This is something that I’ve wanted to put in words for a while now and never really known how but I saw a meme recently that perfectly sums it up for me. Or at least, it perfectly sums up the exact opposite… So, at the risk of sounding like a ranting mother scolding her children… here goes –
The meme that finally gave me the push to write this was a simple one and to be honest, I’ve seen a lot of similar posts around. Pinterest is full of them, facebook has a few, I’m sure there would be tonnes more on Instagram or Twitter if I used either of those platforms. It comprised of one sentence – “Oh, your headaches only last one day… amateur!”
Someone PLEEEEAAAASSSEEE tell me that they hate everything this stands for??? Surely I am not the only one?! Why are we so insistent on knocking each other down? Why can’t we use our experience to build empathy instead of using it to prove we are “tougher” than someone else? Maybe that person doesn’t have to fight a chronic illness every day of their life, that doesn’t mean they aren’t fighting pain right now. Calling them an amateur for having “less” pain or different pain makes it sound like we wish they did have a chronic illness. Do you seriously wish your pain upon someone else?
Having worse pain isn’t something to boast about. All it achieves is pushing people away, if we come across proud and boastful of our pain then yeah, it does sound like we are faking it and no that person we are boasting to is probably not going to want to check up on us regularly or ask how we’re going. In fact, they’re probably going to make every effort to avoid talking to us about anything vaguely illness related ever again. Boasting about having worse pain is effectively screaming from the rooftops that you need people to feel sorry for you, and then we have the cheek to go and say that we don’t want sympathy???
Chronic illness isn’t a competition. We have enough trouble fighting the health professionals without fighting each other as well. I know it’s hard, please don’t let it make you bitter!