A frustrated man is bombarded by speech bubbles from all sides.

You Are Not In My Shoes!

For those who don’t have IBS but have an opinion on how severe my pain is in comparison to other “more serious” chronic illnesses, please keep your opinion to yourself. You have no idea what it is like to be in my shoes, nor anyone else’s that suffers from the same or any other condition. And, even if you do suffer from the same condition or another, you still have no right to tell me to what degree and how I’m experiencing pain because, again, you’re not in my shoes on a daily basis.

Talking about the pain is important

I’m sorry for this rant folks, but I feel I need to express my frustration sometimes so that others know I am very serious about being taken seriously! I get very tired and upset when people compare my illness to a different illness, especially when they have no idea what it’s like to suffer from either one. And, even if they did, I believe it’s only right to talk about the pain in a way that is more personal and doesn’t belittle the experience of others because we never truly know exactly what someone else is going through.

Pain is relative. We may suffer from similar symptoms, but our perception of those symptoms is unique to each individual. In other words, we may be experiencing the same reality, but our interpretation of said reality can be totally different.

Not every person with IBS is the same

With the same token of pain-perception being unique to the individual, I also believe that patients deserve specialized medical attention. For instance, many people are distinct in how they experience treatment. In other words, what works for one, may not necessarily work for another individual or group.

Therefore, when I see a doctor about my personal health concerns, I get tired of being treated like a patient who has a common cold, even though I have a commonly diagnosed disorder. I have had several doctors belittle the seriousness of my condition simply because their perception is that IBS is not a fatal or life-changing condition. When on the contrary, I believe it can be depending on how severely it impacts a person’s physical and mental health, and overall quality of life.

Nonetheless, sometimes doctors would compare my symptoms to others who also have IBS, almost insinuating that I should be having the same experience. It was as if the doctor was trying to discredit me because my symptoms would sound either a tad bit different or more severe than another patient with IBS.

And, all I could think about was, “You’re not in my shoes! You can’t tell me what I’m feeling!”

Friends and family do not get it

I also have dealt with many friends and family members who have demeaned my experience with IBS. Many of them wouldn’t believe me or would accuse me of overreacting about the pain. Some would even compare their experience with a stomach bug to my chronic condition, almost as if to insinuate that I can eventually get over the symptoms and move on. What they fail to realize is that IBS is a chronic condition which means it’s like getting a “stomach bug” every day, every week, or every month.

It’s one thing to compare to try to understand or empathize with. However, when you compare just to belittle or discredit someone’s experience, then your opinion holds no true weight or value. Therefore, when someone isn’t in my shoes and tries to tell me what I’m experiencing, I just take what they say with a grain of salt because I have more important things to place my energy on.

Can any of you reading this relate or understand where I’m coming from? Do you feel like people try to tell YOU how YOU feel when they’re not even the same shoe size, let alone in your shoes?! I’m sorry, I’m clearly still venting, lol. If you can relate, please feel free to share it with us below in the comments. Thanks for taking the time to read my article and I look forward to hearing your responses!

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

More on this topic

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The IrritableBowelSyndrome.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.