Gaslighting: To manipulate someone psychologically by making that person question their own sanity.
Have you tried anything for your anxiety?
Do you suffer from depression?
In all my years of being a doctor I’ve never heard of that..
Have you tried yoga?
When you stress you create pain.
Have you been to therapy?
Maybe try sleeping more.
As a doctor, when I have a pain I..
My friend used this and he said it worked for him.
Try not to worry.
I read this thing where if you did this..
You’d feel better if you just..
Maybe try putting your feet up.
Have you ever tried warm baths?
That didn’t happen to me when I...
One way or another, I have had all these said to me. I have endured that person who just doesn’t understand but think they do. As a chronically ill person I can honestly say I really truly Do Not want advice from anyone who has never been in my shoes. When someone who hasn’t dealt with chronic pain tries to “help,” it is like hearing nails on chalkboard. It’s annoying, frustrating, it’s demeaning and dehumanizing. Maybe they mean we’ll or maybe they don’t but either way that person knows absolutely nothing about what it is like being in pain daily, so therefore, their input is usually unsolicited.
As a chronically ill person I deal with this from lots of people. Family, Friends, Doctors, Princess Poppy’s and King Gristles on the internet..Everyone. Sometimes it’s easy to just let it roll and keep it pushing and sometimes it’s so infuriating it triggers me. No matter what though neither response helps the situation. We are truly forced to endure not only doctors thinking they know what is right for us but those that surround us as well seem to think they do too.
Does the average healthy person think maybe we have tried it all? Does that person think our pain started that morning? Do they think we were born yesterday? For people like me, we have dealt with our pain far longer than any human being should ever and yet we are made to feel as if we are in the wrong, as if we are just so incompetent that we do not know our own bodies. That we are making the pain up and have embodied the pain and therefore it’s completely imaginative. Don’t get me wrong there are actual people who do suffer from phantom pain, pseudocyesis, and hypochondria and much more but that is not the case either. I can’t speak on those but for people like me, chronically ill people, we are not imagining psychologically or mentally either, our pain is 100% real as well yet we are Gastlit on such a level that we are forced to turn and look at ourselves as fraudulent. The world denies us, therefore we “must” deny ourselves? Vulgar thought huh? That is what gaslighting does.
I’m so tired of it, yet I know everyday or once a week, how ever it happens, there will always be that someone, that special person who decides their opinion means more than anything. My advice for the average healthy person who wants to truly help and not be so forward with their own solutions, Just genuinely be there. Be ready to listen if the Ill person starts to share their experience. It’s most likely all they know at that point. So of course it’s on our minds. Be gentle and remember, it’s not intentional for us to focus on the pain. It may not be visible yet or ever but it is so very real.