When you have repeatedly explained your disability, symptoms and needs to someone, in every way you can think of and they still aren’t getting it.
I know it’s tempting to want to strangle them or head butt the desk repeatedly or scream – actually screaming into a pillow is very therapeutic – but eventually you will have to accept it and let it go for the sake of your mental health.
Not everyone’s empathy works in the same way. Some people will instantly get it (whether they have experienced it or not) simply by listening and taking the info on board. Some people need to have experienced something similar for themselves so they literally know what you mean. Others, because it is different to their experiences will never, ever be fully onboard. Even if you have gone through something and they were witnessing it, they still won’t have learned from that past experience.
Now, that’s not to say they don’t care and don’t want to understand. It is entirely possible for a person to sympathise, yet manage to say or do something ignorant and tactless purely by mistake.
I guess what I’m saying is don’t take it personally and don’t beat your head against a brick wall (metaphorically I mean) by thinking you can change someone like that and enlighten them. Some people are all ready at their maximum capacity for understanding and empathising.
Essentially at that point, it is up to them to get their own head around what you need and how you function.
I decided to write this after someone who should know better astounded me with their ignorance. I’d just quickly explained I was slurring my words because I was incredibly mentally fatigued, after watching a thriller that also had a lot of emotional drama in it too.
FIVE minutes later they say “Why are you talking in that odd way, you seemed very chatty a while back during the film.” I just sat there gobsmacked for a moment and then felt so upset and angry, that after seven years (and just five minutes ago) of explaining this shit to them, they still hadn’t learned a thing. “Mental fatigue! How do you still not get this. What is wrong with you!?” I said despairingly. They defensively and without any tact shouted back “What is wrong with you!?” Suddenly I got that oddly calm sort of rage and quietly replied “I’d give you a list but now I realise it’s a total waste of time.”
They then spent the next half hour worrying and repeatedly telling me I needed to go to bed, even though they knew I was in the middle of doing something. I eventually snapped and told them I wasn’t a small child but a disabled adult and they should stop ordering me to bloody bed, for god sake! And of course rather than apologise they unthinkingly replied “Well, your the one who said you were tired, I’m worried you won’t be able to get there.” Again, they’d completely missed the point of me having mental not physical fatigue. They hadn’t listened to a word I’d said or learned anything from it, even after me explaining this same behaviour of theirs thirty minutes ago.
This is why I’ve arrived at the conclusions at the start of this post. Trying to make someone understand, isn’t always worth your mental health or your relationship with them deteriorating. If they obviously care about you, sometimes you just have to accept that no matter how much they try, maybe they never will really get it and you have to be cool with that.
They came to my aid when I was so stressed and distracted that I forgot I was holding my iPad and it fell all the way down the stairs.. I’d also forgotten the most important thing, my drink with salts in for bed (so my muscles don’t cramp in the night) and they fetched that for me. I think they realised how stressed they’d made me and apologised….Then immediately undid it by saying “I wish you wouldn’t get annoyed at night so often.” I was about to explain that people don’t just mysteriously get angry for no reason but then I saw they looked genuinely down. I took a deep breath, apologised, gave them a big hug and told them I’d work on it.