Downsides to Sharing Health Challenges with the Wrong People
Whether you have psoriatic arthritis or another chronic illness, your health, how you treat your condition and your challenges are nobody’s business with the exception of you and your doctor. With that said, I fully understand the need to share and often encourage others to do so in order to help their friends and family better understand what it is like to live with a painful chronic illness. However, not everybody cares or has your best interest at heart and if given the opportunity they will make your life more miserable than it has to be. While sharing is a wonderful way to bring awareness to our illnesses it also has the possibility of bringing extra stress and trouble to our lives.
Beware of the bully
Bullies like to make themselves feel better by belittling others. This person will act like they care or are interested in your struggle, but what they are really doing is storing up ammunition. When a bully is feeling less than, they begin stepping on others to build themselves back up. The chronically ill become easy targets for of a couple of reasons. The first is we are TIRED. I don’t know about you, but when I am exhausted the last thing I am going to do is waste my energy defending my health with someone who doesn’t really care. Another reason is that we give them a lot of material to work with. I can list 25 reasons why my health has interfered with something in less than a minute. And guess what, the bully has a great memory and they will remind you of everything that is wrong in your life due to your health just so they can feel better about their own life.
The devil’s advocate
This person always replies to anyone’s opinion or statement with an opposing view, even when they agree with the other person! They haven’t joined the conversation to learn or find compassion; they just want to be heard. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about looking at every angle, but seriously not over every topic! Conversations with this person will go nowhere.
We all know someone who doesn’t believe our illnesses are as bad as we claim or if we really have them. This person is always on the lookout for a clue to prove themselves right. When they hear our stories they only hear the bad parts and block out the good. So when we have a good day, they are flabbergasted and accuse us of lying.
Although they use our information to make themselves feel better, the damage we sustain is dramatic. With each attack we are reminded of how tough our lives are. When focused on all that is wrong we stop looking for solutions or alternatives and start believing that we aren’t worthy of living. My life is by no means a walk in the park, but it is a lot better when I am not focused on the negative aspects.
So who can you talk to?
So who should you talk to? People you trust. Talk with people who really love and care for you, those who only want the best for your life, and folks who have a genuine interest. Only you can decide who to talk with and how much you are comfortable sharing, just be careful.
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