Pain is Relative
My friends and those who may still need to get the point, pain is relative. What hurts one person may not hurt another and vice versa. BUT they are still in pain and that should be respected; not this “I suffer with [insert condition] and I’m 90, man up,” or “oh, it can’t hurt that much,” or “when I was your age, I broke my ankle while hayin’ and I still finished, stop being lazy,” etc, etc, etc. That also goes for mental illnesses.
Why shame us? What’s the point?
I understand that the older generations may have been raised with a “toughen up” attitude, but that no longer flies; these are real people with real conditions who need help or an understanding of their limits.
I was mortified to learn that my family thought I was just lying and being lazy when I backed off of doing all these various things because I couldn’t identify what was wrong with me, and what and why I was feeling what I did. Still, even with a way to explain it, some still think I’m just lazy and/or lying.
The impact of not being believed or being brushed off by people close to you hurts on a level I can’t explain, and I’m sorry to anyone else who has gone through this; you deserve better.
To those suffering: I see you; I support you; I love you.
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What we need from you
[This is subject to change/be edited.]
Your vague understanding; your I-can’t-empathize-with-your-condition-but-I-respect-your-needs/accommodations; your this-is-different-than-how-I-was-raised/told growing up-but-I-accept-and-love-you-as-you-are; your that-need/accomodation-doesn’t-align-with-my-unprofessional-knowledge-but-I’ll-respect-it
Have some pain-wise decorum. If someone is in a lot of pain and wants that fact acknowledged, fine, go ahead, that’s ok. But what’s not okay is for that person to continuously complain about their pain when they are knowingly around others who are also in a lot of pain, and continue to whine. Especially, if they’re asking those others to do a number of things for them.
We get it, Shannon, arthritis sucks and it’s a horrible thing to have to deal with, but please, please, just shut up already.
Don’t get irritated with us. Not doing something we said “we’re working on” does not translate to us being lazy. We’re trying. We really are. We just can’t. And I promise you that it irritates us a hell of a lot more than you. And we’re beating ourselves up over it.
“Everyone’s a little ___.” NO. People get nervous and fidget and have pain. That’s normal. That’s not disordered or a chronic illness. Again, stubbed toe to shattered leg. Ex: “everyone’s a little OCD.”
If you say something that to you is unimportant or no big deal but someone comes and says that it bothered or triggered them in some way, don’t try to defend it by saying that ‘’well, it doesn’t mean anything.” We get it. We understand that you didn’t mean it that way. However, that does not mean you can disrespect us by continuing to say the thing or saying how we shouldn’t feel whatever way to it. Just, stop it. Don’t disregard our reaction to it.
Don’t tell us what we can and can’t do, or should and shouldn’t do based upon your lack of understanding of a condition. Ex: “oh, don’t park there, you can walk!” Or, “if you were really autistic, you’d fidget more.”
Do not debate someone’s diagnoses with them. If you’re trynna flex whatever knowledge you have, do it somewhere else where it doesn’t involve belittling someone’s very real health condition.
If you do have experience in whatever field the condition pertains to and think something may be amiss, speak to them; tell them you’re concerned and it doesn’t match what you know and encourage them to get a second opinion kindly.
“You don’t look it.” —> No.
“Oh, you have this problem? [insert issue] Well, welcome to the real world.”
Shut.... UP KEN! How bloody self righteous and elevated does a person have to be to completely dismiss another’s experience and insert their own which they know the other person both hasn’t experienced or is able to have gone through just to feel better about themselves? If anything, that person is the immature one in this situation. Grow up. Respect other people’s experiences. There’s no special brownie points for you having gone through a foreclosure, and the other person having crippling anxiety to the point that they broke down even hearing about a lease.
Don’t shame people for doing things. Ex: “oh, look who finally came out of her den,” or “look who finally decided to join us for dinner,” or “look whose awake.” Don’t shame them for doing positive things; it shuts them down for doing either.
“Just don’t be ___.” —> No.
“Just relax.” —> No.
Do not raise “what if’s” with people who are anxious to begin with.
You’re not owed an explanation. For example, you’re out with someone and they do something strange; something you wouldn’t consider “normal.” Maybe it makes you uncomfortable. Maybe it just confuses you. That’s ok! You can ask them POLITELY about it. Maybe the person is comfortable and willing to explain to you. Maybe they’re not. Both is ok! If they’re willing to explain, be kind and don’t make a face. It’s probably a tick or a stim of some kind that they HAVE NO CONTROL OF. If they’re not, that’s ok! Don’t press them or alienate them for their tick or stim, they probably have no control over it. Later on, you could even educate yourself! And if you meet up with that person again and they do that same thing, they’re probably going to be more self conscious of it than usual, and if you say “hey, I know that’s what you do, I did some research myself and educated myself, and I understand that while I don’t necessarily know your diagnosis —or claim to diagnose you—I know that’s not something you can control and that’s ok.” It would make a world of difference to them.
It is not a compliment when others like us are insulted. Ex “Your stims aren’t as distracting/annoying/obnoxious as Jonathon’s, I’d never go anywhere with them!”
If someone is taking the time to inform you about something especially able-istic behavior or behavior they, for whatever reason, can’t tolerate or that triggers them, don’t see it as a personal attack! That not only puts the focus of the issue on you and paints you as a victim but also undermines the issue and communicates to the person that you’re set in your ways and there’s no use in trying to talk to you about anything whatsoever.
Ex: “it really upsets me when you keep saying that phrase.”
“I never said that! Don’t you know I love you?! Come on now, you’re smart.”
“No one will love you until you love yourself.” —> No!
Explanation =/= excuse. Stop it.
Don’t food shame anyone! Maybe that pasta is the only thing they eat all day. Maybe they’re having severe cravings that won’t go away (which can be contributed to a number of things).
Depression =/= weak or weak minded. It’s a literal illness.
“All women go through that/ that’s just part of being a woman [or afab/female type body].” No. That’s not only belittling and dismissing their issues but also sending them the message that they’re wrong which is not ok—especially if you’re a healthcare worker.
NONE of these conditions mean lesser intelligence.
My friends, if you have anything to add, don’t hesitate to message me as always!
To those suffering: I see you; I support you; I love you.
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