Monday, 25 March 2013

Pain in the Gut

It often appears to me that a lot of people are under the impression that there is some sort of unspoken and ongoing competition taking place when it comes to having an illness.
This becomes more apparent when hearing someone talk about their own health gripes with others of a similar... persuasion. Take the conversation I heard earlier today:

Person 1: "I'm not feeling well today"
Person 2: "Oh dear. We've all got upset stomachs at the minute it
Person 3: "Well I've been ill for over a week now.."
Person 1: "Of course I've got my diabetes to worry about on top of
everything else.."

Now you may think there's nothing awry here but let's look at that conversation in a little more detail..
For a start these 3 women are all adults. They all have children and full time jobs and the normal worries we all have, like paying the bills and their futures and what's been happening in Home and Away.
So why are they partaking in a three way duel about who takes the Queen of Ill-Health crown?
The way I see it is that pain and suffering are individual. No one person has the right to lord it above anyone else, or worse, to make them feel small or that the way they feel isn't of any consequence compared to others.

Again this all comes down to the way people perceive things and the company these things are said in. To someone sitting in a comfortable home to say they are "starving" may seem churlish (to say the least) to someone living in poverty. So it can be a similar situation when say, a terminal cancer patient, is made to feel they are equally as hard done by as someone who has the sniffles.

For me I often choose not to mention the illness I have as this is exactly the kind of situation I want to avoid. I am well aware there are much more severe and life threatening conditions than Crohn's but that doesn't make my symptoms feel any different or less horrendous when I am at my worst. I don't want someone complaining of an upset stomach to feel I am trying to trump them in the illness stakes by saying something as childish as "well I have an INCURABLE stomach ache". Of course it stands to reason that even in general to-and-fro conversation people will opt to take things badly regardless of the intention behind it, as is there want. That's out with our control and an unfortunate part of
As sufferers we just have to bear in mind not to get involved in these types of conversational-competitions and use these potential discussions to show how empathetic we can be DESPITE what we have to go through ourselves. I don't want to become argumentative and bitter and have to carry that with me for the rest of my days.
My guts are heavy enough as it is.

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