When Someone Says “It Could Be Worse”
One thing that has always gotten to me is when I am trying to explain to someone what I am going through and they say, “Well, it could be worse.” I know that usually the people who say that are trying to help me by trying to change my perspective on things.
However, saying that doesn't help me at all! What people are doing when they say "it could be worse" is completely brushing aside what I said; as if my feelings are not valid.
Seeking validation for our pain from others
When we take the time to talk to someone in our lives about how we are feeling it’s usually because we either want them to understand us better or we just need to talk and have someone hear us. We need to feel like our feelings are valid so telling us that it could be worse doesn't really meet that need.
There have been a few times in my life where this has happened to me. It takes a lot of bravery for me to open up to others and discuss such personal details of my life, so if what I said gets brushed aside with a slap in the face like "well it could be worse," I am less likely to open up to that person again in the future.
Venting to others about the struggles of Crohn's
Sometimes I just want to vent about things, like how I have been in the hospital so often lately and how bad that is, how I have had to miss work, how I don't see any of my friends anymore, how I am struggling financially, what living with fatigue is like, and so on.
What I really want is someone to just listen to me and validate my feelings somehow. Perhaps they can just say they are really sorry I am going through that or that they can't imagine how difficult it must be for me.
When I get "well it could be worse," it feels like I am being told that I should not be feeling the way I do.
Hearing "it could be worse" from others
Well of course it could! Almost everything could be worse. It might be true that things could be worse, but there is importance in allowing people to feel upset about their current circumstances and then move on from there.
It’s valuable to acknowledge our negative feelings; really think about them and know that it's OK to feel bad. If we don't acknowledge those feelings then we are more likely to bury them inside of us and deal with the consequences.
Yet if we acknowledge those feelings, we can process them and come up with a healthy way of coping with what is going on. Telling someone that it could be worse is like telling them they can’t have those feelings because they are not as bad as what someone else is going through.
Your feelings are valid and it's okay to be upset
It is OK to feel upset about your situation even if it isn't as bad as something someone else is going through. Whatever it is in your life that has you feeling bad is affecting YOU and your life and that is good enough reason to be upset.
There will always be worse things that could happen for everyone, but that doesn’t mean that we should not feel sadness or anger because of that. Having IBD can be very difficult at times, it’s OK to acknowledge the struggles and allow yourself to process them. I actually think it’s a step in getting past those things.
What is your comfort level disclosing your IBD to your employer?