I know not everyone will agree with this post, and I’m OK with that. But, I’d like to believe that some of what I have to say, will resonate with people who have actually experienced it. For those who have, I hope this gives you a voice…
My humble opinion
To answer my own question, I think it does. I think people put you in a box and discard of you based purely on what they perceive you to be. It might happen instantaneously or it may happen over time. If your “attitude” about your situation is “too negative” or, “you complain too much”, they tend to distance themselves. Your worth is defined without people truly getting to know you. If they see you struggling, they cast you aside and move on, not taking into consideration the fight you’re in. They are oblivious and feign ignorance because of it. You become part of the too hard basket and, sometimes, you may even be placed next to the “recycle or landfill bin”. Destined to become someone else’s problem as they wash their hands of you.
There would probably be a handful of people who wouldn’t do this OR it might be the other way around. They would support and comfort you, if and, when needed. Others would do the opposite and leave.
I’ve been unkind too…
I personally done this a few months back to myself. I uttered the words; “I’m good enough for the tip” based on the two operations I’d already had and the next one I was facing. (3 surgeries over 6 months – repeat ETV, Thyroid surgery and Spinal surgery).
I literally felt like my body is falling apart and letting me down. The response I got from the person I was talking to; “You would be surprised what treasure you could find at the tip. Don’t discard of yourself that easily…”
Her response gave me pause and I smiled, she was right. The value of what she had said was powerful.
My view of most people is, if you don’t add value to them in some way, they don’t have a need or use for you. This is regardless of what you have been through together, in the past. Whether it be a relationship that you’re in and your significant other grows tired of your complaints, or the weight of what you bring to the table, is simply crushing them. It may even be that you’re feeling like a burden to the child/children you brought into this world and raised, who no longer has time for you. Or, it may be that you used to be good at your job but your health challenges are making you dispensable (everyone’s replaceable, right?).
Insult to injury…
So often we say things without realising the full impact of our words…
A conversation with my dad, not too long ago, got me thinking about this even more. He made a comment about how he wouldn’t be surprised if all the surgeries I’ve had this year has caused concern for the management team where I work. He alluded to the fact that my health is probably a concern or a problem for them, as I’ve spent quite a fair amount of time off work, and in hospital this year. He said my condition isn’t easy and will always “count against me”, making it clear that he was speaking from a managers point of view, having been one in the past.
The “unfairness” of his words (I know they were not meant to hurt me), hit me hard. I have too much respect for him to respond with what I felt like screaming at the top of my lungs, in that moment. Some profanity would undoubtedly have passed my lips had it been anyone else. So, I literally bit my tongue instead. Part of me knows that what he said is true. It’s a fact. But, it’s not like I can change any of it.
The sad part (for me) is, he’s not the only one to have said this to me lately. It makes me wonder how many other people has this view. All I can tell you is, I wonder what they would feel like, if the shoe were on the other foot. Would these people in my life feel the same way if they were the ones diagnosed with an incurable condition? How would they cope with life, and how would they feel about me, if I uttered those words to them? The anger inside of me has me feeling like there wouldn’t be a drop of empathy, I could offer their thirsty souls, in their moment of anguish.
Am I wrong in feeling like it’s an unfair statement?
My message is clear…
People with incurable conditions, or more specifically ill-health, did not ask for it. Don’t make them feel guilty about something they did not do to themselves. More often than not, they’re just trying to survive this life as best they can. The effects of their condition does not afford them the luxury of a “safety net”, of any kind. Personally, I hate that we need money to survive in this world. To feel part of society or to make it from one day to the next. It’s the sad reality of life. It’s messed up!
Add to that the fact of ageing. The older we get, the more dependent we become on the grace of society, which can be so beautifully kind but also extremely cruel, at times.
For me, I don’t know where this road will lead. I don’t have a backup plan (so unlike me) and (admittedly), there’s a level of fear brewing inside of me about the future. I’m fully cognisant of the fact that this life I have today, could fall apart within an instant. That would break my heart. But, if I have to, I’ll remind myself of the conversation I had with a woman who told me; there are treasures to be found at the tip. Somewhere deep inside me, there’s still so much more to give however, it may require me to think outside the square, to change direction. Others may not appreciate that, understand or have the patience I require. That, undoubtedly, is their loss.
I have had to learn how to navigate life and be a survivor in more situations than I care to think of. I will continue to be my own best friend in this world because no one else will look after my best interest, like I will. So, if you’re like me and can relate to some of what I’ve said, I hope you don’t give up on yourself, even if the rest of the world does. If anything, we could sit together at the top of the landfill, and lean on each other!