How To Handle Insensitive Remarks With Psoriatic Arthritis
Last updated: January 2020
I’m always talking about the insensitive remarks people make towards having a chronic illness. Whether it’s being told that we are too young to have such a disease, that we don’t look as sick as we claim to be, or that it’s all in our heads.
All of these comments hurt. Not too long ago, it hit me that my reaction is not always the same. So I decided to take a look at my different reactions and here is what I found.
Insensitive remarks can add to the pain of psoriatic arthritis
How I react also has a lot to do with where I am at both physically and mentally. Depending on my pain level, how long a flare is lasting, and my personal frustration level, I may shut down, agree, go into a rage, or engage in a respectful discussion.
If unable to control my physical pain, I may rip into the person I would normally brainstorm with and agree with the person who thinks I would be better off dead. My reaction to an insensitive comment like “That’s no way to live” varies depending upon who says it to me.
Room for improvement
If the person is like me and is always looking for ways to improve their lives, I may agree. In these instances, the conversations turn into productive think tanks where we brainstorm ways to improve my life and the life of others with the same or similar illnesses.
Change the subject
If the person is someone who constantly throws their own pity party over things they could do because they’d rather have someone or something else to blame, I change the subject.
I am not offended. I know that that is just how they are and trying to change them is a waste of precious energy.
Becoming defensive to the insensitive remarks
If the person is someone who supports assisted suicide, I become defensive. Before finding a pain management plan that actually addressed and improved my daily pain instead of masking it, I wanted to die.
I spent my days and nights in bed sobbing. I was ready to end it all and in that weakened state, I may have done just that had someone offered to assist me. Thankfully, I didn’t. Thankfully, I didn’t accept that I would never improve or that life couldn’t be enjoyed in the state that I was in. As I later found out, it could.
Shake off the insensitivity
When it comes to strangers or people who don’t really know me, my reaction depends on how much energy I have to spare or with my current mood.
I am not always ready or open to hearing suggestions on how to improve my life. Sometimes I just need to release some sorrow and anger. Other times I just need some time to myself. Time to think without insensitive comments filling my head with self-doubt and reasons to give up.
Do you react differently to the same comments when struggling physically and mentally?
Do you usually need to recover from a vacation?