So I’ve been on a journey so to speak over the past handful of years.
It’s not a particularly nice journey but one I’ve been signed up to complete.
I’ve been suffering an invisible illness.
Now before I go on, I would like to mention that over my lifetime I have had episodes of depression.
I’m familiar with depression so know how it feels and how it manifests within me.
This invisible illness is not depression.
I don’t know exactly what I have as I’ve yet to find the name. For a couple years now I’ve suspected it could be adrenal fatigue based on my symptoms and medical test results on cortisol & adrenaline levels. Although recently I’ve read several articles about Epstein-Barr Virus and some of those symptoms are connecting dots also. I’ve not yet explored this second avenue enough or had any medical tests to support its diagnosis but will want to examine it further. But whether it’s adrenal fatigue, EBV, or some other illness, I do know it’s certainly not depression.
So imagine my frustration when someone suggested to me today to consider NLP.
I’m not sure how NLP is going to get to the root of what I feel is a digestive/hormonal imbalance/autoimmune condition.
Would anyone consider saying to someone who has high blood pressure or a broken leg to consider NLP?
On further reflection I came up with a few thoughts:
1. If you truly want to support someone going through something, don’t offer unsolicited advice. Yes, I realise you are trying to show you care by attempting to help. But it isn’t helping.
2. If you know someone has suffered from something in the past, it doesn’t necessarily make it relevant for the present. I get colds sometimes but it doesn’t mean every time I cough I have a cold. People suffering from TB have a cough but they may not have a cold. The point I’m making is that it’s not fair to stereotype people as one thing or another.
3. Just because there is no name for one’s condition/illness doesn’t make it irrelevant. Long before we put a name to AIDs people were suffering from it. My symptoms are real even without a name…yet.
4. If you really and truly want to help, just listen. Be there. Listen. One person’s challenges are not yours. Furthermore, they aren’t yours to fix. How would you feel is someone took your unsolicited advice and ended up in a worse state. Would you own it?
5. Trying to fix people shows lack of respect. Acknowledge whatever challenges someone is facing then refer back to number 4. Be there and listen. A hug wouldn’t go amiss either.
I should learn to let unsolicited advice wash over me without a thought but they do affect me. In the past I’d get angry and frustrated inside and end up stressed. Now I think about what is said and find humour in it. Imagine the look on my NLP counsellor’s face when I say I’m making an appointment to help with loose stools.
I also mentally hand back the comments to the person who delivered it. I’m not a confrontational person and sometimes we have to co-exist with people so I’m not the type to throw my toys out of the pram. So I’ll remember this person has no clue about me (which is true many times as most don’t even know 1/10th of the real me) and I’ll forgive them for their ignorance. I’ll also write about it. Writing is by far the most cathartic response for me and helps me deal with these frustrations.
My final word is that I wish I didn’t have to travel this journey. There are some days when I feel really rubbish with exhaustion, aches, or pains. Believe me if there was such a simple answer I would have found it by now.
So next time someone coughs, don’t assume they need vitamin C.