I've spent the better part of the last 42 years wondering if my feelings and experiences are so damned invalid because I'm a woman or because I'm 'crazy'. Is it sexism, ableism or just a fun combination of the two?
If I had a dime for every time someone told me I had 'nothing to be depressed about' or that I should 'just stop worrying' I would be too rich to qualify for disability for my, you know, clinical depression and anxiety. *headdesk*
A friend posted a graphic this morning that was a response for all those who tell the chronically ill 'at least it's not cancer'. No doubt the people who say that are the same people who tell women devastated by miscarriage that 'at least it wasn't a real baby'. According to the graphic, the proper response is to punch the offending person and say,"At least it wasn't a gunshot."
Seriously, though. Why do people feel so compelled to minimize and invalidate the experiences of others? What exactly do they gain from it? Is it simply that they might feel obliged to empathize if they acknowledged that there was a problem so it's easier to pretend the person is just overreacting?
We see it all the time with people's reaction to the poor. That person over there can't afford to feed himself? He must not be working hard enough. That homeless person over there must have done something to deserve where they ended up. My situation is legitimate. That person's isn't. Everything is their own fault and if they'd just decide not to be that way their situation would improve.
I know there really isn't a point to this post. People without empathy will continue to belittle others and their experiences. Writing a blog post about it won't change anything. But, hey! People can choose to be All The Good Things and Never Have Problems Again, they're just clearly not trying hard enough.
Well, except for me. My problems are real.