Please Don’t Compare My Progressive Disease to a Hypothetical Accident
I have zero goal in my life to partake in a suffering hierarchy.
You will not find me comparing my multiple sclerosis (MS) to someone else’s cancer, birth defect disability, arthritis or common cold.
I would appreciate the same respect.
One of the most difficult factors I’ve encountered as I go through life in meeting new friends and changes in the family is the sharing of my MS. I never know how someone will react. Some are staggered. Others show fear. A few have asked to know more. A handful have left and never come back.
Of those who have opted to stick around, or hold a conversation with me, there has, on occasion, been a comment that sticks in my side like a jagged thorn.
“It’s not like any of us will know what is going to happen to us.”
Or worse yet.
“I mean, I could get hit by a bus tomorrow and be worse off than what you’ll ever be.”
Read: We are all going through the very same battle.
It is hardly enlightening to me, or making a connection to me, who is living each and every day with a progressive disease slowly taking away my life and freedom, by comparing it to the chance that you, a healthy individual, may or may not be one of a few to be crushed and injured or killed by a vending machine.
No, it is not the same life experience.
I do not want your pity.
I do not want to be told, “You win.”
But the comparison that no one knows what horror may befall them on a daily basis is not the same as someone who lives day in, and day out, battling forces inside their very own body. Their brain. Their spine.
By saying that is the same, that person minimizes a chronically ill person’s existence.
I know and understand that people want to connect. To make us feel less alone.
They do not mean to diminish one’s pain or life’s struggles. They want you to feel normal, and feel like we are going through the same things.
The simple fact is, though, that we are not.
And that is OK.
You don’t have to compare it to anything.
Just be there.
Photo by Becca Tarter on Unsplash