You know, rather than punch people in the face, as one of my previous posts suggested I want to do, I’ve decided to come up with a battle cry, and I think the title of this post is just about perfect.
It’s so annoying when I talk to people and they tell me I’m too young to be sick. I have lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, among other things. I’m 25 years old. Clearly I’m NOT too young for this.
Even a recent article in the Huffington Post backs up the fact that I am not too young for this. The article’s title says it all: “Preexisting Conditions Afflict Up To Half of Americans Under 65.”
Do people not think I am aware of my situation? I’m 25, but sometimes I feel (and possibly even behave) like I am 80 years old. I am aware that this is not the “normal” course of events that life should take. But it is my life.
I think people think they are being nice when they say this. I think in their heads it sounds like I’m so sorry this is happening to you. It shouldn’t be happening to you. You don’t deserve this. But to me, it sounds like I did something wrong. If I’m too young, but it’s still happening to me, then clearly I am the problem.
I don’t think these comments are made with malicious intent, but they are not made with much thought, either. Rather than saying nothing, people try to fill up empty space with comments that are equally empty. In this case, If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all, doesn’t really work. But what about If you can’t think of anything intelligent to say, don’t say anything at all? Leave the empty space empty. Don’t say something just to fill air. Because these types of comments are worthless and sometimes even border on hurtful and offensive.
Better to let illness remain the elephant in the room than to try to come up with a comment that shows you clearly don’t understand the situation.
This statement is supposed to be some kind of consolation, but it’s not. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. It doesn’t make me feel better about things; it makes me feel worse about them.
When people tell me I’m too young for this, I feel like saying: Wow, thanks for stating the obvious. And if this is true, THEN WHY THE HELL IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?
This goes along with other unsolicited advice and opinions that healthy people give, and are so adept at giving. Or they ask questions like, “Are you really sure you actually have lupus?” As opposed to what, ass wipe, chronic constipation and pelvic dyssenergia? Oh wait, I have that, too! You lose. I’m just too awesome for words.
But seriously, my GI doc told me that I’m too young to be having the problems with my gut that I am. Well that’s just great. Even doctors fall into this trap. Sometimes they say the most unhelpful things.
So much of a chronically ill person’s time is spent dealing with healthy people and the stupid shit that they say and do. I think many of us try to educate those around us about how best to treat a sick person. This usually means treating us like we are people, and not acting weird or saying inappropriate things. This isn’t rocket science, people, it’s common sense.
Yes, I’m too young for this. So what are you going to do about it?
No more Miss Nice Girl.