Am I alone in wondering why people say the most ridiculous things to me in an attempt to empathise maybe or be helpful? How do you cope with it? From lectures on dropping dairy, turmeric curing me, friends who sailed through chemo because they were ‘ strong’ , all that warrior language irritates me, you’re the strongest person I know you’ll kick it’s arse, you need to be brave, only strong minded people get through this. Oh you’ve had to shave your head? Shame you could’ve saved it, not likely it was coming out in chunks, at least you’ll get ready quicker, less time in the shower, great to be signed off work in the summer though! My aunt/friend/work colleague had it and tried xyz, they were amazing, they died sadly!!!! I could go on on but recently my patience is wearing thin and my smile and words of thanks are slipping somewhat. A friend texted me and said don’t worry you’ll be fine and I could help it, asked for a look in her crystal ball!!
How do others cope with it? My default is humour but it’s running out!!!!
That should say smile and words of thanks, can’t work out how to edit posts
I really hate it when people say ‘you are so strong’ no I’m not strong, I actually mentally very weak compared to most I think! And I’m not doing anything different to anyone else would do. And the ‘you just have to stay positive’ people, like omg, do you think I want to be negative? No but you have to be realistic, we have something that can very easily kill us, where’s the positives in that!!!
oh that made me feel better!
Oh I’m with you!! Didn’t pick cancer cause I’m brave, of course I’m positive until I speak to idiots, the other one that blows my mind is, you never get more than you can cope with in life!!!! Oh really!!! Argh!!!!
glad it made you feel lighter, I think it’s made me feel lighter too!! Have a good day, hope it’s full of helpfulness!!!
Oh my...I now feel I'm in the company of people who 'get it.'
Anna12345, you're not alone. The clichés are choking me. That is why I have decided not to even tell my family. Oh be positive, don't worry etc. As if worrying and feeling un-positive are light switches we can flick on and off. I think people can be quite silly. I wish they could just be silent. I mean, silence is better than a truckload of clichés!
I also know that they don't mean it when they say "should you need anything I'm here for you," what a sad little lie. Because when you actually need them they are not there.
Oh that felt better to finally write it down too!
I hear you! Literally just opened the door to dhl man who’s been delivering here 10 years, 1 min ago as I’d logged on to answer you, you ok he says, cancer, I say shrugging, ah you’ll beat that you’ strong my uncle had prostrate cancer and they said he’d die but he took experimental treatment and he’s still here two years later just be brave!! Argh!!!!!!!
And yes, anything at all I can do, anything??? Actually could you drop me at the hospital for chemo? Er no I hate hospitals! You can’t come in with me, it’s just a lift, still no! I have a handful of amazing friends who are brilliant and about 20 ‘ambulance chasers’ who just wind me up!!
Thank you for this post Anna. I'm.intensly irritated by some of the things that come out of people's mouths but also how they treat you when they know. This is the 3rd time I've had to deal with this so decided to keep it quite. Asked close family to keep it to themselves. Which has been an impossible task for them because the world and its wife now seem to know. I felt extremely upset yesterday and actually stamped my foot like a child. I've had a sleepless night feeling awful about getting angry and annoyed people know when I preferred them not to.
I agree that people can say daft things ('you're so brave' is a continual one for me - I don't have a choice but to get on with it!). However, just to give the other perspective, I think people have no idea what to say sometimes so opt for something very benign, or something to show that they think you're doing great. People have absolutely no idea what it is like to be in this situation until you are in it. I know I had no idea. It is difficult for some people to find the words so they say something which they think is positive.
I found it interesting that people who I barely knew turned out to be people who were always asking after me and taking an interest and others who I thought were at least pretty interested in my welfare went completely silent on me and never once checked in.
I haven't taken offence with any of it, people are all different and some suffer from social awkwardness. Cancer is still a huge word for a lot of people and they can't even talk about it. For others, they think breast cancer is the easiest cancer to get over and they just assume you'll be absolutely fine as they know so many people who have been OK - they don't realise how grueling the treatment is, nor how frightening it is when it is YOU in that situation.
My advice would be to ditch anyone who is truly toxic and give the well-meaning ones the benefit of the doubt. As irritating as people can be.
Really good advice Beatthebeast and I do agree that help and support often comes from where you least expect it. I know it’s awkward for people and I get more frustrated when it comes from people who do have experience of it in their own lives, I do try to remember it all comes from a good place, thanks you for your thoughts xx