Friday, January 18, 2013
Take just a moment to read this short blog/article. Really consider the implications of what the author says.
I've been using the same imagery of linking the flu to what it feels like to have Gastroparesis, for nearly 2 years. It knocks people off their feet for a moment while the consider the implications. When you have the flu do you feel like doing normal activities? Do you want to take out the garbage, vacuum, cook or even smell food, go to work, play with your kids, or even stand upright? Usually that's a resounding NO. I've had a pretty bad case of Gastroparesis since July 2010, but I've had mild symptoms of it since I was an infant - over 31 YEARS of not being able to eat like everyone else around me. I was yelled at as a kid for not finishing food, for not eating fast enough, or because a single taste of some foods made me sick to my stomach. It has gotten worse over time, but the last few years the condition has become downright dangerous. Even so, I am still berated and harassed by a few people because I don't eat like others. Some people refuse to believe there is anything wrong with me because I 'look fit and healthy'... because having 11 medical conditions that are invisible illnesses isn't enough to make them see and believe how impossible it is for me to even stand some days. Yet many times I have gone out of my way and even risked my safety for someone else.
The words you choose to say might have one meaning in your mind, but mean something entirely different to someone else. Be careful of what you choose to say, and if you don't know what to say then be willing to admit it. It is better to admit ignorance than to pretend to understand. I am so sick of people saying I look perfectly healthy when every part of my body is screaming in pain, I can barely eat, and I know that most of my conditions are incurable, untreatable, or have failed to respond to treatments. I am not healthy and if they really looked in my eyes for a moment they might realize how much those words just hurt me, but instead I feign positivity and acceptance of their ignorance because I don't want them to feel hurt. I deal with hurt every day of my life, so I can take a little more, right?
Take note of what people say to you when you feel sick, depressed, hurt, or let down. What makes you feel better and what makes you feel worse? What do you want to say in response when you appreciate or hate what they said? If you have a friend with a medical condition, take a moment to really think before you speak. Sometimes just giving someone a hug and saying you're there for whatever they need means more than any other pseudo-supportive comment you can come up with. And please do not try to commiserate with them, because support doesn't mean one-upping someone, it means allowing them a chance to explain their pain. If they need to talk about what's bothering them, don't say how you've felt the same before because (this) happened to you. If they understand the same, when you need the support they'll sit back and listen to you.