I got my first internet troll/hater this week. It was really only a problem because they really pushed one of my buttons – The you don’t have a chronic illness button. Those of you reading this probably know exactly what I’m talking about – those people who after you put yourselves out there, say you can’t have that because of …[insert all those weird answers you’ve gotten that have no relevance to reality].
I have no idea where the collective thought that people with chronic illness look a certain way came from. I can say whatever way one is supposed to look with a chronic illness, somehow I don’t fit the description. Most people who deny this to my face actually have good intentions I think. It feels that way sort of. The sort of, comes from no one likes to have their reality denied, including me. Empathy would be lovely, but since that’s not my strong suit either, I’d settle for basic recognition.
How to handle these well meaning, but frustrating comments has been an ongoing struggle of mine, so I’ve started a collection of articles on how to handle them. These are my favorites:
Not so coincidentally, I’ve been going to a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Meditation class and been trying to work with self compassion and metta meditations. Metta meditations focus on kindness for yourself and kindness for others. Both are a bit of a struggle for me mentally. As I said, empathy is not my strong suit. Physically, it’s the same meditation posture but as a mental focus, a metta mediation focuses on kindness rather than breath awareness for example.
Because I’m me, I got some resources for help. I’m really trying to cut down on the books I buy, but after getting this one from the library I bought my own copy. It’s got a lot of tools, including metta meditations, to help you build all aspects of your resilience.
Also Christine Neff’s site on self compassion has some nice guided self compassion meditations you can access for free here.
So processing being soundly dismissed as not having or knowing anything about arthritis because I only have lupus and MCTD according to my troll, I decided to overcome internet trolls with metta meditation and journaling. I felt much better afterwards. The troll became constructive because look what it prompted me to do:
I wanted to start with something more fun than plain white paper so I pulled out some patterns I’m clearly not going to need anymore.
Then I added some paint. I had to let each color dry so I wasn’t making mud.
Then I added imagery with oil pastels. I was thinking about a spinal column because it’s one of the locations I have arthritis and more importantly, of the strength and backbone it takes to keep our head held up when people try and take us down.
I used a fine point Sharpie for adding the meditation words but they are hard to see as the paper, ink, and pastel all resisted that part a bit.
Lastly, I sewed it onto some backing paper to stiffen it a bit. The completed piece is below. I was happy with how it turned out and it was a really effective exercise for me to apply a metta meditation and journaling activity to turn around a stressor. If you’ve ever done some journaling in response to unkind words about your health struggles, please post an example or weblink in the comments. I’d love to see your work!
Other examples of my yoga journaling:
- Sutra 2.39 Acknowledging Abundance HERE
- Bullet Journaling sutra 4.4 HERE
- Sutra 3.10 Tranquility HERE
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