Dissecting words

Words HURT

“Billie… smile!”

“Billie, this is a business company, not the beach!”

“Oh Bee, you’re such a bad dancer!”

“It must be great being on sick leave so much; it’s like being on a long holiday!”

“Look at her, Monday morning and still drunk!”

These sentences might just be background noise to some, but to a person with a neurological illness, those words can cut like tiny slithers of glass.

It’s true that past experiences build future thoughts, and therefore further patterns and life experiences. Some of those can have a deep impact, and I guess it’s fair to say that I have been cut by glass-like words more than an elephant can say “Mind scratching my back a bit?”

Obviously, it is up to me the kind of value I attach to those words. After all, we’re the creator of our own reality and I am still the CEO of what goes on in my mind. After being bullied in primary school, however, those words did rather hurt.

Before, I allowed myself to feel hurt when others said words they – more than likely – never really dissected before saying them. Over time, I took ownership of not only my illness but of changed relationships with colleagues, friends, and family also.

There are times when I cannot blame those who say things that hurt when they don’t know about MS. Understanding such situations has taught me how to react if I were to hear them again. While I can write books about people’s reactions to others living with a chronic illness, especially those who do know about MS, there’s no point in rehashing old, revolting idiocy.

Just for the fun of it, however, for those interested to know, here are the reasons why the five phrases were said at the top of the blog post.

“Billie… smile!”

Brutal pain in the face because of trigeminal neuralgia… smiling therefore painful in a majestic way.

“Billie, this is a business company, not the beach!”

Sitting in front of PC at work with sunglasses on because of facial and eye pain. Same as above… Argh!!!

“Oh Bee you’re such a bad dancer!”

My balance has gone totally out of whack the last ten years or so, and it, therefore, makes me fail to stick to the rhythm of the music… Pppfffttt…

“It must be great being sick so much, it’s like a long holiday!”

Oh yeah, I just ab-so-lu-te-ly love feeling like I’ve been railroaded by a heavy hauler on ice skates while being cooked inside out while my brain is in a fog and my eyes and face are being pulled left, right and center on a daily basis… Holiday my bleep!

“Look at her, Monday morning and still drunk!”

I nearly fell between the train and the platform one day, even with standing behind the yellow line, because of loss of balance when the train whooshed by… even a teetotaller like me can look drunk without actually being so.

©Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2013. 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.

7 thoughts on “Dissecting words

  1. I’d say that most people just don’t know Billie – they’re not deliberately trying to hurt you. However a bit of awareness – such as you are trying to create – would go a long way to understanding those with health issues.

    1. Absolutely Roy and therefore my belief that I cannot blame people for not knowing (also changed the wording of the post a bit reflecting that). At the end of the end, bringing awareness is something that bring answers to a lot of people, and that’s what advocating is all about.

    1. There is no end to idiocy, isn’t there? Or how about me wanting to apply for a parking permit for a friend’s car to be nearer the entrance of my local shopping centre when we go there together (less tiresome for me so), but that person not wanting to. More than likely because the person thought I wasn’t “disabled” enough to take up that car parking space when I have to crawl forward at snail’s speed of fatigue. Cute huh? :D

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