I’ve discussed all the reasons for awareness in chapter 2
and throughout the blog which leaves no scope for further doubt. But yes! There are people who still form baseless judgements.
Our job is not to give them a place in our brain or lives. Our mission is to give back to the community.
Let us continue being true to ourselves by working on the visions we have. For, we know fully why, it is necessitated.
Those who care don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.
Critical opinions does not mirror our intentions.
In this light, today I’d like to share with you a pertinent article compiled by a fellow warrior who goes under the title of: Autoimmunitygirl.com.
A link to Trish’s blog
Thank you very much for this important post Trish.
I commend the writing, applaud your frankness and echo your sentiments.
We live in an abliest society where these articles should be shared on a broader spectrum to change false perceptions.
It always saddens me regarding the number of people who assume that the chronically ill are always feeling sorry for themselves. They assume that we are constantly feeling self pity and self involved.
I don’t agree.
Speaking only for myself I can honestly say that I don’t carry around a load of self pity and it is only occasional moments where I feel like I have had a rough hand dealt to me… which is probably less than most other people feel who are perfectly healthy and able bodied!
There is always this assumption that if we even speak about my autoimmune diseases it will open the floodgates and I will burden people with details of my struggles.
The truth is I don’t.
The thought of having to illicit help or empathy from people deeply disturbs me. I have never asked someone to care or help me with my health struggles.
I believe that people either care or they don’t.
The choice is theirs.
I feel certain that most Autoimmunes want to live with dignity and respect, not pity or being looked down upon, so I don’t understand why many people seem to deem us as attention seeking or trying to elicit sympathy.
The other day on Facebook I saw pictures of people posting about their cars, their motorbikes, their holidays, their new clothes and their new looks and they were seen as healthy and normal behaviors.
People encouraged.and engaged with them. Furthermore, people offered compliments and best wishes to those who had posted and spoke of each persons achievements in a kind and loving way.
Coincidentally on that same day another friend posted a picture of themselves in hospital, due to their ongoing battles, and few people expressed any comments or mentioned how courageous they were.
There was no admiration and no recognition about what an achievement it was that [they] were coping with such ongoing challenges and struggles…
It made me incredibly saddened!
The contrast was deeply disappointing and brings to light the differences in how people with chronic health issues are seen and treated.
People with chronic illnesses are rarely made to feel proud of their achievements and their ability to keep going with their struggles compared to someone who might have lost weight, gone on a luxury holiday or got a promotion.
The amount of effort, dedication, courage, resilience, bravery and determination needed to keep going in the face of some of the most difficult and painful obstacles is breathtaking.
Yet if we dare mention or allude to these circumstances we are deemed as simply seeking attention or having a pity party.
I, personally, don’t think that is fair, I don’t think it’s necessary and I certainly don’t think it’s warranted.
Can you imagine how different and amazing it would be if, when we felt our most challenged, broken and struggling, we could be reminded of how remarkable we were for managing and coping with all that we do?
If we were commended for our achievements and dedication. If we were celebrated and supported just as much as everyone is.
Often it is only other sufferers that will show anything approaching respect or encouragement for those with chronic illness or Autoimmune diseases and I am truly astounded and saddened by this.
to all my fellow fighters out there put those pictures up! Show how amazing you are and all you cope with! Show the world that our actions are not a just a simple case of self pity it is self pride!
(And might I add, it is a great source of benefit to others whom you may not know!)
Point to note:
There is a subtle yet distinct difference in the emotional meaning between empathy & sympathy, although both share an origin;
Empathy shows the ability to experience the feelings of another person. Putting yourself in the persons shoes to understand his / hers situation & perspectives.
It goes beyond sympathy, which is used to express pity / sorrow for a person’s loss / difficulty.
Both words are used similarly and often interchangeably (incorrectly so) but differ.
Word of caution:
To express sympathy is necessary & beneficial. It allows a person to feel heard & their suffering recognized. But in a situation of long term illness, there are limits. Incessant sympathy can demoralize a chronically ill person if the phrases are repeated too often. It can render some more helpless and get them down.
When a sick person is over pitied, it dismantles their power of living beyond.
Please don’t overshame people into pity parties nor rush their healing either.
Don’t “shame, shame”, as if there’s no life to live anymore.
What is it that I’ve missed out on?
I’ve been bestowed different bounties in lieu of my pain. There’s no shame if I’m sitting at home and another girl my ages is touring the world.
We’re blessed differently for reasons.
“When you pity a sick person you disempower them”
– The amazing Claire Wineland
Support can be displayed in countless other forms that will equip them to structure a meaningful life wherein they can become content and satisfied.