When I read this blog entry on Positive Living with MS, I contacted Penelope straight away to ask her if we could share it on our website. I think it gives rise to many interesting questions: How to support others? Where do we learn to support others? Were we supportive before being diagnosed ourselves? What can we do to make things change? What do YOU think? Feel free to comment on this post using the form below. Thanks and thank you to Penelope. Don’t forget to check her blog. It contains lots of interesting entries: http://positivelivingwithms.com/2014/09/17/get-over-it-really/
Have you ever expressed a concern or a new symptom with someone and their response was “get over it”? I’ve always thought that to be a strange response. Get over what? Get over the pain? Get over the fear? Get over a chronic disease? What exactly am I to be getting over?
How do you get over something that you live with on a day to day, minute by minute basis. It’s easy for someone to come along who isn’t living in your body and say “get over it” when they aren’t experiencing your challenges. A person doesn’t just get over Multiple Sclerosis…they live with it.
I have no control over how my body is going to respond each day and the challenges I am going to face. One day I may feel great and the next day feel as if I’ve been hit by not just one, but two Mac trucks. I can’t control how my body is feeling even in the next hour, so how am I supposed to “get over it”?
Unfortunately, there are people who are unequipped, ill-equipped and wrongly equipped to be helpful to a person living with a chronic illness. If I had a broken arm, I would have people pouring out their concern and desire to help me open doors and carry a pile of books, but that’s because a broken arm is temporary and the need is visible. Once the bone mends and the cast is removed, the need for help is no longer there. Life goes on as it always has and no one has to open the doors or carry the books any more.
But a chronic illness is ongoing. It doesn’t simply go away no matter how much someone wishes it would. That’s why it doesn’t make sense to expect someone who is going through pain, weakness or any other MS struggle to “get over it” as if it’s a decision that can be made.
“Oh, today I’m going to ignore the fact that my legs don’t work, get over it and walk across the room.” Really? And that’s suppose to make Multiple Sclerosis go away…ignoring it and just getting over it? Yeah…No, that doesn’t work.
Most of the time people who give that kind of advice, if you want to call it advice, are at a point of frustration. They actually say what they say because in reality they want you to be over it so they can be spared having to deal with your challenges. Most want to help, but they want you to feel better and move on in an unrealistic time thus sparing them the inconvenience of having to adjust their lives to accommodate the unexpected.
Don’t ever apologize because you are hurting or need help. Don’t feel guilty because you are having challenges. You are the one living with MS and you have the right to feel what you feel. The better response a person could give would be to help you get through it. You will never get over it, but you can get through it. You do that every day you wake up and make it to the end of the day.