A word of warning, this post may veer into the self-congratulatory. Feel free to comment appropriately.
Earlier I was explaining to someone that I had been diagnosed with my fourth chronic illness. They reacted. My inner voice as they reacted was basically saying “calm down it’s not a tragedy.”
I suspect their emotional response was entirely appropriate, I have come to realise, through working with autistic people and socialising with a variety of the non-neurotypically thinking population, that I process emotions slowly. (Huh, turns out maybe Giggles had a point accusing me of reacting like a robot back in 2004…) However I am coming to the conclusion that actually processing emotions slowly isn’t always a bad thing (as ever when it’s my processing differences they seem awesome right up to the points when they’re truly awful).
Sarcasm, cynicism and gallows humour tend to be my standard responses which my conversational partner didn’t seem to be used to. But as their response continued I noticed something else that I tend away from. Their response was predicated on comparison of myself to healthy people. Specifically imagined healthy people who were not me.
Now I have been known to compare myself at various points on the timeline of my life, but I very rarely compare myself to other people. I suspect a combination of Baz Luhrman and M-i-L can take the credit for this. Luhrman for the lyrics in Sunscreen;
“The race is long and in the end it’s only with yourself.”
Mother-in-Law (she should probably get another nickname now we’re dating…) due to a drive in a car through a nighttime Trough of Bowland. We used to do that a lot, drive through the darkness and talk. Driving with M-i-L is one of my all time favourite experiences. In any case, I was Depressed and in the grips of the Swamp trying to express one of those staples of Depression – that I didn’t deserve help because there were people worse off than me. I approximate her response; “It doesn’t matter about anybody else. Who gives a f***? Who even knows?! What do you need?”
For whatever reason that spoke to me, paring everything down to facts rather than speculation.
Is it sad that I have chronic bronchitis? No, why would it be? It’s another manageable condition. Is it frustrating? Sure, but I can turn it into yet another punchline so why not laugh instead?
My assumptions as ever are that I will always manage anything I have into the ground. Perhaps as I get older or develop more serious conditions that may change but right now it’s more material.
Oh go wear sunscreen.