Chronic Snarkopolist: Well Meaning Advice
Hello my loves! I’ve already discussed the conundrum of having “experts” disagree. Now I’m mulling over what to do with how to deal with being on the receiving end of well meaning advice from friends and even strangers.
Now that my medication has shifted I’m dropping weight instead of gaining (for a change). It has become noticeable. I’m making NO efforts at weight loss. Everyone who sees me has decided I need to hear both their weight loss strategies and be nagged about exercising more. Not one of them has stopped to ask me how my HEALTH is doing or how I FEEL. No one has stopped to ask if I need a ride to the doctor or to get my scans or tests or if I feel like getting up at all. Why WEIGHT or exercise is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing to them is beyond me at this point. I realize we have established svelte bodies as a cultural standard of success. But for me I have a closet full of a myriad of sizes based on if I am on prednisone that month. Weight alone can no longer BE my cultural standard of success.
As for exercise – I was kicked out of physical therapy for making NO PROGRESS. I was trying. But they said my body wasn’t ready for too much exertion yet – to stick to easier things. How dare I listen to AN EXPERT in physiology and movement! And Of course I should listen to all the well meaning advice givers telling me what THEY THINK my body needs at this point and who have no idea the state of my health (no do they actually care- other than to seemingly dip into my business when my weight fluctuates, but not when I might otherwise want or need help in life).
This is just my rant for the day. I have more of course. I’ve been told not to take multiple doses of antibiotics. I’ve been told to drink certain concoctions. I’m sure if I think back I can hear faint whispers on how sleeping upside down and letting leaches suck my blood would work better too. Just the other day, one friend jokingly said to me, “I think you forgot to go to the doctor to diagnose you as well. Maybe then you’d start feeling better.” Yah- that placebo diagnoses slipped my mind! It has never occurred to me to simply WANT MYSELF BETTER or HOPE myself to good health. How about the rest of you? He then reminded me to walk 30 minutes a day. No lie!
Let me be clear how IMPORTANT good health and maintaining optimal weight is to me! IT IS REALLY FUCKING IMPORTANT. I’m not telling people to sit down and hoover entire rows of candy bars for supper. MY POINT is that well meaning advice givers generally assume exertive exercise is AVAILABLE to everyone (even those of us who love it and seek it out). They also don’t generally ASK us how we’re doing or what we’ve been doing to maintain our health or what we’ve been going through. No. Well meaning advice givers generally jump straight to the advice giving.
I give plenty of advice based on MY EXPERIENCE when people come to me with a problem. IF someone asks, I say, “this is what has worked for ME in the past. I hope you find some relief with it.” Or – “If you check out the resources, you might come to the same conclusions.” I can be a total know it all. It comes with the territory of liking to HELP people. I also know that people do NOT like to be dictated to and they don’t like to be talked down to. ESPECIALLY- my pet peeve – No one likes to seem like their problems are solved easily when it has been an entire lifetime of complex situations. And especially the person solving their problem hasn’t been listening.
Most of us keep our pain fairly close to our chest. Hearing well meaning advice is a slap in the face unless it is sought out OR unless the advice giver asks “Would you like to hear?” When someone close to me asks me if I’d LIKE to hear, I’m generally game and grateful. I’ve learned MANY helpful things through “the grapevine.” Advice and help is both in the presentation and in how we LISTEN to each other and know what is needed.
What do you think? What are your peeves and desires when giving and receiving advice? Any better or worse ways to dish? Tell me! I must know!
I’ll be back same time next week! Kiss kiss!
Tags: advice from people not dealing with chronic illness, advice from strangers, Chronic Snarkopolist: Well Meaning Advice, health advice from friends, learning how to manage advice when you're chronically ill, learning how to parse out advice, learning how to take advice, managing chronic illness, written by Melissa Travis