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I'm Tired of Other People Thinking They're the Expert on My Body

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There are too many doctors in my family. Thankfully, I’m usually on the other side of the world so I don’t have to listen to their medical opinions on me all the time. However, when I live with them, is it ever soul crushing. I usually find trips to a doctor traumatic. But living with them is another experience.

The part that always gets to me is that the loudest voices are the doctors with no experience in my disorder and those with no medical knowledge.

The discussion always seems to start because of my use of painkillers. “You shouldn’t be using painkillers!” But I’m in pain.

“You’re too young to feel the pain you’re describing.” And children can get arthritis. Age doesn’t determine pain.

“Oh, it’s all just psychosomatic.” No, it’s not. I’ve been on medications for psychosomatic pain and they haven’t done a thing.

“It’s because you’re fat.” That is so wrong and frankly bigoted that I’m not even going to argue with you.

“You should be doing more! I won’t stand by and watch you waste your life!” I physically cannot do more. I’m not wasting my life, I’m respecting my body’s signals.

“You’re too wrapped up in your illness! It’s controlling your life!” That’s kinda what chronic illnesses do. They’re long-term illnesses that define your abilities and life. Of course I’m wrapped up in it. You’d be too if something affected everything you do.

“Well learn to manage it!” That’s what my painkillers are for.

“But you’re using too many painkillers for someone your age!” Repeat ad nauseum.

Literally. I’m nauseous from delaying taking my painkillers around you.

Inevitably, I get accused of being stubborn and silly for not listening to their “expertise.”

I’m tired of explaining how much painkillers have improved my life. I’m tired of having to reveal how much chronic pain has affected me to people who take my personal information for granted. I’m tired of telling people how much better I am — that I can walk farther than to and from the bathroom again is a huge achievement — only to tell them my life is unacceptable. I’m tired of being insulted for not bowing down to people who think they know my body and its issues better than me.

I’m not asking for anything outrageous here. I’m asking you to leave me and my pain-filled ass alone until I ask for your thoughts. I’m asking for you to respect my boundaries about my own health.

I wish family, doctors and not, would stop acting as the experts to my body. I’m my body’s expert.

Not you.

Not my doctor.

No one else knows what my body is doing but me. So let me share that when I want to. I don’t owe you my medical history nor should I have to justify my medical choices to you.

And please stop showing your fragile ego when I choose to ignore your terrible advice.

Getty Image by Capuski

Originally published: April 27, 2018
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