Alienation and Misunderstanding
Last updated: April 2023
When asked if he hates people, Charles Bukowski said, "I don't hate them... I just feel better when they're not around." Relatable!
When you have Crohn's disease, this feeling of alienation is often incredibly potent, since far too often our condition is grossly misunderstood. This is not necessarily the fault of others. But it is, undoubtedly, at points, rather annoying.
A few examples of the types of people who misunderstand inflammatory bowel disease and can drive sufferers nuts are below.
People who think IBD can be cured with a magic remedy
First, there are the happy-go-lucky miracle cure peddlers. You know the type, have met a few probably. They think three drops of chlorophyll, an Epsom salt bath, and doing a couple of headstands – or some such mumbo-jumbo –will instantly cure you. Umm no. Not even close.
Some outside-the-box remedies may help, sure, but there is no magic elixir. They also tend to be incessantly chipper and hopeful. Disgusting! Misanthropic cures only, please! NEXT!
When others think that Crohn's and UC are mental
Second, there are gaslighting types. You've met them. They try to convince you your illness is entirely mental. Mind over matter they say. You just have to be less stressed and think positively and your problems will vanish like a rabbit in a top hat, abracadabra.
Sadly, these types have no idea how insulting they are. It's a disease, not a stinking magic trick! Positive thinking will not make it go away any more than it will cure a brain tumor or instantly end world hunger. Take that book "The Secret" and shove it where the sun don’t shine.
Again, trying to be positive can't hurt. It’s a noble intention. It's just the oversimplification of our chronic illness and the many ways it wreaks havoc on the body that is so infuriating.
A health condition does not mean we are helpless
Third, we have those who baby you and try to be overindulgent and smothering. Mothers often fall into this category. As do, at times, significant others.
Whoever it is, they think you're incapable of say eating Indian food or traveling abroad, or trying anything remotely dangerous like skydiving. Yes, you have a health condition but you're not a helpless infant!
This tendency to treat you like less of a person owing to Crohn's disease can really make you go bonkers. None of us want to be defined by our illness. It's a part of us, sure. But it's not who we are at our core.
Crohn's is a complicated condition
I could go on. The point is, those with Crohn's disease are far too often misunderstood. Others put us into neat little boxes or offer pat solutions to problems without having a real understanding of all we’ve endured.
This is often insulting, since Crohn’s is not a simple condition, a basic math problem to be solved no matter how much others might want it to be that way so that it seems less threatening.
Owing to all of the above, we sufferers of inflammatory bowel disease frequently end up feeling like we're better off on our own. Sad. Because we often have a great deal to offer and if others made a bit more effort to empathize with us maybe we wouldn't feel so alienated. Thanks for reading, and, as always, feel free to comment below.
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