Owning Your Emotions: 4 Ways to Deal with People Who Don’t Care About Your Medical Conditions
People can be so mean and spiteful. Hateful really. All of us inside have the ability to be really inconsiderate human beings. But it is what we do with the way we feel that makes all the difference in the world. Our emotions can be tools of power, both for the detriment and the encouragement of others. When medical conditions enter our lives, then our already strained emotions can be compounded with fear, hate, anxiety, nervousness and a litany of other challenging feelings. And this can be further hammered with the negative reactions that other people may have towards you and your diagnosis. It can be completely isolating. I’ve experienced a wide gamut of reactions from people about my Celiac disease and issues with multiple food sensitivities, and also seen firsthand how people treat my husband Kevin due to his rare disease called PKU. So how do you get control and own your emotions? How do you deal with inconsiderate people who don’t understand or care about your medical problems?
1. Know that there will be people in your life that may not understand the trials surrounding your medical difficulties. Realize that some people have never (and will never) experience the physical and emotional pain of serious medical problems. Facing this realization in the beginning is really important. If I had a TARDIS, a Delorean or some other type of time machine, I’d tell the Mara from 2007 to be prepared for some major hypocrisy coming from people who I thought were close to me. Believe me, medical conditions have a way of revealing who the true kindred spirits in your life really are.
2. Lower or eliminate your expectations of people’s reaction to your condition. I guarantee if you put someone on a pedestal, then they will fall very hard from it. This sounds harsh, but some people will absolutely disappoint and hurt you. And unfortunately many times after a diagnosis, there could be both family and friends that won’t be there for you. Sometimes it is because they are scared of seeing you in pain and they push you away. Sometimes it is really that they don’t understand what it is like and they expect you to pretend like nothing is wrong.
3. Educate those closest to you about your diagnosis. It took many years of me educating certain people in my life in order to get them to understand my Celiac. The first few years, it didn’t matter how many brochures, books, pamphlets or videos that I showed them, they absolutely thought that I was making it all up. They thought that my gluten-free lifestyle was just a fad and that I would eventually move on to something else. But after being tenacious in my diet and sharing my story everywhere I go, I believe that I’m finally being heard and understood. And being heard and understood is especially important to anyone.
4. Be a hero to someone else. If you have already experienced the hurt of people making fun or simply not caring about your medical condition, that is the absolute best time to be a hero by telling your story, writing a blog, writing a book, or publicly speaking about it. The quicker that you can begin doing this, the quicker the emotional healing will come. This is because when you feel a sense of commonality with someone else (especially due to a shared medical experience), it has a way of mending the soul. You may be that person that feels a deep sense of isolation and desperately needs to feel accepted. And I need to tell you: there is someone out there that wants very badly for someone to reach out to them…so why not be that person that is willing to do the reaching? And by doing this, you will bring about your own emotional healing.
Mara Alexander is the Founder of GlutenFreeWorld TV©, a Certified Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, a Certified Health Consultant and a Professional of the Academy of Healthcare Management. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org