Do you get irritated when healthy people always seem to have some suggestion (or assumption) about what you should try for your health?
Okay, maybe on a bad day I want to bitch slap people when they give me advice. But only because I have heard it before. Or done it before. Only because I have this health condition and have had it for many years. There is literally nothing someone completely healthy could say that would shock and awe me. Or at least not so far. Usually quite repetitive. The exception being my mom because she loves me and knows me… so, therefore, has a vested interest in my wellbeing and the intelligence to know a little something as well. And of course, the other exception is basically anyone with any other chronic illness because while looking to their own health they have come across things and knowledge is power.
However, I always keep two things in mind:
- Most people who know me generally, casually or in passing don’t really know what to say at times when confronted with this chronic pain issue. So they fill the air with ‘something they heard’ or ‘or have you tried this alternative treatment’ either to just say something, out of curiosity or empathy. And none of that is wrong. And I would do the same sort of thing if confronted with a condition they had that I was unfamiliar with because I empathized with them and wanted to know if something worked for them or their experience with something. Maybe they don’t get the whole experience or all the things I have tried or do… but so what? We cannot truly comprehend experiences outside of our realm of understanding. Do we have to to want to empathize? No. Do we have to have everyone empathize or grasp our existence? Of course not. Nor do I have to give that much detail of my health to everyone. Nor do I even have to talk about it to anyone. There are levels of revealing and concealing with an invisible disability.
- Some people make suggestions because they want to imply in some way it is your personal failing you are not getting ‘better’. That in fact in some ways you should feel guilty you are ill. And not trying hard enough. That your illness is in some way your fault, to begin with; some flaw with your lifestyle you must resolve with pure willpower to cure yourself. And it is unavoidable you will come across some form of stigma because some people are uncomfortable with chronic illness. They do not like to believe nothing can be done about it. Makes them feel all fragile like to see it. Or it annoys them they cannot make you function like a proper person. This is rarer, I find. Or at the very least easier to avoid such people when you come across them. Unless you find them in the medical field, family or work. That is more problematic.
Either way, I respond to most people the same way I find. It is in my nature to accumulate facts like treasure. And so that is what I use. If someone asks me something I respond in a blunt often factual way. But not emotional because I am not a real emotional sort of person. But I like to use research and studies for my points. Still, I doubt people asked to really want to hear the answer. I think they just asked to ask. But I always believe when someone asks they want to know so I always answer honestly. There is no reason not to be polite and informative I think with either 1 or 2. 2 will not listen or care about anything you say, but being calm, rational and informative is the best action you can take with them really.