Sometimes I want someone to get as sick as me

I’ve always been a kind, generous, compassionate, empathetic person. I know that sounds like bragging, but it’s just the truth. I always want to help others and I never want anyone to feel sick or hurt in any way. A friend posted a picture on Facebook today of circus elephants and all I could think was, “Those poor elephants!” So you can imagine how hard it is for me to admit that sometimes I want others to get as sick as I am.

For a long time I’ve fought this. I’ve tried to tell myself that I didn’t really mean it when I thought this way. But that wasn’t true. The truth is, there are some people who I want to feel bad. I don’t feel this way about all people, of course, but it’s still there.

But when someone says that all people wanting prescription painkillers are just trying to abuse the system, I want them to feel horrible, chronic pain. I want them to be in pain every single day, horrible pain, can’t-think-properly pain, want-to-cut-my-arm-off pain. I want them to know it will be for the rest of their life. Then maybe after a few weeks, after they’ve had to deal with the physical, emotional, and social fallout, then maybe they can feel better.

When someone suggests that I should really be well enough to work, that a little exhaustion can’t be that bad, I want them to experience my exhaustion. I want them to miss friends’ weddings, fun outings, living life, having a job, feeling young, feeling independent. I want them to worry about ever dating, getting married, having children, having pets. Then after they’ve fully experienced the horribleness of it, then maybe they can get better.

When politicians say that the already underfunded Social Security Disability system should be cut back because of fraud, I want them to get so ill that they can’t work, apply for benefits, get denied, appeal, get denied again, and then question how they will pay rent, buy food, and live in general. After they’ve fretted and suffered for a while, then I suppose they can get better.

When someone says that we don’t need healthcare reform in this country I want them to get really sick and try to get care. I want them to see that even with health insurance, it can be very expensive. I want them to see that health insurance doesn’t cover it all. I want them to see how hard it can be to get health insurance and how easy it can be to lose it. I want them to spend dozens of hours fighting with insurance companies instead of using those hours to get well. Then they can get better.

When someone judges me, thinks that I’m not too sick to do the things they can do, thinks I shouldn’t be out of work or “acting” sick, I want them to get exactly what I have. I want them to feel the exhaustion, pain, and fear, all while “looking good.” I want them to be judged and to have to defend themselves constantly. I want them to break down crying because it’s all too much. Then I suppose they can get better.

You see, I don’t want these people to feel as sick as me forever. I’m actually not all that vindictive. But I want them to feel it for a while so that they understand. So that they have some compassion. I just want understanding and I really don’t think anyone can understand unless they’ve been through it.

I hate to admit all of this. Today was the first day I admitted my true feelings to myself. Maybe it makes me a horrible person, maybe not. But it’s how I feel and I won’t pretend otherwise anymore.

19 Responses to Sometimes I want someone to get as sick as me

  1. Karen J says:

    Good for you, both for admitting that to yourself, AND for writing about it here! {{{CR}}}
    We really can’t *control* what our emotional reactions are, and we do experience all of them, at one time or another.

  2. I wish these posts had an “empathize” button instead of just a “like” button. There’s no shortage of insensitive people in this world. From what I’ve read, you’re handling your situation as well as can be expected. No need to “defend” yourself to anyone if you know you’re doing your best.

    • chronicrants says:

      Thanks for the support, C’sM. I really appreciate it. It’s tough for all of us. If you empathize, please feel free to share it – maybe you’ll open someone else’s eyes.

  3. You’re not a horrible person at all. You’re a strong, brave and honest person for having the courage to actually say what you think. I am chronically ill too and have thought exactly the same as you. I just want people to understand our situation before they judge us and unless they stand in our shoes, with the best will in the world, it’s hard for them to get it. Be proud for saying what you think and know you’re not alone in thinking it.

    • chronicrants says:

      Thanks MyJourney. I’ve wondered a lot if other people feel this way. I’m a bit surprised at how many comments I’ve already gotten that they do! I’m glad I posted it, so we all know we’re not alone.

  4. Couldn’t have written this better myself a perfect article for the topic. I feel exactly the same way sometimes there’s no shame in it.

  5. Couldn’t have said any of this better myself! Well done, excellent article captures so much of how I feel.

  6. Reblogged this on Migraine Discussions and commented:
    Such a wonderful article- very complete, organized, and most importantly well written.

  7. Lorna says:

    Great article! I feel the same sometimes. However, after suffering for a bit I would want them to say to me. I’m sorry I didn’t know it was like that for you. Then I could be secretly smug that I told you I was telling the truth and stick my tongue out – so there! After that I will go back to being empathic and serene.
    Lorna x

  8. Tamara Epps says:

    Thank you for writing this post – it’s exactly how I feel a lot of the time. I don’t want them to suffer for the rest of their lives – just a month or two so they can see what it’s like. This doesn’t make us bad people, it simply means that we yearn to be understood and accepted which is what everyone wants.

  9. samanthatimms1 says:

    wow i’m blown away on this post of yours. Wow is all I can say to describe my reaction. Its so true everything you have said, I have felt that way too. It honestly felt as though I was reading something I had written because the likeliness is so. I wish people understood what its like to be so ill, the emotional, physical, mental downfall that comes with it. Being sick isn’t just being sick, there’s a whole backlash that comes down with it. If only being ill was easy and simple. I am so glad I have stumbled across you as you have put a sigh of relief in my day today, not feeling alone. Thank you.

    • chronicrants says:

      Thanks for saying that Samantha. A main reason I started this blog was so that we’d all feel less alone. I think there are so many difficult parts of our illnesses that no one talks about because it’s not socially “acceptable” and those are the ones we need to talk about the most! And the posts on those subjects are the ones people seem to like the most, even though I always hesitate to write them in the first place. Welcome. I hope you enjoy what you read here!

  10. Julie says:

    You are definitely not alone in those feelings. I’m right there with you. I’d really never want anyone to have to live the way we live long-term. But, when people really don’t get it, and sometimes that person is my husband, I want them to be sick for a while until they understand.

    It’s hard to let these kinds of feelings out, but you are right, we definitely need to share them. We are not alone.

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