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Anyone been told u spend 2 much time talk about your health?

Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 5:48 pm
by Helen518
My husband is so tired of hearing me talk about my health and has lately despaired that I will ever be happy again. Apparently my Father in law has joked that there's no point in asking me how I'm doing, because it's never good! (chuckle chuckle! that's his chuckle, not mine . . . :x )
I was horrified and embarrased about this. I fear I have become a joke - a charicature. I am going to make a concerted effort not to spend so much time talking about it and telling my husband and in laws the details of what is going on with my health. It can only benefit me I guess.

Anyone have any tips on keeping a positive attitude and preventing yourself from talking about it?

Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 6:37 pm
by Neco
I may not be the best person to give you advice on this..

But many of us hold the belief that when people start treating you like this, it will only get worse unless you buck up and put your feet down. Get your message across that you are not a joke and they are not in your shoes, and they should thank their lucky stars for that.

But also, we can sometimes overdo it when we look for sympathy from others.. I mean if its an every day, at least one or two conversations that they are not initiating, then maybe there is an underlying valid point there.

So keeping a conscious effort to not abundantly drone on about it, is OK, but that doesn't mean you are not entitled to support from your family, from your husband no less.

I have had endless spats with my family over my legs, and my IBS and although my dad has probably come around the most, my mom getting there.. My brother always rides me about being a pill head though, but whatever I guess.

Sometimes you have to know when to roll with the punches, and when to punch back.

Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 8:29 pm
by mackjergens
Thru the yrs of dealing with rls, I have learned that most people do not understand it and do not wish to learn or hear about it. I am lucky that my husband has always been supportive, but even with him I try not to over do talking about it.

I also have a friend that has taught me much about talking about illness. as she always has something wrong with her or one member of her family every time I see her which is 2 times a week, all the rest of our group, just set there and roll their eyes and try to change the subject.

We all have talked about this and everyone of us, could probably talk all night about our aches/pains, but we dont, simply because this person has taught us all, how boring it is to listen to someone complain all the time.
I do NOT mean we are not interested and that we would not be there for each other if needed, but listening to someone talk about the physical health is not entertaining and really can push your friends/family away from you.

So I only try to talk about mine if I am ask out right are you not feeling well, they I will give a short response to that.

RLS is just not something that anyone can understand unless they have it.
So IMHO its a waste of time trying to discuss it or make others understand it.

Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 9:27 pm
by ViewsAskew
I can sure identify with this. My hubby and I have and ENDLESS list of things. Because he has several autoimmune problems, he has more than I. My best friend has lupus. My other dear friend has Addison's and celiac. My whole family has RLS and PLM. My SIL has thryoid issues, BIL diabetes with complications, MIL diabetes, and the list goes on.

And, we're not 95!

There are so many dynamics that affect how we talk about it, if we talk about it, if we're understood, if we get empathy, sympathy, or are ignored, etc.

The best we can do, I think, is to try to understand the family and friend dynamic we have. If it allows some talk, keep it to some. If it doesn't allow any understanding, let alone talking about it, you have a tough decision. We can't choose our family; we can choose how we interact with them, however. We can clearly state our needs and wants. That doesn't mean they have to oblige us, but we certainly won't get what we need if we can't do that. But comes a point where we may have real problems that affect the family and potentially our relationship.

Friends, in my opinion, are harder. Becat has talked about losing all of the friends in her "couple" circle. They don't get it. They want the old Becat back. Well, gee, so does she! With friends, sometimes we have to make decisions to look for other ones.

My best friend has been so for 30 years - but most of my more recent friends are people who also have health problems. We don't dwell on it, but it does mean that we know we'll get empathy and understanding when we need an ear or a slower pace at the mall.

This, to me, is one of the hardest parts of having chronic wellness concerns.

Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 11:30 pm
by Wayne
Well I don't think people really believe that it's a joke or are uncaring about you or other peoples problems. But, it does make others uncomfortable to repeatedly hear all the details about another's health issues. Family member or friend, all the negative feedback gets to be a burden, and they don't know what to say to you or how to treat you anymore.

If the answer to "How are you today?" or "What are you up to", is first a discourse of all your medical or personal problems, it becomes awkward. It's hard to be upbeat and friendly if all they ever hear from you is how much misery your in.

Your family and friends undoubtably care and are supporting you however they can. In my case, it's my supervisor being understanding with all the recent time off I've been taking for doctor's appointments and tests and recently, getting adjusted to this new medication. Does he empathize with me? No. He doesn't have RLS or neuropathy, he has no idea what it's like. He does have his own family, and teenager problems which he doesn't burden me with the grisly details of and which I personally have no experience. Maybe raising a teenager is worse than RLS, who knows?

Back when I was getting chemo treatments, my friends or family would treat me as a dead man walking. I got so tired of answering questions that I would either brush them off or simply say "I'm OK". I didn't want to dwell on it by discussing it 24/7. I would very rarely tell anyone that I even had cancer because I didn't want their sympathy or questions. Today 26 years later, most people who know me (in real life, not online) don't know that little fact about me. Only a handful know about my neuropathy. Why burden them? I've told them what it is but I don't immediately tell them how much misery it is for me personally.

A personal anecdote.

I used to work as a box boy in a grocery store and one of my duties was to bag people's groceries and help them out to their car. My boss wanted us to be friendly and conversational. So you'd ask something like "How are you today maam/sir ?" And I would get a detailed description of their gall-bladder surgery or how bad their back pain was. I don't even know them. Why are they burdening me with this? What am I supposed to say to them? "Well thank you maam, come again"

Forums like this are great. You have a whole lot of people who can empathize and sympathize with you because we know exactly what your going through because we're going through it ourselves.

BTW ViewsAskew. What is "SIL". I think I've seen you use it before, but can't figure it out. Also another one I've seen is "DH" not sure who uses that one.

Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 11:45 pm
by Wayne
Sister In Law?

I should've been able to figure that one out.

Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 11:53 pm
by ViewsAskew
Yup! SIL - sister in law

DH - dear husband
DW - dear wife
DD - dear daughter
DS - dear son

BIL - brother in law
MIL - mother in law


Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 12:23 pm
by dogeyed
You asked for tips about how to prevent yourself talking about your health and how to keep a positive attitude. First, understand that sometimes sick people want to (a) tell the truth when asked how they are, (b) make sure they have empathy, (c) discuss the most important thing in their lives which is their misery. For you, you want to answer truthfully about how bad you feel, you may get a zero response and thus work to convince others how hard things are, and you are like older people who will talk happily amongst themselves about all their health conditions.

The way around all that, since it makes others feel uncomfortable for you to discuss your health issues, is when someone says "How are you," you answer "Fine, all things considered" or "Fair to partly cloudy," or just white lie and just say, "Good and you?" If they want to know more, they'll ask. If you have any notion that, say, your husband doesn't really understand, then to settle the issue, go for a walk with him and tell him you are worried, afraid, in pain, need help, and so forth. Ask him if he understands this, and then say you will try not to talk about it so much anymore. And if you want to share with others, only discuss it with other sick people, or at this forum, or your doc. I actually had to hire a psychologist one time, just to have someone to talk to.

See, we LOOK okay, many of us are younger but cannot run and play like the other kids, and healthy people just forget that we are not the same. Husbands want a wife who can join in, so all you can do is try, and when you cannot get up and do things, hopefully he will adjust his lifestyle to match yours a little better, or accept the sitution and do his own thing as needed, and also hopefully help you when you can't get off the floor.

Just begin to make it a habit to find the good things in life to talk about, and if you don't feel like talking, it's okay to be quiet and just enjoy other conversation around you. If you wake up and feel like screaming, instead of sharing it with your husband, ask him to talk about something he's interested in, or discuss simple stuff like the weather or a movie you want to check out, or go in another room and do something to distract yourself, just whatever it takes to get you thru a rough spot. Spare him the details, it makes men feel helpless. Most important thing is to release all your whining at the docs, so you can get good treatment, to where you're not quite as miserable.

re: to much time talking about your health

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 12:58 pm
by Betty/WV
Hi All: I enjoyed reading your posts about this subject. Because sometimes I feel I spend to much time talking about my health. Sometimes you can tell by the expression of the person you are talking too. :oops:
I'm 73 and have alot of health issues, RLS being one of them. And people don't understand. Its like, their thoughts are "big deal, you had a bad night"!!! :(
WHen I ran across this site, it was such a relief, because I could rant on and on and get it all off my chest. And in return, I read the posts of others just like me. And I understood where they were coming from.
I try to say, when asked how I am, I just say, "coping".
I think some people understand, a little, how difficult RLS is. :shock: And I have friends who also have alot of health issues, so we listen to each other.
Just another bump in the rocky road of life. Wish you all the best and a good nights sleep. BETTY/WV

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:16 pm
by Sleuth
I had lunch yesterday with a friend. He told me that while at a meeting at work, for some reason RLS came up. One of his co-workers said it was no big deal and was probably in their heads.

My friend told him what a nightmare illness it is, going into great detail.

I don't think many people know about this illness. I have mentioned it to doctors who tell me that they know nothing about it. If the medical profession knows nothing about it, what do you expect from the general public.

Then there were all those ads last year for one of the RLS meds. When I told someone I had RLS, they said there was a medicine for closed. Another huge misconception.

I don't even mention it to anyone other than close friends and my family. It isn't worth all the explanation you have to go through. Most of the time, it is like talking to the wall. People have pre-conceived ideas.


Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:32 pm
by Wayne
Sleuth wrote:Then there were all those ads last year for one of the RLS meds. When I told someone I had RLS, they said there was a medicine for closed. Another huge misconception.


I don't think it's a misconception, just ignorance. If it doesn't affect you personally it's hard to empathize or care (unless it's a friend or loved one). Do you pay attention to the non-RLS ads for all the other medications like asthma, depression, heart disease, or herpes? When it happens to you become immediately focused.

Is it that you want people to think that your personal brand of misery is worse than anyone else who suffers from a chronic non-RLS illness? We can hardly be the judges of who suffers the most, because we haven't been in their shoes.

For all my own suffering, it could be much, much worse. I don't have constant pain, heart problems, asthma, clinical depression or an STD.

I personally don't want to be drowned in sympathy by everyone I know. I've been there (see my previous post) and I hated it. Maybe that's just my personality though. For me, it's enough that they know and understand that I have real medical problem, and can help if need be.

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 4:22 pm
by Neco
I took a rather shady personality tests that identified me a Histrionic, so who knows, maybe I like attention too much 8)

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:01 pm
by Sleuth
Is it that you want people to think that your personal brand of misery is worse than anyone else who suffers from a chronic non-RLS illness? We can hardly be the judges of who suffers the most, because we haven't been in their shoes.

I don't remember saying that. I was merely talking about the general perception of this illness.


Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:09 pm
by Wayne
Sorry Sleuth. I did stray away from your quote there. That was my own thought there. Perhaps I was too harsh, but I stand by it. Experience has given me a lot of insight into personal drama.

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:25 pm
by Helen518
Thanks for all the tips and insights, everyone. I am so glad that this was a topic others were thinking about. I made a conscious effort this weekend to have the health conversations in my head instead of with others! That seemed to help. WHen my FIL asked me how I was doing on Sunday morning I said, "Great!"
I think I've taken a positive step forward the last couple of days and I'm going to do everything I can do to keep it going. Has anyone read anything about positive thinking by Martin Seligman? or Glen Harrold? I'm looking for an audio book that I can listen to in the car.
I also have a biofeedback device I got for my birthday. When you breathe rhythmically and think happy thoughts, your heartbeat changes!! The device detects the changes and makes a pleasant tone to let you konw that you are doing it right, or a slightly different tone to let you know you are off track. I plan to start using it again.
I'd love to hear more of your tips and insights!