I just saw this picture on a dedicated MS Facebook page. It says “YOU WILL NEVER KNOW WHAT PAIN IS UNLESS YOU HAVE MS!!”
Well excusez–moi please, but that is just absolutely ridiculous. Life is NOT A CONTEST of who has more pain than the other, it’s not a game of showing people how sick we can be. So forgive me for sticking up for others who are ill (without MS), because statements like this only give people the wrong idea of what having MS is really like.
My reply to the wall post was harsh but we, as MSers, need to make one thing clear…. we are not the only ones fighting illnesses: “I am all for raising awareness on what MS is and what it does to you, but I definitely wouldn’t go as far as saying that only people with MS know what real pain is. I’m a chronic pain patient myself but pain is relative… what is really painful to you might only be a bit of an annoying thing to me.”
“Reality check here so: this picture is a desperate statement, almost wallowing in pain when we all need our energy to be positive instead of negative and try to live normal lives… Statements like this only make non-MSers believe that we indeed are wallowing in our pain.”
If you’ve read my blog before you will also know my ideas about words like “MS survivors”. The word ‘survivor’ in relation to MS is making me cringe. Calling MS a “MonSter“ or using the word “sufferers,” sorry, I’m not programmed that way. My vocabulary will never amount to this kind of speech because what you think, you become (thank you dear Buddha for the kind words).
Just to reiterate a bit of the blog post, here we go: “Suffering as a word is so negative and I don’t use negative words or connotations in my language that would suggest I am in hell and I that can’t get out. My nerve pains can be really painful sometimes but I’m good in hiding it. People who know me, know that I never use the word “suffer”. Positivity is quite important because it’s helping me through the day with a giggle.“
The Facebook page the photo was posted on is a page that wants to raise awareness about multiple sclerosis. I’m afraid that ‘raising awareness‘ with such an ignorant quote is not raising awareness at all. It shows other people that MSers are people without a backbone, without a willingness to see beyond our own illness. They might think that MSers are just people who like to moan and groan.
Some of us really are in a lot of pain and I am definitely not denying that at all. People with MS have very painful symptoms daily; I myself have felt like smacking my head against the wall of mad eye pains and headaches, so I do know how painful it can get.
We want awareness, not pity. Not sorrow, but understanding. And not negativity, but a bright outlook on life, no matter how painful our days are.
© Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2012. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.