify? Does it matter?

I thought you were going to let me infect other people, dammit.

I think it depends on the context, and I probably wouldn’t put too much weight into it, rather would choose the wording that, in the particular situation, was more mellifluous.

I’m diabetic. I have irritable bowel syndrome. I’ve got lung cancer. I’m a psychopath. I’ve got herpes. I’m allergic to hippies.

Depends on the condition.

I was hoping I could be a disease or something.

I don’t aspire to much. I’d like to be a condition.

I was flashing back to Batman Beyond myself.

I think it depends on popular usage. Most people would say “I’ve got a cold” rather than “I am cold-ridden”, or whatever the comparable phrase would be. Some things, as mentioned upthread, could go either way. The only thing I have experience with is saying “I’m [HIV] positive” rather than “I have HIV”, but I’ve heard that go either way as well.

None of those are technically illnesses, because they aren’t sick. Sorry for the nitpick.

I too was disappointed that you didn’t literally mean “be an illness”.

I don’t care which way you say it, it’s all the same to me.

I say Im deaf. I refused to say I have a hearing loss or Im hearing impaired (beside Hearing impaired is too generalized. it more suited for techical stuffs like closed caption for the hearing impaired although some deaf rather if it was D/HH). I never had natural hearing (born profound deaf both ear) so I only know what sounds sound like from hearing devices. I only have electronic hearing. so to me, I am not an Impaired version of hearing when I never been hearing.

I have to prove I am capable . I have to show that I am my own person who happens to be deaf. people are very judgmental other people of what can and cant do when I am healthy and have a functional and healthy body and mind thats itching to put it in a good use.
Being deaf is who I am and I am proud of it.I am equal and my hearing status should not matter. I make decision of whats best for me. I will deal with it. people have asked f I have my aids on, turn up my volume (several people had tried to turn my device on for me…hello, I am adult, Ill do that!) or ask how my aids are doing (sooo awkward) and such.

so be careful!

For me it really depends on who is saying it and why. I have a distinct lack of height, also known as dwarfism, a really rare type. There’s no divorcing the dwarfism from me; it’s a large part of what made me me, for good or bad. But I also don’t like basically any of the terms applied to folks like me, including dwarf. In my own head, it just sounds awkward somehow.

But please for the love of God don’t be a well-meaning person who has never met anybody like me but thinks you know what I want to be called and refer to me as a “person with dwarfism.” As I’ve said elsewhere here, I don’t need your assurance that I am indeed a person. I know that. But I know other people who simply adore that terminology. I don’t get it. To each their own, I guess.

And it’s not an illness, it just is part of me. For a healthy kid I spent an awful lot of time in doctor’s offices and hospitals!

I want to be an STD because it combines my favorite things. Bohemian lifestyles, loose morals and bawdry sex.

I think a mental illness, I’d rather someone say ‘I have xyz’ instead of ‘I am’, for non mental illnesses I don’t think I’d care if they say ‘I am’ or ‘I have’.

Definitely “have.” I have several disorders, but they’re not who I am.

As someone who’s suffered mental illness in the past, I’ve always preferred the opposite - I am depressed feels better, to me, than I suffer from depression. I guess it’s the identification of mental state with self. Whereas if I have a cold, or a broken leg, it’s far more divorced from my sense of identity.

The Duke of Edinburgh got you covered.

I’d rather have diarrhea than be diarrhea*.

*though it might guarantee me a seat on the bus.

You can’t have bipolar. You have bipolar disorder. Therefore many people choose the less wordy version.

I have OCD. I cannot be OCD, but would have to be an OCD patient/sufferer. So, even before I knew it was therapeutically beneficial, I said I have OCD.