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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Saying No to “Woe is Me”


I recently went for one of my infusions and started thinking about how thankful I was that I remembered my earbuds. This routine of keeping earbuds with me as a back-up plan for all appointments – especially long appointments – has had a very positive impact on my psyche .


Getting sucked into the “woe is me” trap is really easy when you spend much time at the doctor's office. It seems that everywhere I go people are complaining, but the worst part for me is listening to people complain about my doctor. 

At my last infusion, while in the waiting room, before the earbuds went on, I found myself so frustrated that I announced loudly that I really love my rheumatologist and think she is doing a fantastic job. It is true that she is not meeting patients for social hour, but I would much rather have a highly skilled doctor that does the research and makes informed decisions than one who is worried about minute details of my social life.

Once I made it back to the infusion room, the complaining changed to “woe is me!” and I did everything to ignore it while being prepped for the infusion, but I honestly could not wait to settle down with my earbuds and watch a movie on Netflix for the next few hours. One man was working himself up into a frenzy after the IV was started but before any medication had been added – he told someone with him that he was already starting to get a headache because he knows he gets “so worked up about these things”. Then another man was having insurance problems. This I can empathize with but for hours? Really? Enough focusing on the negative in my healing space, thank you!

While at other appointments over the years, my experience is that people tend to compare problems and revel in the negative at these types of appointments. And, don’t even get me started about nephrology! My current nephrologist is awesome about managing time, but the nephrologist in Georgia was one of eight in a group and really slow. So tons of people had tons of time to sit around and play this endless “woe is me” competition.

Those who don’t talk at infusions usually do a lot of grunting and dramatic gestures with iPads and such. This strange negativity can easily suck anyone who spends a lot of time at the doctor's office into it because it's part of the culture of being chronically ill. It's a culture that must be rebelled against actively.

Trying to focus on getting as healthy as possible is important and staying positive is equally important. I do not have it together every day but do think much of this behavior negatively impacts people around us and I do not want to be the source of anything negative.

What we say and think both out loud and to ourselves reinforces how we feel and I think, how we react both physically and mentally to situations and illness. I encourage you to work at being positive and when possible, put on your earbuds and ignore those who are not. Saying no to the “woe is me” mentality may make a huge difference in your life. I know it has made a huge difference in mine!


Emily