During the course of your dealing with a chronic and progressive illness, you may be surprised to discover that those who are close to you, as well as those whom you have less frequent interactions with, may likely change the way that they behave around you.
The following is some of the discoveries that you might observe:
- Some really good friends and family members will distance themselves from you. Some may even treat you as if you had a contagious plague – and will shun you. Some may whisper about you, or you might overhear comments from these people which indicate their beliefs that you are either: “faking it”, “seeking attention”, “wanting sympathy”, or “lazy and wanting others to do everything” for you. Rude stairs and comments can be very hurtful, especially from people that you expected better behavior out of.
- Some people may assume that they are experts on your condition, and may then “play doctor” by stating their personal beliefs and offer advice about: what you can or can’t do, what medications or vitamins that you should or shouldn’t take, and what you are or are not doing that is hindering you from behaving in a way that they think that you should be. Some may even tell you stories of someone that they knew who had your condition who was able to live a long life, while functioning well, or even cure their condition.
- There may be one or more individuals that you might have previously suspected would be treating you negatively, who may actually turn out to become closer to you, and may be more helpful than you would have ever suspected.
- Not all those who treat you more distantly or who back out of your life entirely, may not be necessarily engaging in this behavior for evil or malicious reasons, as some people simply do not know what to say or do – or emotionally know how to handle having someone in their life with such as serious condition. Your condition may be triggering some fears in others around their own issues with mortality and death.
- Nevertheless, instead of reading and becoming more educated about your condition, some of those who step out of your life are unwilling to be compassionate, and they hold tightly to their opinions and beliefs while showing their “true colors” the moment when they discover your condition (or at a time later when you start progressing in a degenerative way).
- There are those that will blame you for your condition – even if they don’t verbally do so, their behavior towards you will still show evidence that they are treating you as if you have done something “wrong”, or are “bad” or worthy of condemnation from them – as if they have a right to judge you.
Usually, anger and resentment do not help with your daily functioning, and may even be harmful to your emotional health. You don’t have to forget, but some forgiving of others’ ignorance or lack of compassion may be good for you, even if it does nothing to change others.
If you can find the energy and courage to do so, educate others when you have the opportunity, Keep in mind that some people will not change their opinions no matter what you say or do.
Gravitate towards those who do understand you and your condition. Realize that not everyone with the same condition has the same symptoms, nor responds to treatments or life the same exact way.
Continue to be good to yourself, you are still worth it!