Chronic health problems...a license to be cranky and demanding?

United States
November 22, 2009 9:01pm CST
Hello all :)) I know of a number of people who suffer with chronic illnesses (I am one of them), and there are some who seem to take it in their stride and maintain kindness toward others and stay as independent as possible. And then there are those who seem to use their illnesses as a license to be demanding, attention seeking, and perpetually grouchy or even mean. When is it okay to tell them to stop it? Do you know people like this? How do you deal with them, or do you just humor them because they are ill? Myself, I like to live as independently as possible, still contribute, and such. And I hate to put others out, even though it is sometimes necessary to ask for help. Your opinions and experiences are most welcome :)) Karen
7 people like this
18 responses
@balasri (26554)
• India
28 Nov 09
Yes I have seen the sudden character and attitude change in some sick people. I think that it is due to the shock and disappointment of made to understood that they are sick in spite of their long held belief that nothing could go wrong with them. They start to look at the world with the eyes of bitterness. Their minds get filled up with self pity and jealousy at the people who are healthy. It needs greater understanding to deal with them. We can do that if we are aware that we also may come to that stage in the future.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Nov 09
Hi Balasri. I agree that becoming chronically ill, especially when treatment doesn't always help, can feel as though the rug has been pulled out from under you. It's hard to accept that one's life will be forever changed, but once that initial shock passes and one adapts, it's good to be as gracious as possible with others. Self-pity and jealousy are the enemies! Thank you for your wise insights. Karen
1 person likes this
@balasri (26554)
• India
28 Nov 09
Thanks a lot Karen.As you have mentioned the initial shock of knowing that they have afflicted with some illness will wane away slowly with the time and with the love and care of the loved ones.A sick person must be really lucky to have a compassionate companion than a good doctor.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Dec 09
You are so very right, Balasri. :)
@ANTIQUELADY (36489)
• United States
23 Nov 09
I know u do Karen as i do & i admire the way u keep on keeping on. People who spend their life sick & grunting about it drive me nuts. U know the kind of person i mean. I have all the compassion in the world for people who are really sick , don't get me wrong but some people seem to enjoy ill health & use it everyway they can. I have a dear friend that was grunting the first time i ever did her hair in 1962 , she is still grunting till this day. She does has problems & i love her dearly but she has done this forever, My mother was alot like that to, drove me nuts to be honest. Some people just make a career out of grunting.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Nov 09
LOL, Jo...I am bound and determined not to make a career of grunting and groaning! Those who do drive me nuts, too, hence my vow not to become like them. Besides, if we're ill or in pain, talking about it constantly just keeps it so much bigger than it has to be. And yes, some DO seem to enjoy their misery, and for the life of me, I have no idea why. Thank you for sharing that :) Karen
1 person likes this
@ANTIQUELADY (36489)
• United States
23 Nov 09
Me to , Karen. I heard alot of grunting working in the beauty shop all those years. Some of them thouroughly enjoyed ill healt, I DON'T.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Nov 09
@gabs8513 (48716)
• United Kingdom
23 Nov 09
Hi Karen I have COPD and Emphasima I was diagnosed 7 years ago with it but believed to have already had it for 4 years then It was a big shock to me as I had always been healthy and independent, I was also going through a divorce and I was bullied out of my 8 year Job which I fought for 6 months but then collapsed, the Company had to pay me some money as I had all the evidence to proof my Innocence in what I was being accused of For the first year I was terrible, not demanding or anything, but with drawn, angry, I just could not understand why My Children where wonderful they where 18 and 15 at the time I also ended up on Anti Depressants, due to a lot of things over many years but the Illness just did it and I could not cope, I had never been on them I tackled and fought everything myself always but my Doctor said no more So it took me a while to get my energy back but I still did things myself I did not shout or demand, yes I felt like I did not want to carry on, but I did, my Children where then and still are now my Rock Then I realized I was letting the Illness get to me and I started to fight back, my Doctor had told me I will not be able to work any more, there was another blow, I had to fight for a year to get my Disability, I lost my House, but I carried on and even now, I live alone, as I moved to a different Place from my Children, they live 3 hours away but they are always phoning I moved here 3 years ago in February to be with the Man who showed me what real love and care is , my Children both work and we are very close always have been To me if People let it get to them and turn demanding, horrible and attention seeking well I would tolerate it for so long but then I would say something I was advised that it might be a good Idea to get help in with the Housework I refused as I am still able to do it ok maybe bit by bit but my Flat is clean and I do it myself, no need to put someone through it when I can do it I am still independent, but I know if I ever need anything I have 2 lovely Neighbours who will help me out, a few Months back one of them (the Landlords Daughter) rushed me to Hospital at 11pm and stayed with me for the 5 hours I had to be on a drip and then brought me back home once the Hospital let me home, and I appreciate that If I feel down my Friends on here are always there, the Problem is People let it get them instead of finding a new Hobby I had never known how to use a Computer until I became Ill and everything I know is self taught it keeps my mind going and that is the secret find something to keep you going instead of making Peoples Life a misery The time to tell them to stop and to live their Life as well as they can I guess is when you think the time has come to open their eyes and tell them to be grateful to the fact they can still lead a Life there are others that can't Oooopppss sorry it is so long Karen
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Nov 09
Hi Gabs. Don't apologize for the length of your response. You've been through a lot and had a lot to say!! I frankly find a great deal of inspiration in your story. Life does not stop and neither do problems and added hardships just because we become ill. It makes it harder to handle it all, and yes, fighting against taking them for years, most of eventually DO need the help of an anti-depressant. And also yes, we all need the help of others sometimes. But...like you, I fight to stay as functional and independent as possible. I think that actually helps us. You've stated it perfectly...that one key is to find another way to live life fully when much has been taken away, hence working from home via the computer, and what a blessing that has been. It keeps us connected with others, keeps us constantly learning new things, and allows us to still earn some money :))) Thank you for sharing your very moving story. It is one of strength and encouragement. Karen
1 person likes this
@gabs8513 (48716)
• United Kingdom
23 Nov 09
And that is what keeps us going we have made adjustments in our Life Karen and we still keep ourselves busy and have found things to keep us occupied so that the Illness can not take over our Life we are controlling it, it is not controlling us Hugs to you
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Nov 09
:) You're exactly right! Hugs back to you :) Karen
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
23 Nov 09
Hi Karen, I've never come across the slightest grouch from you and didn't realise you were in pain. Others harp on about such things all the time as an excuse for their negative personalities. I know exactly what it's like to be dragged down with a condition which literally makes one scream in pain and I hated having to ask for help and certainly one of the worst parts was if a pain attack came on in public. If it was so bad I could literally do nothing but scream I'd rather be in the privacy of my own home. After the last bout of 5 years of such pain, not all day every day but generally a couple of hours a day, which is totally exhausting, I finally got the right help early this year and now am pain free whereas before I went constantly round in circles trying to find a solution, endless research etc. Due to two herniated discs at the top of my spine I went through two surgeries which involved having my throat cut open to remove the discs and was still in pain through totally damaged nerve ends. Nothing worked, until I met a dr who sorted it all with a rigid exercise programme to strenghten the muscles and spine, changes in lifestyle etc. Very few people would have access to anyone prepared to give so much time to help, when people talk of physio this was much more intense and worked on constantly in his own time as he is a marvellous person. The wonder of being able to drive again without pulling over in agony. I don't know if I'd had to endure much more of it what it would have turned me into, but it does show that their are solutions out there which are non invasive and there are other routes to be found beside the general dr's advice. Maybe there will be a solution out there for your illness Karen, I hope so.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Nov 09
Hi Thea. Nerve pain is the worst I've ever experienced. I had a pinched sciatic nerve for a year, and now have permanent nerve damage. Surgery and a partial spinal fusion ended the most excruciating pain, though. For fibromyalgia, there is no cure, but like you, I've been blessed with wonderful help from experts who use ways other than medication and such to help you settle down the pain. Pain and illness are hard, but it is not an excuse to be mean spirited, in my opinion, or to go on and on about it. I find that just makes the whole situation worse! I am so happy that you are better! :) Karen
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
23 Nov 09
Ooh, you've had it too, hell isn't it. My friend the Dr though assures me that nerve damage does not have to be permanent which is what I'd previously been told, but can be fixed and I've not had what I call a pain attack since early May. I was cautious for a while and kept expecting it to come back but I do everything he told me as he really knew exactly what he spoke of (very well educated American). He said no one should ever have spinal surgery except as a last last resort as all it does is put more pressure on other discs so you have to work hard to counteract it. I'd tried all sorts of different meds and none of them worked for the pain but often left me feeling like a zombie, but he just switched it to simple ibruprofen every day. I'm definitely more cheerful now its out of the way as it was no fun being suddenly immobilised with pain and never knowing how long it would last. The other condition you have is shared by Mentalward here.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Nov 09
A good doctor is a blessing! I'm so happy that you've found a way to beat the pain. I think good drs. never recommend spinal surgery except as a last resort, which it was for me. I could barely walk for a year, and was in constant agony, so did consent evetually, and I've not regretted it. That was four years ago! Karen
@ilyzium (1206)
• Canada
23 Nov 09
Yes well I also suffer from chronic health conditions myself, and although I may at times be tempted to scream or practically strangle someone, I don't and refrain from doing that. When when I'm really not feeling well, I just lie low and turn into a hermit. However, other family members or friends are unable to do this and will take out their frustrations on me. While of course I am sympathetic to their health issues, as it's not pleasant being in pain, I will try to distance myself from them when they're feeling this way. My Father in particular has a long list of ailments: everything from type 2 diabetes, slipped disk, chronic back pains from an old accident, excruciating headaches, arthritis, osteo, as well as many more that I can't even remember.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Nov 09
Hi Ilyzium. It is awful to have chronic health problems or pain, but like you, I just stick to myself rather than taking my frustrations with it out on others. Plus...it helps to do that when some friends and family members just do not understand or accept one's limitations, let alone when they degrade you for them. I wish you more good days than bad :) Karen
@ilyzium (1206)
• Canada
23 Nov 09
Thank you Karen, I wish the same for you too. It would be nice if we could just wave a magic wand around, and "presto" illness "good-bye.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Nov 09
Wouldn't that be great? :)
@moneymommy (3420)
• United States
23 Nov 09
I do believe it can make you cranky at times. But even though I am in constant pain, I am not demanding or cranky.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Nov 09
Hi MoneyMommy...I can certainly identify, as I've had fibromyalgia, among other things, for over 25 years. I did not handle it well as a younger woman at times, and it seemed to drive people away. I learned in a hurry to regain some of my dignity, and treat others with the dignity THEY deserved, as well. Karen
• United States
23 Nov 09
I missed this.. Seems as if you have fibromyalgia too. Goodness 25 years? I hope it has gotten better for you!
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Nov 09
Hi Barbara...the hardest times were when I was raising the kiddos and doing the heavy housework. Over time, we find ways and things that do help and we learn to pace ourselves :)
• India
21 Dec 09
Hello my frend PeacefulWmn9 Ji, Well, I am sufferingwith RA / DM2 / HTN / UTI since 17 / 10 /23/5 yrs in order. It was my hubby only, who made me to live independently. In 2003, we had to undertake Flight to Miami, and it took me one year to overcomefear from my mind that I could take that flt. In fact in those days I used to be always with some aid like stool to climb on Bike/scooter. How to reach after flying for 222-23 hrs with one transit.But my hubby did all this and that flt made me realize thatr one should live independently till help is required. At this old age, our mutual help is very much needed. You have also been great helpabout my patient. I overlook such patient, who pose taht tehy are sick and require attention from everyone.One suchcases is of our elder DIL's grand mother, Sje has been bed-ridden since 15 yrs and wants everyone stand by and listen to her.nurse her. May God bless You and have a great time.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Dec 09
Hello to you :) Kindness and mutual help, between spouses, and among our family and friends is so crucial to our well-being, even moreso when we suffer a chronic illness. It truly helps us become more positive that life is still worth the living. Those who cave in to self-pity, I believe, only make themselves feel worse, and it becomes difficult for those kind people who help them, take care of them, and love them. Do take care and thank you for your response. God bless you, Karen
1 person likes this
• India
22 Dec 09
Hello my frend PeacefulWmn9 Ji, So nice of you for your pleasing comments. Chronic illness pronounces during old age, when one's limbs too never coperate with individual and look at all possible help from all direction. For this we should be closely related withoiuany type of curtain in between both spouses and then according o other relation and upto friends at myLot. I would firstly give example that many helped me topo sort out many problems of varrying in nature. May God bless You and have a great time.
• United States
23 Nov 09
I was in my twenties when I first developed cancer, had the radiation and then for the past ten years or so have been in pain. It took me some time to get over myself in the beginning. It was a hard adjustment. I have learned so much from my illness though, and has made me grow up and realize I am not the only one going through difficulties. Some days I am not perfect and I feel like crawling in my bed and not getting out. Sometimes I do just that. Other days in spite of the pain I can move mountains. It is something I find I must always work on. Each day is different.I find that depression can be the most debilitating of all. Sometimes when we have chronic illness and pain, we must also try to heal the mind, as it sometimes can be overwhelmed. Hope this helps!
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Nov 09
How do I deal with these people? I share my stories of how rotten I was in my twenties. How I complained and had my moments. I was going through treatment feeling sorry for myself, then I turn around and see a three year old going through the same illness and pain with a constant smile on their face. Who am I to complain? It is learning to live in your skin no matter what the circumstance. It takes time, patience, experience, just like everything else.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Nov 09
Bless your heart Barbara. What a beautiful attitude you have. I went through the stages much as you have, the first years of illness being the worst...it was scary, depressing, and maddening! Like you, I admire how children deal with such things. Aren't they all troopers? And it does help us gain perspective. As you said, each day is different, and we're never sure what a given day will bring, but with time and practice, we do tend to become better at managing the body and mind and its pain, rather than letting it manage us. Thank you for sharing the encouragement, and be as well as you can! :) Karen
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
25 Nov 09
I think that a lot of the way that a person with a chronic health condition behaves has to do with their personality before they had a chronic health condition. My grandmother was one of the people that I knew that had a chronic health problem, but she was never any more cranky and demanding after she was diagnosed with diabetes than before she was diagnosed with it. I think that it would be best for people to take their conditions in stride than to be cranky and demanding about the fact that they've developed a chronic condition.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Nov 09
You make an excellent point I'd not considered, but it makes perfect sense. Sick or well, underneath it all, we are who we are :) Karen
@cher913 (25891)
• Canada
24 Nov 09
well, i know when i am feeling really tired or sore i tend to be grumpy and have to apologize to my family but i try to be upbeat and postive and like you, i hate to put people out!
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Nov 09
I Cher. I do know it's harder to be patient when we're hurting or exhausted. If we don't carry it overboard and apologize, as you do, I think family understands :) Karen
@Canellita (12058)
• United States
24 Nov 09
No one, healthy or otherwise has the right to go around making other's miserable just because they can. That kind of behavior is childish and you can tell anyone at any time they are inappropriate.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Nov 09
Yes, childish, thoughtless...I can think of many terms. Thank you for the response.
@cream97 (29169)
• United States
23 Nov 09
Hi, PeacefulWmn9! If they get on my nerves I will either ignore them or tell them about themselves. I had to let my mother-in-law know about this some years back. I told her that just because she is sick does not give her a right to be mean and mistreat me or others. I told her that it was not fair. I told her that I know many people whom are sicker than she is, that does not mistreat others. I told her that it was no excuse for her attitude. I told her that it was her own evil mind telling her to be mean. It was a choice, she did not have to be mean, she just chose to be mean to others. I dislike it when people are this way. They think that they can just get away with being ugly, being they have an illness or an condition. It is sad that they are this way, but the only thing that we can do is just inform them that they have to treat others as they would like to be treated, whether they are sick or not.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Nov 09
Hi Cream. Some people near to hear it, straight up like that. None of us who are ill should take it out on others. I hope your communication with your mom-in-law helped :) Karen
@savypat (20246)
• United States
23 Nov 09
I don't like for people to know that I am ill, so I don't talk about it unless I have been asked a direct question and I try to always be up beat in my attitude. When I hurt to much to do this I just stay away from others, why should they have to put up with me when I am ill?
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Nov 09
I normally do not discuss mine, either! I feel much as you do, and simply hole up somewhere to protect others from me lol. Karen
@victory12 (348)
• Nigeria
23 Nov 09
Hi Karen, I pray God will heal you, pertaining to those that are affected with those kind of sickness I know many of them here in my country, some of them move up and down all the day begin for money, sometime i do give them money if i have and if i don't have Enoch cash i just past away.I don't make chest of them because my father won me frequently not to make chest of anybody that God created and he also supported his word with some verse in the bible.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Nov 09
Hello Victory. Prayer is a constant help to me :)) I think it is very wise of you to help the ill or less fortunate and not make fun of them. That was good advice your father gave you. We are ALL God's creatures, just as he said, and He loves us equally. That is how we should treat one another, too. Thank you for your input :) Karen
@doryvien (2293)
• United States
23 Nov 09
Hi Karen, I must agree with you, most if not all people who suffer from certain illness tend to be cranky and mean. It must be difficult being not able to function normally due to the limitations brought about by the illness. Personally when faced with these people, I try to understand them and to a certain degree tolerate them. I sympathize with them and try to be a little nicer to them, otherwise they'll feel self-pity which could aggravate their situation.
• United States
23 Nov 09
Hi Dory :) You have a compassionate and generous spirit, which not everyone does. I do believe however we hurt, we've no right to hurt others. There are better ways to vent our feelings of pain or frustration when sick. Thank you for your kind input :) Karen
@bodhisatya (2384)
• India
23 Nov 09
Hi Karen, What is it that you are suffering from? I used to have persistent allergic colds and would sneeze a lot. I used to get to annoyed when it would occur, but thank God this has not been bothering me for the past year or so. It came suddenly and I believe its gone now. My father is a great attention seeker but he isn't suffering from any chronic illness. But its so fun to be with him. Bodhi
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Nov 09
Hi Bodhi. Allergies indeed feel like one has a constant cold. Ugh. I am happy that you no longer have that trouble and I hope it stays away :) I have fibromyalgia and nerve damage from a spinal condition. This equals pain and the inability to do many things, but...it does not equal a license to be full of self-pity or to be mean spirited! We adjust; we learn to love what we have rather than what's been lost, and we make a new and different life! Enough of that talk :)) I appreciate your feedback, as always. Karen
• China
23 Nov 09
I didn't like people who asked for special care because of their illness.In daily life, if someone kept telling everybody he met that he was sick or caught a cold, I would show indifference when he looked for sympathy or attention. But now my attitude changed, I gradually understand that people who are ill. not just physical cure for the illness needed, psychology care or attention from friends or relatives are also necessary.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Nov 09
Hi Smile :) I do believe that as people mature they develop compassion for those who are ill. They do need love and companionship, of course. But I think those of us who suffer should not grieve others with it, and that it is not good to wallow in it. But all compassion is greatly appreciated :)) Karen
@carpenter5 (6786)
• United States
23 Nov 09
Oooo...You mean chronic back pain gives me a license to be qwitchy? There are days when I hurt so bad I can't stand it. I know there are days when I'm grouch, but I try hard not to be. My biggest irritation right now is that I can't do what I need or want to do. I hate being dependent on my husband and children to do the simplist things for me.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Nov 09
Aww, I hate chronic pain, too, and have some real crumby "conditions" which cause the 24/7 kind. Like you, I hate that I cannot do all the things I want or need to do, and it's degrading to have to ask for help, so I try not to. But sometimes, we simply have to. But nope, it doesn't give us a license to be nasty with others. I do wish you all the best, and I will keep you in my prayers. Karen