Sometimes I wonder if I’m some sort of disability fraud, especially when I’m having a better day. Who am I to complain about my symptoms when other people are dealing with problems that don’t even compare to mine? I read blogs on here everyday written by people who have been dealt a far worse hand than me and who really do struggle. I have a friend in her twenties who suffers quite badly from rheumatoid arthritis. Sometimes I really identify with her pain and her situation, but then I wonder if she quietly thinks I’m belittling her symptoms because she’s been suffering much longer than me… I wouldn’t blame her and I think she’s a real inspiration. I have another remarkable friend who has an absolute nightmare of a time with her back and related nerve pain. I’m pretty sure her spine resembles a Toblerone bar that has been smashed to smithereens and then glued back together by a 4 year old child – except some asshole ate a few bits! I moan to her an awful lot and hope that she doesn’t think I’m a self-indulgent a-hole.
Then I have friends who have sprained their ankle and when I ask how they are they apologise for talking about their sore ankle because it’s nothing compared to me. What? Stop! My being ill doesn’t mean I no longer care that my friends are hurt and it certainly doesn’t mean that their sprained ankle isn’t disrupting their life. Do people really think that? If they do, it’s quite disheartening. I care very much about my friends and don’t want them to censor themselves because they deem my situation to be worse. If anything, I am in an ideal position to provide moral support to people with sore joints!
Then I think about my Gran’s sister (M) who I wrote a “letter” to in a previous blog post. She was almost literally playing disability top trumps between me and her daughter, except she didn’t have the facts. She was playing judgemental top trumps and I was never going to win. In this instance I was deeply offended that she had assumed I was a liar and an attention seeker and completely dismissed my pain. That’s a member of my family. No wonder I feel the need to constantly justify my pain and my physical struggle.
But there is this wonderful blog world. People suffer daily, more than most of their friends and family will ever understand (not that we expect them to) and still they find the time and goodness to support strangers on the internet. I don’t want anyone to suffer at the hands of incompetent, unsympathetic doctors – but I do feel better than I’m not alone in that battle. It kills me with laughter to read that other people are constantly asked if they are better yet despite having an incurable illness – we need to come up with more sarcastic answers, for sure! It also gives me hope that even though the diagnostic process is a frustrating, painful drag… That there are still good times ahead, maybe even just around the corner.
So thank you, fellow bloggers. You provide the sort of support that very few people can in my day to day life.
This is a link to my friend’s blog. The one with the smashed up Toblerone for a spine. You should check it out.
A Scottish Journey with Chronic Pain