Competitive sickness syndrome *Guest Post*

27 04 2011

**Guest post** As requested cut n paste as is without correction to spelling or grammar…

Dear Grumpyhatlady,

Please post this rant for me. Just cut & paste the whole thing without editing if you dont mind.


Is it just me or has anyone else noticed how many people try to out do each other with illnesses and conditions in real life and on the internet?

I dont know if its the growth of sites like facebook, bebo, tumblr and twitter that has brought it to our attention more or if there are just more competitive hypochondriacs out there nowadays. There is a new competitive sickness syndrome that goes beyond auntie bunty and her bunions.

And then after chatting with someone online, I noticed theres a whole group of people who have, ‘I’m more disabled than you syndrome’ and they all fight amongst themselves about who is more ill or more affected.

You cant judge others on your own experience or response to illness.

And what is with the twitter hashtag #spoonie? I read the original article The Spoon Theory which is a great explanation of living with Lupus or any other truly exhausting conditions but now people have adopted the term because theyre a bit sleepy or depressed and they think its a great term for their varying sicknesses. Its just another label. #Spoonie my ass.

This sickness lark isnt a competition. Having a lifetime of illness is not something to boast about or judge people against, it doesnt define a human. It irritates me when people collect labels and sickness like its a new painting or a new suit.

As people who are looking for recognition as individuals instead of a label, theyre doing a really bad job of convincing me there is more to them. Come on, I want to know the human, not the illness. The illness may be a part of  life but its not the only part, there must be a human in there somewhere who wants to interact and talk about something other than a condition, or is that just me?


The author of this post has an aggressive form of MS. He holds down a full time job as a lecturer with a supportive employer who sees there is more to him than his condition. He hates being defined by a label and is someone who lives with MS, not someone crippled by MS.


Cheers mate.

S** T******* < GHL&C starred out the name.


———–>GHL&C Edited to add, please see this post for information on the author




6 responses

27 04 2011
Sanabitur Anima Mea

LAtenteistence may be a bit harsh, but I agree. People liing with illnesses have found huge support through that hashtag.

27 04 2011
Margo Milne

Well lucky you, “author of this post”. I also have MS, and had to give up my PhD just short of completion because my fatigue and the cognitive effects of the MS got too bad. And yes, my university was hugely supportive.

You’ll see on my avatar there that I identify as a spoonie. That’s because it’s the best damn way I’ve found of explaining to “outsiders” how fatigue affects me.

MS certainly isn’t all there is to me, but it’s part of me. And it cripples me.

27 04 2011
Sam B

While I agree with Latentexistence on the point about #Spoonie, I can honestly say that the “disability dickmeasuring” pisses me off no end.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of really, really great people out there who give fantastic support, but there are a small few who Internet diagnose themselves, or somehow manage to “get” certain issues when they learn about them. When I put something on twitter, I get a lot of replies that are sympathetic or helpful in someways, but there are one or two where I get “well, I did that yesterday and had to go to A&E, it can’t be as bad as that” or similar.

Fair enough, share your experiences, but don’t give me “it could be worse, you could be me” because illnesses can’t and shouldn’t be measured against each other. I can see the main point of the rant is this and I agree, there’s too much competing. I’ll be doing my best not to do it (I don’t as far as I know), I wish others had the same opinion. What does it prove in the end, really?

27 04 2011
Grumpyhatlady & Chums » If you can’t say something constructive…

[…] that in mind some of the responses to the post about Competitive Sickness Syndrome were a sad display of inability to open up to debate or accept different opinions, which resorted […]

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