Monday, April 27, 2015
It's Your Opinion, You Can Keep It
There is a great deal of confusion that seems to come with understanding what chronic pain and illness are like. It does not mean that I am in pain a few days a week,. It means that out of seven days, I may have 5 hours where nothing hurts me. Imagine that for a minute. The debilitating effect that it causes is unimaginable. When I hear people say things like "oh yeah I hurt too." I get it. I know that it is easier to minimize my pain than to acknowledge that I just may really live like I say I do.
Imagine a rape victim telling you how traumatized she is years after the rape. Do you look at her and say "oh yeah I've been traumatized too." No, you do not. The reason being, it doesn't make sense that your trauma and hers are the same. Just as it doesn't make sense that my pain and your pain are the same. I use a cane, wheelchair, scooter, and a walker sometimes. Do you? I have to be carried up and down stairs. Do you? I have been on a morphine drip, had chemo, take pain pills and muscle relaxers just to be able to sleep. Do you?
We may be able to relate to one another in some cases but that doesn't mean I'm faking or my situation isn't as serious as I say it is. We cannot compare our pain, our grief, our sadness to anyone else's. We can relate and we can be sympathetic.
This is the only real issue that brings me to tears when I think of how my illnesses compare to my friends and family's lives. I hear it all. "Oh girl it's just arthritis." Do you have any idea what Rheumatoid arthritis is? It is so insulting to make light of what someone else is dealing with every day of their life. There are so many ways to educate yourself on the things that are important to you. Shock me! Pay me a visit and lwt me know that you cared enough about my situation that you googled it. The truth is so under the table and whispered and stepped over that it is really bigger than the elephant in the room. It is the room.
If you minimize my pain by overshadowing it with yours, that doesn't make me feel better. It is almost patronizing. Some may be reading this and thinking it's harsh but I ask you to put yourself in my shoes just for a few hours. Imagine not being able to pick up my kids or move my legs or carry my purse or move my hands. Then people come to visit and they downplay everything that is wrong with me by talking about how similar their pain is. I do not ever doubt you are in pain. I just hate that you feel like ours is equal.
I shake my head at Facebook post that insinuate that everything I have is curable. Really?? So may doctors without degrees. Giving so many diagnosis via the internet. I get it that illnesses, especially incurable ones are scary. But if you would just show some compassion and say "I was reading an article about MS or I googled Scleroderma, it would mean so much. It says "I CARE ENOUGH TO WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DEALING WITH. It is possible. I have three friends that always send me links or messages regarding wellness and fighting my illnesses. They never say it's not that bad or compare it to someone else's pain. They want to help me feel better!
As soon as my mom was diagnosed with diabetes I was all over it, I checked out books, I googled, I asked questions. I wanted to understand her illness to make sure I am as helpful and supportive as possible. I never want her to feel like her condition was not important to me or that I assumed all diabetics were the same.
So what am I saying? If you love someone that is dealing with ANYTHING; illness, depression, pain and you are not there in that exact place with them have some compassion. Show true consideration. Don't act like it's no big deal because you really don't know how to act or what to say. That whole "yeah my cousins auntie's Uncle Roy had that in 78' and he died." That HELPS NO ONE.
I am sure I speak for many when I say we love support systems. We enjoy your visits. But we desire Your sincerity, your understanding, and your genuine concern. Your opinion is yours, feel free to keep it. Just hug us and say I hope you feel better.
Believe it or not, that all by its self shows you care,.