Life is 10% what happens to us
90% how we react to it.
I’m pretty blessed. The people I’m surrounded by have made some insensitive comments; however, they are genuinely well meaning. In these cases, I just correct them and they usually and unnecessarily apologize.
Unfortunately, people close to me with invisible conditions have heard the following and they have heard them frequently. Even before I got sick, I knew these commenters had crossed the line and that many of them were being dismissive on purpose.
Being a health advocate and an individual who doesn’t get intimidated by other people’s inappropriate behavior, I usually responded on their behave. As you’ll see, my responses are a well blended combination of dry humor, sarcasm and stand-my-ground stubbornness. I’m a strong believer in standing tall in your own defense and since humor, sarcasm and stubbornness are just who I am, this is how I defend myself and those close to me.
Its very important for us to NOT get emotional when encountering a rude person:
- They may actually be well meaning and not realize how they are coming across.
- If they are being mean for whatever reason, we don’t need to give them power over our emotions. We can vent to someone we trust at a later time.
- Our health is already compromised. Chances are, it would be in our best interest to not get emotionally twisted up. Conserve energy!
#1 – I’m so glad to see you out and about. You must be feeling better ~ I’m glad to see me out and about, too. I wish I felt better, though.
#2 – You need to get out more ~ You are absolutely right. I’ll do that tomorrow.
#3 – That’s what they diagnose someone with if they don’t know what you have ~ And that is what someone ignorant of the topic says.
#4 – You should just pray harder ~ You should read the Bible; doesn’t mention “no physical pain with prayer.”
#5 – You’re too young to be sick/ handicapped ~ Don’t be ignorant. Few illnesses are restricted to age. NOTE: This has to be one of the most frustratingly ignorant comments regarding illness I have heard.
#6 – I don’t have the luxury of being sick ~ Being sick is one of my lesser valued luxurious, indeed.
#7 – You’re sick again? ~ Its a chronic thing; it didn’t stop.
#8 – I wish I could just sit around all day ~ No, no you wouldn’t.
#9 – There are easier ways to get attention ~ Like being unnecessarily rude?
#10 – I’d be sick all the time too if I saw as many doctors as you do ~ I don’t follow you. NOTE: I have asked but still to this day, I have not received an explanation to what this means.
#11 – I have this juice/ supplement/ food that works wonders… ~ I have sensitive lower bowels. I can go into detail if that’s your thing.
#12 – You should try working through the depression/ stress/ pain. That’s what I do ~ I’ve done that and it exacerbated my problems.
#13 – There are people out there who have it worse than you do ~ Don’t be dismissive of what I’m going through. I don’t need that kind of malarkey in my life.
#14 – Your illness is caused by stress/ depression/ anxiety ~ No, no its not.
#15 – You can’t be in that much pain ~ That is incredibly rude and don’t say that to me again.
#16 – You take too many medications ~ The medications I take are between me and my doctor and, quite frankly, its none of your business.
#17 – No pain, no gain! ~ That’s a load bull and a dangerous philosophy.
#18 – I know someone with that condition and they do just fine ~ If medical science has proven anything, its that every person is different so I’m not entirely certain how you knowing a person with a similar condition as me has anything to do with how I feel.
#19 – When are you going to get rid of that cane? ~ When you sit and spin on it. NOTE: Probably shouldn’t say this one… I did tell a person this when they were commenting at a friend of mine who has a spinal cord injury. SECOND NOTE: The commenter was actually being mean.
#20 – You look so well! ~ Thank you. I buy my make-up at the drugstore. NOTE: I have an injured male friend who responds this way as well. Dismiss them with humor!
I’ve noticed a strange phenomenon where some people seem to get jealous of other people getting attention; jealous even if the attention is for an undesirable condition.
I don’t understand why.
Good news, though, is that deliberately mean people are the minority. I know this because I have such great people in my life and only occasionally deal with the above comments.
With all that said, I’ll leave you with some of the absolute best advice I have ever received for responding to not-requested advice and commentary…
Simply nod and then continue doing it your way.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and remember that if someone is trying to drag you down, it means that you are above them.