There are just so many helpful people out there in the world, all rushing to give their opinion on what chronic illnesses are or aren’t, and what they think will cure them. Opinions that are, more often than not, based on judgmental presumptions, half-baked facts and an irrelevant article they once read about an entirely unrelated medical condition. A condition that was (according to Bella magazine) miraculously cured by dancing naked in the moonlight whilst chewing on the roots of a cactus plant.
Granted, sometimes these opinions do come from a place of caring and concern, but that doesn’t mean they sound any less patronising, insulting or annoying. Accusatory is how they often come across. Like we’re somehow greatly exaggerating how we feel. Or perhaps all these ailments are really just in our heads. Or maybe there’s a glaringly obvious solution that we simply haven’t bothered to find out about for ourselves.
“You haven’t got the first bloody clue. Please remove your interfering beak from my business“. Is what you want to yell. But you don’t.
Who knows, perhaps it’s human nature that makes people always feel obliged to offer up an opinion or want to ‘fix’ things they don’t fully understand. A bit like a man, I suppose, who when presented with a problem, will always try to solve it, instead of just dishing out the sympathy that’s required!
Having read countless posts on countless Facebook forums, it would appear that the majority of these uninvited and insensitive opinion givers are often those found closest to home: the spouses, parents, siblings and friends of the chronically ill. People, in other words, who you’d expect to be offering empathy, sympathy and a whole lot of understanding.
I think the trouble here lies with so many of these conditions (Lupus, Sjogren’s, fibromyalgia, CFS, chronic fatigue, chronic pain etc) being an invisible illness – and one that often involves two very different faces. So unless the opinionated person in question has seen firsthand the fatigue or symptoms at their very worst, they can’t even begin to comprehend how life-changing and debilitating such a disease can be.
On the other hand, all these unsolicited opinions could just be down to that person being a thoughtless, self-involved, mentally draining, arrogant arsehole. And if that’s the case, telling them to sod off out of your life is probably the simplest solution of all.