Friday, 29 June 2012

Don't tell me you're sorry

There are lots of things I don't want to hear. I don't want to hear that a good friend can't attend a big social occasion I thought we were going to enjoy together. I don't want to hear that I didn't get a job (acting) that I thought I was perfect for. I don't want to hear that a couple I thought would be together forever have split up.

I don't want to hear it but in the past week I have. Then yesterday one of the worst - "oh! I'm sorry" accompanied by an earnest pitying look.

All I'd done to provoke this was to respond to a query about whether I was using Jemima because of some leg injury by saying matter-of-factly "No, I have multiple sclerosis."

I know the sorry/pity was probably well meant. The fact that it came from a fellow actor made it worse. It contained a judgement. Especially when accompanied by a quiet shock "I didn't know, you looked so well". What did she mean I 'looked' so well? I still do. I look fabulous (no comment, please).

Perhaps I should print out this Guardian article: and give it to anyone tempted to fall into this pity trap.

If I'd said I'd had some dire accident or my flat had burned to the ground then perhaps I wouldn't mind someone saying 'I'm sorry'. I remember being slightly surprised when I told a friend that my mum had died that she didn't say anything at all about it let alone the almost obligatory 'I'm sorry'.

Yes, I have MS. No, I'm not happy about it. Yes, we can talk about it and I'll try to answer any questions you may have. No, I can't do some of the things I used to do. Yes, I'm still working so do please give me a job. No, I don't need pity. As newly diagnosed Jack Osborne has said: 'don't tell me what I can or cannot do'. That includes the unsaid as well as the said. I will hear you.

1 comment:

  1. Firtly,I/we know the excrement we go through. The first few years(i was dx 2003, aged 29 but had ..issues since I was about 7-8(?), i forgot, for want of a better term, but the anger was definrootintootin there. When I started D3(10k IU daily) it was like a memory drug!

    When that appeared I remember thinking I was dying(as a wee boy) then onto wanting to die then sussing out how I'm going too get myself round the world(13ish) before I die or am unable too do it(I did btw). I thought it was a brain tumour or something major lol

    In essence I was devastated but I was also pleased bearing in mind my wife had our first kid in her belly.

    I'm extremely lucky. It's taken me years to realise this. I've left my details incase you , or anyone reading this wae Q's, wants to talk.


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