Sometimes those of us with chronic illness encounter people who do everything possible to project their negative energy onto us. I don’t necessarily believe that these individuals are conscious of what they are doing — it’s just who they are.
But for us, it can be disheartening, demoralizing, and incredibly frustrating. I’m sure you’ll recognize some of these characters.
Please note that all names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.
Have you spent time around one of these people?
Dramatic Donna - Yes, Donna, I know that paper cut you had back in 1985 hurt for 39 seconds. I know it was traumatic for you. The pain was awful. You had to medicate with Neosporin in order to avoid a life-threatening infection and your ultimate demise. Yes, your encounter with pain and suffering tops my total knee replacement surgery. You are such an
amazing annoying woman!
Argumentative Arthur – OK Arthur, I know you think I’m too young to have arthritis. You also think that I shouldn’t be taking certain medications. Yes, I know you’ve read that if I eat 2 pounds of cherries a day that I’ll be miraculously cured. I appreciate that you care enough to argue with me every chance you get, but I’ll stick with what my board certified rheumatologist recommends.
Jealous Jenny – Oh, so you’d like to be able to spend a week laid up in bed with a massive infection due to your immune system being shot? You’d enjoy all the “attention” and “sympathy” people who are chronically ill get? Really Jenny? Is your life so devoid of anything positive that you would actually wish for a lifelong chronic illness so people would dote on you (which, by the way, doesn’t end up being the case when an illness is chronic because friends inevitably drop out of your life like flies)?
Negative Ned – Ned, Ned, Ned. You have no optimism at all. I appreciate that you think I’ll never get any better, and even if I did, an asteroid will be plummeting into our planet and vaporizing all of us anyway. So why even hope for getting better when we are all doomed? You are about as much fun as a barrel of monkeys…with rabies.
Hypochondriac Helen – Wow, Helen, it is tragic that you had rotovirus once when your children were little and that you spent two days on the toilet. Yes, even though it’s 20 years later, I’m CERTAIN that you have ulcerative colitis. Because that makes perfect sense since you can have 2 days of chronic illness symptoms and then have none for 20 years after having had no treatment whatsoever. And yes, that hangnail will likely turn into a raging infection that will lead to amputation. You probably have ebola, amyloidosis, Bubonic Plague and a host of other diseases you are imagining symptoms of as well.
Side Effect Sid – Yes, Sid, I’m aware that the medications I take will cause me to turn green like the Incredible Hulk, place me at grave risk of spontaneously combusting, and then at some point I will morph into a werewolf. Thanks for reminding me that I’m ingesting death and destruction in capsule form. I’m so glad your job as an accountant has armed you with such vast medical knowledge!
No Compassion Nelly – Whoa Nelly. Do you even have a heart? I realize you feel that I should be out dancing every night and that 5 minutes after a surgical procedure, I should be running laps around the recovery room. And since pain is good for my character, I should forego those post surgical pain meds. I am just not tough enough for you, Nelly. You are the apex of physical awesomeness. In fact, I really do believe you are an android. Thanks for your encouragement and genuine desire to help me by having less compassion than a sociopath.
I’m sure there are plenty of other characters out there that you’ve encountered. These are some of
my favorites the ones I avoid as often as possible. If you’d like to share a story about your encounter with one of these folks, please leave a comment below!