This is a tough topic and can range from name calling and cruel comments to subtle competitive behavior, sarcasm and ‘mean girl’ pack mentality. It’s all difficult. It’s all unnecessary and it’s wrong. But it still happens.
Being a blogger means I put a LOT of myself and my opinions out there for the world to see. They are often a collection of my own experiences and beliefs but it is 100% me. It’s not easy to do. In fact, for an ex people pleaser and private person, it is incredibly hard. I am an introvert at heart but when I got sick I wanted to do something, anything, to give back to the world and share some realities with the rest of the world.
My INTENTION behind all that I did was to help others. It still is.
I am not looking for pity. I am not looking for celebrity. I am not looking for money. I am not looking for validation. I am not trying to exercise some passive aggressive desires. I am doing it to help and to give back.
I hope that some things I write helps others and makes them feel appreciated, understood and less alone. I hope some people will read it and learn something new about how their Autoimmune friend / loved one might be feeling or what they may go through everyday. Connecting is wonderful. Connecting is the goal.
I would be lying if I said I speak for everyone who has an autoimmune disease or diseases. We are all so different in our disease activity, personalities, progression and treatments. Not everyone agrees with what I write. That’s ok. I don’t need everyone to agree with me or share the same journey as me. It doesn’t make me want to make everyone happy. I won’t. I can’t. And I won’t start trying.
There are people who are in more pain than me or worse off than me. There are people in less pain than me and more better off than me. I have never cared or compared. Although there are many times I wish I had responded to medications as well as someone else or that I was higher functioning like others… But that’s life. It reminds me how different we are and how we have to accept the hand that we are dealt.
I guess at some point early in my blogging I had hoped that I could promote a sense of community and family amongst Autoimmunes, regardless of what disease/s we had but like all families, everyone doesn’t always get along and some are even better not interacting at all. However there is never a need for bullying or belittling others. Ever.
Its sadder still when other bloggers do it to us!!
There have been a few times that I have questioned whether I should continue. Whether I should walk away. Whether I should stop putting myself out there for judgement or unkind feedback. But so far I have found that my own confidence in who I am, what I am doing and what my intentions are has sustained me. And the rewards?! Well. The fact that I have connected with some truly beautiful, amazing, inspirational, funny, talented, inspirational and respectful people has been priceless!!!
The people I HAVE connected with, that have stood by me, that have kept me going, that have made me laugh and have held me close to their hearts far outweighs any sad, unkind, envious, cruel, sarcastic, competitive or rude action I have encountered. In fact they are meaningless compared to the bigger picture.
I hope that in my lifetime I will see Autoimmune diseases better understood, supported, appreciated, respected and even cured! I hope I can make a small contribution, no matter how humble, to achieving some of these things. If that means putting myself on the line. Putting my feelings out there and even encountering the odd bully or ‘mean spirited’ person from time to time, so be it. I delete them. I let them go on their merry way. And I forget them.
We are not all destined to be friends in life that’s ok. That’s normal. That’s healthy. My goals are bigger and stronger than some peoples remarks or actions. I won’t give them that power and I won’t change for them.
The saddest part is that many autoimmune sufferers are too weak, in too much pain and too burdened to find the emotional strength to put bullies and hurtful people in their proper place. Sometimes the ‘bully’ or person hurting us are people we trusted, loved, supported, are relatives or loved ones. That is some of the hardest blows of all. It is always hard to stand up to cruel words or actions. Harder when they are from people we cared for or loved. But this is one of life’s very important and meaningful lessons; self belief and self worth.
For anyone struggling with these issues I wish you all the strength I can spare. I hope you read this and know you are not alone. And most of all, I hope you remember that their actions and words say more about THEM than it does about YOU and your illness.
Not all lessons in life are fun or easy. But they are still important in getting us to be all we can be and putting us together with people who we meant to be with.