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What exactly is the victim mentality of chronic illness sufferers? People with chronic (sometimes autoimmune, sometimes not) issues who wallow in self pity, consistently.
I see it over and over and over and over again.
Quite frankly, it riles me up. Mostly because I’m a “fixer.” I want to fix everyone to make them healthy, happy, successful, etc. When I see someone who I think I can help, it takes everything in me not to word vomit everything I want them to know and implement.
(I’m not so reserved when it comes to family).
But honestly, I see it as a waste of time and energy.
These people would rather spew to the internet what is terrible about their lives, all the horrid symptoms they can’t control, all the ignorant things people say to them, instead of diving into magazines, blogs, podcasts, support groups and see what they can DO to better themselves.
This concept of helping and improving yourself through avenues that you can control is a major theme throughout my book, “The Complete Guide to Crohn’s disease & Ulcerative colitis: A Road Map to Long-Term Healing.” You can read more about what is in the book here, or find it on Amazon.
That may sound insensitive, but I promise you it’s coming from a place of love, and from I’ve-been-there-before and there are better ways to live!
You see, I have had Crohn’s for 11 years now. You may know I was diagnosed young, at age 12. I adjusted fine but I definitely saw myself as a victim for a long time. I was also a kid and reluctant to my diet change and taking so many supplements. But once I actually realized some foods were destroying my body and others nourished my body and kept me healthy, I turned a corner.
I became more passionate about eating nutrients and less concerned with missing conventional foods. Disclaimer: I still miss and occasionally “cheat” or treat myself. More about that here.
I most commonly see this in Facebook groups. I used to belong to a lot of closed Facebook groups specific to people with IBD. Yet, every time I signed on, I saw negative posts clogging my news feed and I couldn’t stand it any longer.
Even worse, I chimed in once in a while and got shot down. If someone asked what they should be eating because they were newly diagnosed or were at their wit’s end and needed some advice, I shared what worked for me. ALWAYS with the caveat that it worked for me. Or I’d share that there is evidence that gluten is known to be an instigator in autoimmune issues, so eliminating that would be a good first step.
And people would jump down my throat.
“Just because it worked for you doesn’t mean it’s going to work for everyone.”
“I eat gluten and I feel fine.”
So, I said “Sayonara!” (I love that word, don’t you?) and simply left the groups. Sometimes I forget I can remove myself from online communities.
As I said, I understand where these people are coming from. I was angry and felt helpless for a while. I understand it’s not fair you or I have a disease deemed incurable. No, it’s not fair. But we all know there are a lot of things in life that aren’t fair. But we still get a life to live even if it’s not perfect.
Therefore, it’s a waste of time to complain constantly. Everyone is allowed a pity party once in a while or a good venting session. Sometimes, you might just feel down in the dumps. That’s okay, but when you let the negativity take over your life, you let the disease become you.
Additionally, I am a huge believer that negative thoughts have a direct impact on health. So I believe the never-ending cycle of hatred for a disease will only produce more of whatever the person is focusing on.
That’s why I won’t ever go back to seeing Crohn’s disease as a handicap, a disability, a betrayal, or a disadvantage. Because I have Crohn’s disease I got interested in learning about our food supply. That lead me to buy organic, non-gmo, supporting pasture-raised animals, and local farmers producing food the right way. I changed the course of my career, starting this blog, becoming and NTP, and writing a book. Not to mention being connected to people with IBD every day who need my help.
I see now that this was a blessing originally in disguise, but now it’s completely clear to me.