Dear Spoonies: Chronic Illness Should Not Be a Competition of 'Who Has It Worse'
I’m probably going to step on some toes here, but this needs to be said.
Being constantly sick is hard enough, but what’s even harder is having to deal with people who don’t believe you’re sick. People who need some kind of proof to believe us when we say we always feel terrible and won’t just get better. But what might be even harder than people’s ignorance is when people who do understand belittle your struggling. When it becomes a competition of who has it worse.
Why do we do this? Does putting your sickness over someone else’s somehow verify that you are indeed sick? Does it give you some feeling of power? I understand wanting to have control over your life when everything is uncertain, but making yourself feel better by trying to make others feel like phonies is not OK. We need to lift each other up, not tear each other down. There are plenty of people who will do that, sometimes without even realizing. If you understand the pain someone goes through every day, why would you want to add to it, even if, for some reason, it makes you feel better?
I’ve been attacked online because I “don’t have it that bad.” Attacked by other chronically ill people. At the time, I was completely bed/couch-bound. You don’t know what others face every single day. And all too often, snide remarks like the ones I’ve gotten are the tipping point with depression. Especially when the depression is caused by this constant pain and heartache. Please, be a light in the darkness that shrouds this life instead of adding to the struggling.
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Thinkstock photo via Purestock.