Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Love Beats Hate

Love Beats Hate

I know quite a few people with chronic pain of various kinds. I myself have chronic migraines and use prescription medication to help control them.

Apparently, some people have decided it is OK to make fun of us, to ridicule us and insult us. I know it is difficult to understand chronic illness if you have not experienced it yourself, but to make fun of someone for something you do not understand is the lowest of low. It's so childish that children look down on it.

I have chronic migraines. My pain levels to not reach as high as people expect, but I get all the fun side effects. I get sensitivity to light and sound, fatigue, dizziness, vertigo, loss of concentration, tingling in hands and/or feet, random pains (usually in my temples), nausea, and other things. These used to last for days, even weeks, before I would get the standard migraine pain and get over it. I had a manager at one point who also got migraines, but not as frequently, with fewer side effects and higher pain. She couldn't understand that I could work through my migraines, that I didn't have to just go home. She didn't understand that if I went home every time I was getting a migraine, I would never be at work.

With some lifestyle changes and prescription medication, I have been able to somewhat control my migraines. Somewhat. But many people still don't understand.

I have friends with fibromyalgia, MS, migraines, crohn's, depression, bipolar, thyroid diseases, and other things that are chronic and often misunderstood. When I find out a friend has some kind of illness, disease, condition, etc., I educate myself. Of course, I am a little addicted to researching stuff on the internet. But I learn enough that I can be understanding.

I will admit that I am guilty of expecting everyone else to be like me. I expect people to be patient and willing to learn. All the while, I know I'm wrong. So many people are not willing to take the time and learn about a person. They judge, ridicule, and move on to the next victim.

I'm lucky in that my chronic condition is well known. Everyone knows about migraines, so people are more understanding. But diseases like fibro and crohn's are not well known, some people have never heard of them at all, and instead of learning, they ignore.

So how do we fight ignorance? Simple - with education. Educate yourself. Educate your family and friends. Do you know someone with a chronic condition? Look it up, learn about it.

I have focused on health issues, but the reason I am blogging today is to speak out for marginalized populations. This includes so much more. Homosexuals, even among themselves, do not always share understanding. Different races, nationalities, cultures, religions do not understand each other. Even people with different hobbies and styles can't seem to get along. People can't even agree on Star Trek vs. Star Wars (I'm a fan of both, by the way).

I'm not saying we should all be the same. That will never happen. We can, however, learn to get along. Tolerance, people, tolerance can work wonders. I don't agree with everyone's point of view, but I try to not let it get to me. If I greatly disagree, I just don't associate with them. They live their way and I live mine, but we both live in relative peace.

I do tend to ramble, don't I? Let's find a point and wrap it up. Education is the key. We don't all need college degrees, but through education we can learn to tolerate, if not appreciate, everyone around us. I know I'm talking about ideals here, but who doesn't have ideals? The best we can do is to work on ourselves and our immediate surroundings. Stand up for someone you know if they are being hurt or ridiculed. Educate those around you. Spread love, and it can defeat hate.