At work, I am highly professional and try to keep as MUCH of my chronic conditions to myself. Most of my coworkers do not even KNOW that I have a blog, let alone the laundry list of medical issues that I have. It's not that I am keeping it a secret, I just don't feel the need to go into detail. (To be honest, I haven't even gone into FULL detail on HERE, my blog, about ALL of my medical conditions but let's save that for another post - in the meantime keep up with my musings on instagram)
SO at work, I am known as "Sunshine & Rainbows" - regardless of how I feel, I show up each day with a smile on my face, because I love my job and my students, and whether my whole body hurts or my stomach is flaring, teaching is my passion and I won't let my medical conditions get in the way of that.
Lately, at work or the gym, I've gotten quite a few negative comments in regards to my body and health - I know I am not alone in those who suffer from invisible illnesses SO I thought I would share a few ways to handle these often awkward and infuriating situations.
STRATEGIES ON HOW TO HANDLE SPECIFIC NEGATIVE COMMENTS ABOUT YOUR BODY & Health
- You are strong and amazing, even on days that you do not feel like it remember this - you are fighting a battle that is invisible and most people do not see, give yourself some grace
- Expect that people are going to say dumb/insensitive/negative things sometimes, then it won't always come as a total surprise. Lack of education or awareness about a chronic condition/disease/disorder/illness often is the root of these negative/insensitive comments.
- Use the negative comment as a platform to educate the person on the condition/illness - the best way to create awareness is to spread it yourself!
- Use humor to diffuse the situation - I am NOT saying to make light of your struggles or downplay your condition, BUT in a work environment, using humor to lighten the mood, especially when YOU feel infuriated by a comment, will help you react with a level-head, rather than creating an argument
- Kill 'em with kindness - YES, BE KIND BACK TO THE PERSON WHO JUST PUT YOU DOWN - use a phrase like the one's below. Then, smile, and walk away if you can, or if you are stuck in that setting continue on with whatever task you were doing. THIS type of statement will either shut down the individual, who will probably be befuddled, OR it will create a dialogue where you could share more, if you wanted to
HOW TO HANDLE SPECIFIC NEGATIVE COMMENTS ABOUT YOUR BODY & Health
"But you don't look sick"
"How I look, has nothing to do with how I feel - that's the hard part of a sickness/illness like __________. You can't see when I am struggling, and I choose to try and "look good" so I can try to feel good"
"You're too young for that"
"Numerically, I'm young, but I really have the body of an 80 year old women" *cue laughter*
"Weren't you just at the doctors?"
"Yes, managing__________ equals a lot of time in multiple doctor's offices"
"YUP - thank goodness for my flexible spending account - just kidding I blew threw that already"
"Maybe if you lost/gained weight it would fix _____________________"
"My _____________ has NOTHING to do with my weight, so losing/gaining won't make a difference"
"Are you a hypochondriac?"
"I have enough REAL medical conditions that I don't need to make them up"
- Are the above strategies/statements helpful for you?
- What do YOU do when someone doubts your struggles?
- Do you have an invisible illness?
- How do you handle negative comments about your body?