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Forums / Staying well / Are you a sufferer?

Topic: Are you a sufferer?

12 posts, 0 answered
  1. Chris B
    Community Manager
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    Chris B avatar
    1757 posts
    16 April 2015
    Do you describe yourself as suffering from a mental illness? Do you feel that this accurately reflects your experience, or do you feel it is a negative label that disempowers you from taking steps to stay well?
    1 person found this helpful
  2. White Rose
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    White Rose avatar
    6325 posts
    16 April 2015 in reply to Chris B

    I think it reflects an old way of thinking. Anyone who was ill, no matter what the illness, was always "suffering from....."  And in some respects that was true and probably still is. Today we have the benefit of many drugs that relieve the 'suffering' part of illness. Unfortunately the term has stuck and is now applied to illnesses that people have difficulty understanding, such as mental illness.

    It's more likely that the onlooker is the person 'suffering'. I really dislike this word, especially in the context of mental illness. It makes the person with the illness sound like a animal who needs to be put to sleep because of an incurable and painful illness. Not this little black duck.

    Suffering is a patronising word applied to someone less fortunate than the speaker. I know we are in pain with depression, but I was in pain when I broke my leg and no one referred to me as suffering. In some ways it almost sounds as though the "sufferer" has to put up with the condition, possibly as a form of punishment or trial of strength and endurance. And they should also "suffer in silence".

    When people refer to themselves as suffering I wonder how much they realise they are putting themselves down. It's like self-pity and asking for special indulgences. Come on folks, we're better than that.

    Mary

     

  3. white knight
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    white knight avatar
    9755 posts
    16 April 2015 in reply to White Rose

    Hi Chris and Mary,

    Not often I disagree with Mary.  They're only words. But yes, I do use the word sufferer and I have the reason that I dont believe I will ever shake off the downers of my illnesses. So, in effect I will always suffer them. Yes, get better a little progress at a time but not substantially well all the time....hence sufferer is valid. Like suffering from migraine headaches.

    I dont think the word "suffering" restricts me in any way to get well. What it does is help me accept my illness as part of my life forever.

    Illness is a word also used a lot. Do we exchange that for something else? Like brain abnormality?

    There is a point here though. Do we tell others, like new friends?....I suffer from a mental illness. It is accurate!! But it is terms that would see some compassionate people run away quickly. I say, when I am comfortable with them, "Got some issues I'm working my way through...depression and the like".

    I sound like I've contradicted myself. ok, lets try something on mass. From now on we say "I'm try to leap through hoolah hoops"  lol

    Tony WK

  4. Doolhof
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    Doolhof avatar
    8810 posts
    16 April 2015 in reply to Chris B

    Hi Chris, this is an interesting couple of questions! I have read Mary and Tony's replies, so now I will add my own in regard to what you have written.

    Is it any different if you tell people "I HAVE DEPRESSION" rather than "I AM SUFFERING FROM DEPRESSION?"

    I generally tell people that I have depression and if I am having a really bad time with it say I am suffering with my depression. "Having" something seems quite different to me than"suffering" from it! I had never really thought of it that way until you posed the question!

    I looked up my Thesaurus, and under suffering it has these words: agony, anguish, discomfort, distress, hardship, misery, ordeal, pain and torment.   That just about sums up depression on a bad day!

    I feel that some people suffering/ having/experiencing depression will feel unable to have a sense of empowerment no matter what words they use to describe and label their depression.

    So for me, yes I have an illness/disease/condition that goes by the name of DEPRESION. Sometimes I am able to cope with it and still feel like a wonderful person, other times it almost totally defeats me and then I certainly do label it as suffering.

    Those are my thoughts today...maybe tomorrow I could feel differently about it all. That too is something about a mental illness, each day brings it's own response to how we think and act.

    That is my thought for the day!

    Cheers from Mrs. Dools

     

     

     

     

  5. jusrob10
    blueVoices member
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    jusrob10 avatar
    5 posts
    18 April 2015

    It can be a demeaning word suffering, but if you put a microscope on everyone in the world, we all suffer in our own way, whether large or small.

    Something I stubble across on whilst browsing the web was the idea that people that don't 'suffer' or are 'healthy', take the things that those who do for granted.

    An example, for me doing little tasks can be the hardest battle of my life on a daily basis. Yet for my friends, family and so on, they do these tasks without a second thought. Yes, they may not want to do them, but physically and mentally they are capable.

    Whether you call it an illness, suffering, or plainly just having a bad day, there are many words that can be used to describe the disparity in peoples lives. For me, no label is as painful as experiencing it first hand, and to say that people with a mental illness are 'suffering', can sometimes not do it justice.

    The only reason why one may be suffering, is because those who take for granted what they are able to do feel an obligation to label someone who can't do what they take for granted.

    No matter what you call it or how you say it, it is an uphill battle.

    1 person found this helpful
  6. Doolhof
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    Doolhof avatar
    8810 posts
    19 April 2015 in reply to jusrob10

    Hi Jusrob10,

    Thanks for your sharing. It has helped me to see this issue from a different perspective.

    I agree with you, some days it can seem so very difficult to get out of bed in the morning let alone do anything once you are up. For people not suffering from depression or any other debilitating illness, they might not be able to comprehend how difficult it can be.

    Years ago I had Chronic Fatigue. It was so bad I had difficulty just rolling over in the bed. Trying to get up could take me an hour or more. My husband would have to let me know about two hours before I needed to go out sometimes so I would have enough time to be ready!

    I found it to be so ridiculously funny to be stuck there in the bed, unable to move a muscle. Well I could move a few muscles, because I used to laugh at my situation. I found it easier to cope with that than depression. I still try to laugh but it isn't always possible to do so.

    I'm way off track here everyone!

    Cheers for now from Mrs. Dools

  7. geoff
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    geoff avatar
    16228 posts
    20 April 2015 in reply to Chris B

    dear Chris, well there have been some great comments here, however the past tense for 'suffers' is actually 'suffers', while present tense is used in a phrase such as 'is suffering', or we could say is 'experiencing depression', 'feeling depressed' or showing signs or symptoms of being depressed, or signs and symptoms of depression'.

    I have arthritis, caused by pouring pot after pot or by hampering a nail in here there and everywhere and yes I'm old, but I do suffer from it's aches and pains, but I could also say I 'experience arthritis' or I suffer from arthritis', so to me it's the second word that carries most of the weight, that is 'depression or arthritis'.

    I was replying to a post where this particular person was having a terrible time, had depression, family break-up, and in the context of my reply I was going to use the word 'suffering', but after reading this post early this morning I decided to refrain from using it.

    Everybody has had different types or sorts of depression, and it doesn't matter whether it's been 2 months or 20 years because we all know that it's such a debilitating illness, but each of us may have put it to bed, learnt to overcome it, or have been able to control it as much as we can, so we all have our own expressions, and to me it doesn't matter whether you use the word 'experience, signs, symptoms or suffer' when you want to relay the word 'depression'.

    The person we are trying to help wouldn't care much what word out of the four or perhaps another word we use, but when they recognise the word depression, we then have drawn their attention.

    The word 'depression' said to someone could be a negative indication that they are not well, but I don't think that it's any sign 'not to get well', but that they need to get well. Geoff.

     

  8. White Rose
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    White Rose avatar
    6325 posts
    20 April 2015 in reply to jusrob10

    Dear Jusrob

    Fantastic comment. I really like your statement -

    The only reason why one may be suffering, is because those who take for granted what they are able to do feel an obligation to label someone who can't do what they take for granted.

    This is the essence of my remarks. Yes we all suffer when we are unwell and we suffer when a loved one is unwell and in many other scenarios.

    The basis of my dislike of the word next to the name of an illness is the labelling aspect. We used to label people as diabetic, epileptic, quadriplegic etc. Now we talk about a person who has...... It stops seeing someone as a disease. Gives equal dignity to that person and helps to stop the, often unthinking, discrimination or condescension. Suffering....... comes under the same heading.

    Cheers

    Mary

  9. the_motorcycle_boy
    the_motorcycle_boy avatar
    264 posts
    23 April 2015 in reply to Chris B

    Hi Chris,

    "Suffer" and "suffering" are words that I sometimes find hard to use when describing someone with a mental illness (myself included). Although they appear harmless enough, the use of these terms can place someone, I think, in a "weakened" position. They can lead to a surrendering of self control, responsibility and initiative. And as a result, people may be less self-determined and less assertive and can be overlooked or miss opportunities themselves, to get better.

    Labels can easily negate a person, I believe, especially in the case of the mentally ill. So, for me, it's best to regard the individual as a person first, ensuring that their mental health problems are viewed in the correct light. For example, "Jane is a 29 year old lady who has endogenous depression" is an accurate, factual description for a person. However, "She suffers from depression" is a bit negative and self-defeating and more like labelling, to me. Choosing politically correct words all of the time may seem like a waste of energy but I think the improvement in self-esteem and general attitudes, makes it well worthwhile.

    TMB

    1 person found this helpful
  10. Doolhof
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    Doolhof avatar
    8810 posts
    26 April 2015 in reply to the_motorcycle_boy

    Hi TMB,

    Just wanted to thank you for your very well written post. I like your point of view on this topic and how you described everything.

    Cheers, from Mrs. Dools

    1 person found this helpful
  11. the_motorcycle_boy
    the_motorcycle_boy avatar
    264 posts
    27 April 2015 in reply to Doolhof

    Thanks a lot Mrs Dools, you're most welcome. It was great to read your very kind remarks.

    Cheers

    TMB

    1 person found this helpful
  12. Doolhof
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    Doolhof avatar
    8810 posts
    1 May 2015 in reply to the_motorcycle_boy

    Hi TMB,

    KINDNESS: sometimes I really think people are too busy or distracted to take the time out to show kindness to others.

    I certainly appreciate a little kindness in my life, it does make the suffering a lot easier to handle.

    All of us "suffering" from a mental illness need to show ourselves a little kindness, and if others are able to give it to us as well, our road to recovery will be all the more smoother because of it.

    Hope you are travelling well TMB.

    From Mrs. Dools

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