This Ain’t No Pain Olympics

Reading through the comments section on TikTok yesterday and came across a conversation about how one commenter mentions they should be grateful they don’t have a worse disability. It’s why they don’t talk more about what they have.

And that comment made me sad.

As humans, we share suffering. At some point in our lives, we will all lose someone we love, get sick or hurt ourselves, or will watch the news and ache for the world around us. Regardless of personal exposure to pain, suffering, rage, or grief, we’ll all get to experience them to some degree.

The thing to keep in mind is that this isn’t the pain Olympics. 

No one person has a monopoly on grief or suffering. No one persons’ experience invalidates that of another. 

Your experiences are yours. They are real. They are valid.

While there is a time and a place to share your story or to shut up and listen to someone else’s, that doesn’t mean you don’t get to talk about yours.

I once had a mentor who had been in a horrific car accident where someone in the other vehicle had died. She, not surprisingly, had PTSD as a result. We were talking about PTSD one day. I don’t remember her exact words, something to the effect of her PTSD not being as valid or severe as mine because I was wounded in combat.

Let me make it clear: veterans do not hold a monopoly on PTSD. And any veteran that tells you we do is a douche.

We share a common humanity, whether we’re talking PTSD, living with chronic pain, losing a loved one, or any other creation of suffering and struggle. 

What is the most significant event to you in your life can only be compared to you. So don’t measure your suffering against someone else’s ruler.

That goes both ways. If you’re someone who has been through hell and back, remember that others may not understand the depth and breadth of your personal experience. But that doesn’t invalidate their experiences.

We all feel fear, rage, grief, despair. No one persons’ is more valid than another. We’re in this together and should support each other accordingly.

Feeling a little too crowded and loud inside your brain? This free mini-toolkit with sort the noise and help you decide what your next best action is.

Calm the chaos in your brain.