Before judging me and my choices, walk a mile in my shoes…..then you are a mile away and I can’t hear you.
Too often it is comments and words and ‘well meaning’ advice that can really hurt. Instead of expecting other people to watch what they say, I am working on a list of ‘come backs’ I can say in my head or if particularly annoyed out loud.
The Mighty is an interesting website with a lot of different opinions and suggestions. This is the list of “helpful hints” that aren’t very helpful
1. “You don’t look sick.”
Inside I am thinking, “You don’t look stupid.” Out loud, “Many illnesses are not visible, like diabetes.”
2. “You’re too young to be that sick.”
Inside I am thinking, “Since when do you have to be old to be sick?” Out loud, “I so agree with you but I didn’t choose this illness.”
3. “I know how you feel.”
Inside I am thinking, “You have no idea.” Out loud, “Oh you have CPTSD too?”
4. “I wish I had your illness so I could lose weight, too.”
variation of I could lie around all day too. Inside I am thinking, “I wish this wasn’t happening to me.” Out loud, “Tough way to lose weight.”
5. “At least you don’t have…”
I could easily add to the list of things I don’t have, which I am very glad I don’t but what does having something worse have to do with my illness now?
6. “It’s all in your head.”
Duh my brain is in my head. My brain tumor is there too. Or of course it is in my head, that doesn’t make it less real.
7. “You just need to push through.”
Wow, why didn’t I think of that? Sarcasm dripping from every word. My more violent side would like to break their leg then tell them to ‘walk it off.’
8. “It’s nice that the government pays your bills for you.”
This to people on disability. I’m not but some people perceive this is ok to say. It isn’t.
9. “Have you tried…? This friend of a friend of mine did and cured themselves!“
Heavy sigh….In a good mood, I could list all the things I’ve tried. That list is fairly lengthy. However, on occasions someone comes up with something very useful. DH discovered that drinking coconut water helps my joints and lessens the pain. So now I tend to listen first, do my homework then write it off as their experience and not mine.
10. “I know someone with that condition and they’re fine, so it must not be that bad.”
Inside, “Whoopty do.” Outside “There are varying levels of this condition depends on where the other person is on the scale.”
11. “You shouldn’t focus so much on your pain.”
Wow…Inside “How about I slap your face, then tell you not to focus on your pain.” Outside, “I agree distractions can help but sometimes the pain is so intense it is hard to feel or do anything else.”
12. “You’re lucky you don’t have to work.”
I happen to work..but there were many years when I didn’t. Inside I wanted to hurt the other person, outside, “I wish I could.” I’m fortunate that my symptoms improved enough that I can now work.
13. “You let your pain define you.”
This can bring fairly graphic expletives to mind. However, my counselor did teach me how to stop defining myself by my problems. He pointed out that I am more than my CPTSD/PTSD.
14. “Just think positive.”
Inside, “I positively want to hurt you.” Outside “Thanks for your encouragement.,” with a rude name muttered under my breath.
15. “It must be nice to be able to take naps.”
Inside, “These are naps from hell that make me feel so much worse and steal my life.” Outside “Yes a nice nap is helpful but these naps aren’t nice.”
16. “You would feel better if you got out of bed and did something.”
This is a variation on the it is just mind over matter. I learned, “If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” The concept that getting out of bed is not an option boggles some people’s minds. Not worth trying to explain it to them.
17. “You’re such an inspiration.”
Inside “Go to …..” I don’t want to be any one’s inspiration. Besides it is too easy to knock someone off a pedestal.
18. “Feel better soon!”
Inside, “Are you on Crack?” This doesn’t go away, but you can. Please, just go away.
With years of invisible illness that I didn’t understand until I was in counseling, I heard all of these in one version or another. Now I am in my 60’s and I decided it is not my job to fix their stupid and I do not need to listen to their uninformed useless suggestions. I learned to define myself and someone else’s opinion is not my responsibility. On good days, I try to educate and teach others about invisible illnesses that make living a challenge.