We all want our life to matter—to have a purpose. We all want to be valued. We all want to be seen and acknowledged. We all want to be believed. We all want our ideas to matter. We want to be listened to and heard. We all want to be respected. We all want reassurance that we matter, that we are okay and, most of all, that we are loved—unconditionally.
All of these are human desires. Everyone wants these things.
Some people are particularly good at getting these things. They are famous. They are artists—even the ones that don’t call themselves artists.
Even people who aren’t influential to thousands of other people want to be seen, acknowledged and unconditionally loved though. It’s part of being human.
People with mysterious, invisible, poorly-understood diseases often struggle with being seen and acknowledged. They are told that their disease isn’t real. They are told that they should feel fine. They are told that they are lazy or unwilling to help themselves. They are told that doctors know more about their body than they do. They are told that they are choosing to be sick. They are told that their illness is all in their head. They are told that if they only tried ___ (a new drug, diet, exercise, belief, etc.) they would be okay, and if they’re not okay after trying those things, they must not be trying hard enough.
It is mean, and cruel, to steal acknowledgement and validation from someone. It is particularly cruel to say horrible, hurtful, unacknowledging things to someone who is sick.
Who is anyone else, even a doctor, to say that your pain isn’t real? That your suffering isn’t warranted? That, because no one knows what to do to fix you, you aren’t worth fixing? That your problems and struggles are made-up choices, as opposed to “legitimate” physical health problems?
The person who is living in their body every day is more of an expert on their pain, suffering, and their disease, than ANYONE else, no matter how much schooling that person has had.
Doctors can offer insight, advice, diagnostic tools and diagnoses; they can fix many health problems, and if they’re really good a their job, they can heal people. But it really, really, really pisses me off when doctors make people who are sick and scared feel small and unworthy by not acknowledging their pain or illness.
It makes people feel small and unloved when they hear a trusted authority figure (or anyone else) says that their symptoms are imagined, or that their disease doesn’t exist.
Doctors aren’t the only people who fail to acknowledge the pain and suffering that is involved in mysterious, invisible illnesses. (Doctors are actually better, on average, about acknowledging pain and suffering than most people. It just happens to be more painful and damaging when they don’t acknowledge mysterious diseases because if they can’t even acknowledge the disease, then they can’t fix it, and if they can’t fix it, what is the sick person supposed to do??) There are a lot of people who seem to think that they’re experts on whether or not fibromyalgia, CFS/ME, fluoroquinolone toxicity, chemical sensitivities, mycotoxin/mold illness, vaccine injuries, chronic Lyme Disease, ADHD, benzodiazepine withdrawal, depression, anxiety, Morgellon’s, mitochondrial dysfunction, and other multi-symptom, mysterious, invisible, illnesses exist.
To anyone who would be so callous as to say to someone who is suffering that their disease doesn’t exist – Who are you to say, or even think, that? Who died and made you the expert on anyone else’s body? Who are you to say that you know ENOUGH about the intricacies of another person’s body to determine that YOU know what is going wrong with it?
It is ass-hole-ish and cruel dismiss people—to make them feel diminished and small. Don’t do that. It is the opposite of unconditional love. Acknowledge pain, suffering and mysterious illnesses. Acknowledge those who are going through enough crap without your judgement. It’s the right thing to do. Failing to do so makes you a jerk. Don’t be a jerk.