It’s pretty easy to dismiss someone else’s situation when you’re not in it. I’ve dealt with a lot of that in my life and it continues to this day. ironically, even my own family maintains this practice, despite the fact that they should know better. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves and something that should never be done, especially to ANYONE with a condition that others may consider “invisible.”
For most of my life, I’ve had people commenting about how “it could be worse” or knowing someone who has some chronic disease or disorder in an apparent but perhaps unintentional attempt to one-up the situation I may be dealing with in regards to my own health journey. Although in some instances, the person in question isn’t intentionally trying to be harmful and may simply be trying to make one feel better by illustrating that it could, in fact, be worse.
Unlike being part of a support group or social club aimed at discussing such things, trying to trade “war stories” about whose illness is worse or what the worst sickness you’ve witnessed won’t help the person you’re talking to. In fact, besides making them feel as though you’re belittling or dismissing their illness, it’s likely to simply make them feel like shit. Unfortunately, this is something that I deal with several times a month whenever I speak to a certain, beloved family.
Not looking to create hard feelings on the off chance the family member in question may read this or be told about, I’ll simply say that this person has been there, from the moment I was diagnosed withy Type-1 Diabetes and for the entirety of my life. One would be inclined to think that this would make them enlightened to the struggles and difficulties I’ve suffered in my life. Not so. And that’s unfortunate.
Illness and disease isn’t something meant to be compared. Each person’s journey is unique to them and it serves no purpose trying to explain how someone else’s journey may be rougher or more difficult. How exactly, does that help the person you’re speaking with? It doesn’t, and that’s the lesson. It doesn’t take away from whatever struggle or difficulties that person may be experience, even if someone else has it harder.
This concept applies to all things in life, whether it’s exercise, dieting, managing pain or disease… It’s all the same. We can never truly know what someone may be going through and if they take the effort to share it with you, it’s not an invitation to try and make it seem like nothing. Just offer an open ear, a touch of compassion and caring. You’re not there to try and fix the problem. Just be a good fried, a good family member and acknowledge the person’s situation. Food for thought…☯️