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But I Want What You Have- the Compassion Quandary - Chronically Whole
But I Want What You Have- the Compassion Quandary

But I Want What You Have- the Compassion Quandary

March 30, 2017 | Posted in: Anger, Chronic illness and relationships, Chronic Life

MS, TN & chronic migraines cause me a wide variety of symptoms. Like, I could be here all day listing them. Among my symptoms are: numbness, tingling, facial pain, muscle spasms, limb weakness, dizziness and fainting. This is every day. As in multiple parts of my body can have all kinds of chaos going on, all at once, even.

Try explaining this to someone who is either committed to misunderstanding you, or clueless about how important good health is – you know, the people who take it for granted because they’ve never had anything other than stellar health, or the people who think they’re already at rock bottom because they have the flu, or, gasp, a headache for two whole hours! Something temporary.

We can’t explain it to these people. Remember that people are only capable of understanding within their own ranges of experience. For some people,Remember that people are only capable of understanding within their own ranges of experience. Click To Tweet it’s more, way more, limited than others. It’s frustrating, though.

There’s a new coworker at my job. She’s questioning everything about me – my limited hours and doctor mandated frequent breaks, and being quite vocal with her questions and not getting any answers. I don’t owe anyone an explanation, but it seems to anger her that she isn’t getting her answers.

This weekend, this coworker walked around with a band-aid on her finger repeatedly poking it at me and telling me she was handicapped. I admittedly lost my cool a bit then, but it was after hours of it and years of harassment with that job, and at least I was quiet about it. I only looked at her and said one word. Really.

There have been many times I’ve been tempted to remove that stressor from my life. I’m not a tree, I’m free to move on. I’m also not a quitter, and I need to work as disability has yet to work out for me. The thought of trying to find a less insane job is too much to handle, but maybe I should make that leap.

I’d wanted to make this article a list type thing. You know, something along the lines of How To Not Struggle With Compassion When You’re Chronically Ill, but it just didn’t work out. I don’t have any advice. I hope you all have some for me. I understand that everyone's pain is real. Click To Tweet That pain isn’t a competition.

Working in a world where I’m trying so hard through pain that’s never ending to have compassion for others who seem to have little for me hurts me beyond belief. What do I do?


Ellie is a 45-year-old woman living in South Carolina. She works as a cashier, but is always dreaming of more, she’s just not sure of what more is. Her favorite hobbies are reading, writing and yarn crafts. Her biggest hope in blogging is to help no one ever feel alone in their journeys with chronic illness, or anything else.

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  1. Susie Ream
    March 30, 2017

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    Oh sweet Ellie, as I read your words I see such a brave soul. You certainly should qualify for disability with the conditions you list. I can’t imagine going to work with those symptoms. It’s tough having an invisible illness. I too struggle with auto-immune and other illnesses that people just don’t get. I don’t explain either b/c you are right, people just don’t understand what they don’t experience … unless they run into that rare gem of a friend who believes you and has compassion.
    May God lead your steps and give you the comfort of a friend who ‘gets it’ and supports you. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope people, who don’t struggle with chronic illnesses, read this. May their eyes open to the gift of health they enjoy every day .. may they choose compassion for those of us who painstakingly walk through each day, choosing to fix our eyes on Jesus who is our hope and our help in time of need.
    Blessing and Love

  2. Jayne
    March 30, 2017

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    Well said. I’m so sorry to hear you are treated this way. You certainly don’t need the extra stress. I’m no longer working but I know my constant symptoms with no diagnosis made me suspect with coworkers.
    I’m still explaining. It was my only hope for help during 30 years undiagnosed. Now I am struggling. I want to represent my disease and advocate for my community. Build compassion one person at a time. But I want to give up the desperate need to convince people I need help. Because , for so long I had nothing but my words to help me.
    I hope to find balance. Overcome a feeling of illegitimacy with an unapologetic and informed passion for advocacy in a society where we are marginalized and oppressed.
    Keep fighting Ellie.

  3. Ellie
    March 31, 2017

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    Thanks so much, Susie.

  4. Ellie
    March 31, 2017

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    Yes, it is a constant battle.

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