There is nothing like the unsolicited advice of someone you barely know. You desperately want them to go away, but in kindness you listen to them. They often tell you something that will make you question whatever type of relationship you have with them. You hate to see yourself as mean, but you secretly wonder why they haven’t transcended this corporeal existence for the more ethereal experience of knowing it all somewhere else.
This is me having one of too many conversations about how I can help what ails me. I know people are trying to be nice, but they forget that I have probably done more research on Chiari Malformation than they have since college. I have a team of neurologists who likely know more about my condition than anyone who has recommended that I ferment and then drink something.
I know people are just trying to be helpful, but you really are no help when a subject is beyond your understanding. So maybe research Chiari and ask me some questions instead of telling me what you think is best for me based on your aunt’s seasonal sinus headaches. All headaches are not the same. They hurt differently, are brought about by different circumstances, and are treated (or not) in various ways. They are all valid sources of pain, but each deserves its own light.
If you have found yourself giving advice to people for a problem that you don’t have or don’t have a degree in, you might make sure you know what you are talking about. You might instead have a relative with Chiari that you have cared for. Then I can relate. Just, be mindful that the person you are talking to likely knows WAY more about their condition and comorbidities than you do.
If you have found yourself on the listening side of someone who knows more words than facts, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. Just stop them at the beginning and don’t even listen to them pontificate about subjects beyond their grasp. Your time is better spent educating that person instead! Give them a bit of knowledge and hopefully they will be curious enough to look it up later.
I spent maybe the first year after my surgery (and a bit before) listening to people tell me what they thought I should do. Essential oils instead of brain surgery. Someone told me this was a better idea but then refused to take care of my medical bills if the oils failed. Someone asked if I had tried (you knew it was coming) KALE! In fact, more than one person has asked about it and that is why it upsets me. Just because it is healthy doesn’t mean it will keep my brain in my skull.
Eventually, I just stopped someone when they asked if I had tried kombucha. I guess that is where I drew my line. I told them that I allow my doctors to lay out my medical choices and I do my own research. They seemed a bit put off, but I felt good for speaking my mind and not listening to a holistic rambler talking about nothing useful.
Now, that is not to say there aren’t people who know what they are doing or talking about. These people tend to make sense understand how the human body works. I am not talking about these people.
It’s the meddlers. The ones who can’t pronounce your illness but can tell you how it was created in a lab and they know the secret cure. The cure that cures everything. Probably something that will drive you up the wall like “kale”.
Just know that you aren’t alone out there, suffering from the fantasy based words of a do-gooder. I know that many people deal with this everyday, so lets start to use the opportunity to educate instead of rolling our eyes until they get stuck or sighing heavily until we hyperventilate. Many conditions can be explained to the general public in the time it takes for someone to explain how misaligned chakras cause headache and indigestion. It’s a better use of time and oxygen and you have now spread awareness!