Isn’t it amazing some of the things that people will say to us regarding our illnesses? With strangers, you can understand why they would not be very sympathetic, but when it is friends, family members, and loved ones, you think you would get more empathy. It is very hard for people who do not suffer with these diseases to understand how we feel and we do need to vent sometimes. But we just want someone who will listen to us and not look at us like we have three eyeballs. I thought it would be a great way for me to vent by listing some of the things that have been said to me and what my response has been, or what I would like to say…
1. “Well, it could be worse. You could have cancer.”
Response: “Yes, it could be worse. But by saying that to me, you are downplaying how I truly feel and making light of my situation, and dismissing my feelings. After all, I have talked to people with cancer and many of their symptoms are the same as what I go through every day.”
2. “You just have to push yourself! Make yourself get up and go!”
Response: “Duh! Don’t you think I would if I could? Do you really think I just want to lay in this bed? I am telling you that today, I CANNOT do it!”
3. “You could be in my shoes and have MY problems, which are worse than yours.” (Don’t you HATE when people do this? Turn the subject around to be about their problems in hopes of making your illness seem insignificant?”)
Response: I am sorry that you are ill also, but unless you are in my shoes you cannot honestly say that your problems are worse and by saying that, you are completely being ignorant towards my feelings and not realizing that I am suffering from a very real, debilitating disease.>
4. “You would feel better if you would go to bed at night and sleep instead of staying up till the wee hours of the morning.”
Response: Do you think that I would purposely stay up till 3:00 or 4:00 a.m., sleep only a few hours, just to get up, feel miserable because I am sick and because I haven’t slept, then have to take care of a child all day? Yeah, sounds like my idea of a fun time! Insomnia is part of my illness and if it was always that easy to go to sleep, even with the aid of sleep medications, don’t you think I would be sleeping?”
5. “You don’t look sick.” (I haven’t had this happen to me too many times just because I do look awful much of the time. My husband says my eyes give me away, but on the few occassions I have looked good, I get this.)
Response: Well gee, I’m sorry! I will make sure my outside matches how bad I feel on the inside next time. Any suggestions?
6. “I am twice your age and can do twice as much as you! It’s your generation – all lazy.”
Response: I am sorry you feel that way. Me, lazy? Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you otherwise. Age doesn’t determine health status. Sorry that you havea such little knowledge about chronic illness – it must be the generation you are from.
7. “You just need to snap out of it and take anti-depressants or something! No one can be sick EVERY DAY!”
Response: Sorry, but being a hypochondriac is not on my top ten list of life aspirations. This just goes to show how unknowledged you are and how little you know.
8. Don’t you just love the stares you get from people when they see you riding around in the electric carts at Wal-Mart? They give you the once over don’t they?
I posted this topic on a message board to get some more irritating things that people say, and here were the answers:
9. You need to go outside more and have fun.
Response: Oh, no thank you, I prefer being bedbound and housebound for six years, wearing my nightgown and my soft neck collar and staying in my sickbed that is smaller than a jail cell. But thanks for the advice!!!
10. You just need to think positive. You ONLY feel bad because you think you do.
Response: I do believe that it is important to keep a positive attitude, even when suffering, because a person’s outlook can make a world of difference. However, a person can have an extremely positive outlook, be accepting of their illness and still be very sick. This statement can not be made generally to everyone and the fix is not that simple.
11. You’re on that message board AGAIN? You need to stop that! You are getting obsessed with your health!
Response: Of course I’m obsessed with it! I’m in constant pain and the message board is the only way I can have contact with people who understand me.
12. Just act like you’re not sick, go on with your day, do everything that a normal person would do – just fight it and ignore it.
Response: Would you tell someone who is bleeding profusely just to ignore it? PEOPLE JUST DON’T GET IT! We cannot just “go on like there is nothing wrong”. It is not that cut and dry. OUR BODIES WILL NOT ALLOW IT!
13. You just need to get out and date.
Response: I barely have the energy to get myself fixed up to go out, let alone dating.
This post was really a wake up call to me. You have made me aware of how insensitive these comments come across. I know I have been guilty of making the statement about getting more sleep. I meant it as helpful but I definitely see your point. Thank you for sharing your point of view.
Hi Serfronya, Thank you for commenting! Even though I am being rather sarcastic in my approach with this post, it truly does come from hurt. I know that a lot of people, such as yourself, do not intend to come off and hurt anyone’s feelings. That is why I wanted to educate more on this! Thanks again!
The river is wide..a fibromyalgia story says
I love this posting.. .I am gonna start my list as well.
It is amazing how irritating people can be, and these people could be our friends and family.
I have been told that maybe I “just have depression”. Well, depression never pops up until I have people saying such nonsense to me!