There are times when I am in a considerable amount of pain. My fibro flare is in full force, and the fog is pounding in my head. Every movement causes pain! My back feels as if it is coming apart at the spine, disc by disc… I should not be held accountable for my words or actions! This would be a ‘pain pass’ or something, right? WRONG.
We do not get a ‘pain pass’ to treat others poorly. EVER. Yes, we are in pain, and it may be an absurd amount of pain! We do not get to snap at whoever is closest because we are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Brain fog does not cause verbal abuse. Nope, never proven. Having a flare of pain with fog is not a ‘pain pass’ for our own nasty behavior. Having a depression flare doesn’t grant a pass for rudeness either. We decide how we engage with those around us.
When is the last time you asked someone how they were doing with sincerity? This means not leading the conversation with “how are you?” just so you can answer with a laundry list of your problems.
I’m sorry you have a chronic disease. I’m sorry I have a chronic disease. But the world does not revolve around us! We must live in it.
I am not claiming innocence! I spent time figuring out where I was on this learning curve. I made up my mind to be present and aware of my interactions with others. This is a coping skill; learning to be prepared for those sick days. Saying ‘sorry’ when you need to because you messed up is acceptable, you own it. Eventually, when you are flaring, you engage with an upfront apology because you need to excuse yourself for some alone time to manage your flare.
You decide, when you interact with another person, what message you will send. You are representing a community. The chronically ill community. You can make the encounter pleasant or unbelievably uncomfortable.
Represent our community with grace.
From one who learned…