So, my dear friends, it is silly o’clock once again and I’m sat writing this because notes and a title weren’t enough. Brain fog can make writing particularly difficult as sometimes I completely forget the point or ending to something between night and the following day. This idea was too good to lose in the fog.
Language is the best of descriptors and nothing quite defines us like words be that in with negative connotations or not. How we talk about ourselves or the lives we lead has a vulnerable truthness that isn’t seen too often if you look for it. Even when one is joking about oneself a grain of truth is behind every witty sarcasm and self-deprecating comment. (After pausing to read that, can I ascertain say I should write around the early hours of the night more often? Vocab for days haha)
When a lovely health professional once told me about the concept of what I use to essentially label myself in words at least was how I felt about myself and how I viewed myself. I brushed it off like most teenagers would. As I have gotten older I have really seen the clarity of their wisdom.
Of course, we all have our own unique interpretations of the definitions behind a word but mostly we all have a sense of a word and what it means. How we use language can have an impact on how we see ourselves and how other people do.
For example, if you need help with personal care or rather personal tasks than for someone who is helping you with those things to say “I am going to help so and so get ready for the night” it might be more favourable than saying “I am going to put so and so in the bath”
I know they sound like petty minute things but one explains an adult needing help the other has an undertone of a caregiver to a child. The child has no choice in the matter rather than being an adult who needs help or assistance.
In my mind, there is a big difference between ‘care’ and ‘assistance’. I can’t deny that someone giving assistance is, in fact, caring for you but it sounds like the ill person is in control. There is a choice and for each individual, we all have the words we encounter as a Chronically ill people that are nails on a chalkboard. Everyone has their preferred vocabulary and everyone is different.
Now you may be completely against all of what I’ve said but struggled with say how people label your health or even your condition. To make a joke about it and label yourself in a slightly derogatory manner might actually be how you feel in a tiny particle of you.
In my experience, it’s the people around you who may struggle with this more than you in terms of upset.
If I am less than complimentary towards my wheelchair or my general state of health, I have made someone cry before. At the time I defended it by saying it was just me dealing with it by laughing rather than crying. It was true I did that to make it less awkward for me. Looking back now, the labels I was putting on myself were an accurate representation of how out of place and awkward I felt in myself living alongside ME. I felt like I had woken up into this strange new world with barely any recollection of how I got to this place. I felt disjointed with the body I housed and what was now part of everyday life. Abilities and symptoms were like trains in the night, departing and arriving with no rhyme or reason.
Words matter and maybe if you get ill young like me then there is a time when the vocabulary used might not fit anymore or even as you age and your condition shifts you may find words that you never had a problem with and suddenly react to. That is to be expected. I know the concept of what I’m talking about sounds small and pedantic but in my life, it made a big difference.
When I started to value myself even with all the limitations I have I stopped referring to myself in some ways perhaps rarely I will but it’s not that often.
Words have a tremendous power and we need to label correctly. What do you think? Comment down below and tell me your thoughts I’d love to hear from you.