OK gang, I’m going to put a bit of a Public Service Announcement out there. I like to write funny, but there is something that has been happening too much lately, so I please ask you to read this, and pass it on. I’m not a doctor, just an observant, intuitive, “different” person who wants to be understood.
On a personal note to those who know me in real life I offer this blog as an apology since I know I can be all over the place, and you may not always understand why I do things, or where I am coming from. Hopefully this little insight into “different” will help you see where some of us are coming from.
As individuals, we tend to look at things from one point of view: our own. For better or worse, it’s an inherent thing that humans do. As we grow older, sensible people learn that it’s a good idea to look at things from the perspectives of others. We may be able to learn all kinds of cool new things by doing this. Even when some are able to achieve this, they still hold that their idea, point of view or way of doing things is the correct one, and that the other person’s must be “wrong”. It’s not on purpose, it’s just that human imperfection kicks in, and fear of the unknown, or misunderstood slants our way of things.
For the purpose of this blog, let’s take a look at the exact definition of the two words in question. I grabbed both definition’s from Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:
- a: an injurious, unfair, or unjust act : action or conduct inflicting harm without due provocation or just cause
b: a violation or invasion of the legal rights of another; especially:tort
something wrong, immoral, or unethical; especially: principles, practices, or conduct contrary to justice, goodness, equity, or law
the state, position, or fact of being or doing wrong: as
a: the state of being mistaken or incorrect
b: the state of being guilty
Now contrast that definition with:
Guess what? Every one of us is different. We have different backgrounds, beliefs, abilities, disabilities, strengths and weaknesses. I think it is safe say that we can all agree that that there are NO two identical people on this planet. Even identical twins have different opinions, etc. In my humble opinion, ironically some of the factors that are most important, are often the first things that are overlooked: that each person has different pain and stress thresholds, and processes pain, thoughts and emotions differently from one another. Let me give some examples:
Physical Pain. Everyone has different pain thresholds and responses. Example: One person may have a headache and they may stay home in bed all day crying. Another person may have chronic migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, P.C.O.S. (polycystic ovarian syndrome), Endometriosis, M.S. (multiple sclerosis), lupus, R.A (rheumatoid arthritis), C.F.S. (chronic fatigue Syndrome), scleroderma, or one of dozens of chronic illness which are “unseen”. A “just a headache” for someone experiencing any of the above may be a dream, but does that make the person with the headache “wrong”? No, they honestly are not used to pain, and a headache is debilitating to them. In contrast though, don’t assume that someone with a chronic illness should be “used to” the pain. No matter how often you experience pain, you should never have to “be used to it”. And there are some times that the sensation of a “knife wrapped in barbed wire stabbing you” in the ovaries gets overwhelming.
Stress. Our bodies are built to handle X amount of stress. Each person’s threshold is different, but no matter WHAT you do, you can’t change that level. For instance: I know some people who have no kids or pets, and love to take a bunch of responsibilities on themselves, and then those people fall apart and start crying all the time saying that they are “just too stressed out and can’t handle it anymore.” Contrast this with other people I know who, do to no fault of their own, are thrust into situations with very ill kids, have chronic illnesses, have lots of pets, are always helping someone and almost ALWAYS have a smile on their face. Are one of the above two people “wrong”? No. They just have VERY different levels of stress they can cope with. The first person may WANT to be like the second person, but they just don’t have the ability to cope. The second person, who many people reading this think is doing it “right” may WANT to be able to say: “It’s too much I need help!”. They many not know how to vocalize their needs properly, or may not have enough self- worth to think of their own well-being, and they may end up in bad shape because of it.
Emotional Pain. Some people deal with incomprehensible emotional pain. From schizophrenia, multiple personality disorder, explosive disorder, and the autism spectrum to P.T.S.D. (post traumatic stress disorder), manic-depression, bipolar disorder, anorexia/bulimia, depression, Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D.), Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), anxiety disorders and everything in between. Unfortunately this is where the biggest stigmas come in. For instance, one person may be fine, and not need any medication to get through the day. That same person may say that no one NEEDS medication, but rather they just need to “think about happy things”. IF IT WERE ONLY THAT EASY!!!! All of the above disorders (plus many more that I didn’t mention) REQUIRE medication. And those of us with one (usually it’s more than one) of the above disorders, simply canNOT function without medication, as these disorders stem from the brain not producing certain chemicals, or producing too much of one…you get the idea. While the first person may be able to “think about happy things” and pull themselves out of a bad day, those of us with emotional disorders just can NOT do that some days, even with medication sometimes. Is that “wrong”? No, our brains are just wired differently.
Emotional Response. For instance, one person may “blow up” and rant about whatever is bother them, while the other person internalizes their stress and suffering and instead of talking about the problem, wishes to joke it off and change the subject instead. Are either of these responses “wrong”? NO. They are just different. You CAN’T expect the internalizer to talk to everyone about their problem and “vent” it, just like you can’t make the ranter internalize things. The only thing that you will accomplish by telling one of the above people that they are “wrong” in how their body deals with emotions, is that you will make them feel horrible. The “ranter” will go off and you and tell you that you are ridiculous. The “internalizer”may take this that they are messed up, or broken, and it will VASTLY complicate an already bad situation. Someone may pull away for a few days, or want to spill their guts out, or clam up, or cry, or joke, or go for a run, or something else. None of these coping mechanisms is “wrong”. Just DIFFERENT.
Please remember, just because someone is smiling on the outside, doesn’t mean that their smile is touching their soul. They may be crying on the inside, so please use your intuition, and instead of judging their reaction. Be a buddy (I had to get the Daily Post prompt in here somehow), give them a hug. Tell them you’re there and that you appreciate them for who they are. Tell them that no matter what happens, or how they handle it, that you will be there for them. Because THAT’S what they need to hear. Different makes the world go ’round. Different is good.