Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Taking the Personal Non-Personally
I think we've all had encounters with others that really peeved us off and even hurt our feelings, even though that likely wasn't the other person's intention. We take what seem like everyday normal comments personally, because for us they aren't everyday normal things.
For example, I work in the medical field with very ill patients who don't realize I have my own health issues that can be life threatening. So on a regular basis I hear about how I don't understand what it's like to be chronically ill and the difficulties in life a life threatening chronic illness brings. But only I do, I just look healthy.
Another common encounter is when I have to take time off work or leave work early because I'm sick. Others make comments about how nice it must be to leave early or take a day off, even asking if I'm just saying I'm sick in order to leave. Again, I look healthy and they're probably just trying to be funny.
But it's not always funny. Sometimes I just want to scream "You have no idea just how ill I am, how much I struggle." But I don't, usually I just shrug it off but sometimes it's really hard to make that shrug. Sometimes it's painful. And after I've vented to a trusted friend about how others shouldn't make assumptions about others, I feel better. And I remember that others don't always know nor are they usually meaning to offend. They may even be going through their own struggles I'm not aware of so I shouldn't make assumptions others.
Perhaps it's asking too much of society to place more thought into what they say because they don't know what others struggle with. It's certainly frustrating listening to others make non-personal, personal comments with no clue that they're talking about us. We have a choice at that moment. I choose to pick my battles, not everyone needs to know my health details and other battles are more deserving of my energy and focus.
Try to shrug off the little ones, let's focus on the big battles that can be life changing. Lean on trusted friends for support when we need a shoulder and perhaps even band together for change.
This is my life with Familial Adenomatous Polyposis and Short Bowel Syndrome. I was diagnosed with FAP as a child, underwent total colectomy at age 9. After complications and 6 more surgeries. I had an ileostomy for 6 years and am currently living with a straight pull-thru.