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    • #22449

      This is a hard topic to write about, because I certainly do not want to come across as insensitive to the needs or feelings of others. However, do you ever find it hard to be compassionate or supportive to someone who is letting such an insignificant issue bother them, when we’re living with a fatal lung disease?

      I know that we are incapable of understanding how issues affect others, and that something we perceive as unimportant may be very important to someone else. I also know that I shouldn’t compare my problems with theirs. Unfortunately I take on the emotions of others, I always have, and I went into an appointment recently with a very negative attitude because this person “slimed me” with their problems. I can’t even say I agree that they are real problems, especially compared to trying to navigate life with failing lungs. I want to be there for this person, but I also want to tell them to “put on their adult pants and  get over it”, because letting minuscule issues consume you is not worth it. Life is too short for that!

      By no means am I encouraging those of us living with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) to not be compassionate towards others, but I am curious if any of you have a harder time with this since your diagnosis? This is one gift that IPF has given me; I have a better understanding of what is worthy of my time and energy vs. what is not. Without a diagnosis of a fatal disease, I don’t think many others understand this which is why I am trying to be compassionate towards this individual but I am struggling.

      What are your thoughts?

    • #22467
      Taleena Koch

      I totally get what you’re saying.  The unfortunate reality is that everyone is dealing with something and it is ‘their reality’.  Each person’s life doesn’t stop sucking just because they know someone worse off than they are.  The important thing for everyone to remember – and sometimes we all need a reality check on this – is that there is always someone out there who has it worse than us.  Yes, it is easy for each of us to get wrapped up in what is bothering us at the time.  We all need an outlet to work through it.  Whether that outlet is a friendly ear and shoulder to cry on or venting in a support group or going out in the middle of nowhere for a good scream.  Problems are problems.  But yes, when we are going through something difficult – especially when it is something as difficult as IPF/PF and we know the end result of this – it’s sometimes hard to have compassion for others whose problems are not life ending.  It is however important to recognize that each person has something they’re going through and when possible, help them through it.  (Sometimes this helps us take our minds off our own problems too.) However, sometimes this requires more mental energy than we can give.  I personally have never had to deal with a life threatening illness living in my own body.  But I do live in chronic pain.  There are times when even I feel like saying to someone “stop whining, at least you’re perfectly healthy and you can do anything physically that you want to do”.  I also remember when mom was alive – but I knew she was not going to be for long – and there were times when I wanted to scream at people “AT LEAST YOUR MOTHER ISN’T DYING!”  Moral of the story – we each have our own reality that we are living in.  It’s not a competition.  Compassion for others is important.  There are times when our own lives suck so much that we just don’t have the compassion in us.  It’s important for those close to you to also try to be more empathetic to your struggles.  Hopefully when they read your story, they will be.  #LIVEwithPF

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