GOOD

20 'harmless' comments that actually hurt people with IBS.

Sometimes advice is the last thing people need.

via piyapong sayduang / Getty Images

If you live with IBS, you might be familiar with some of the seemingly “harmless” but incredibly hurtful things people often say to those struggling with it.


Sometimes these “harmless” comments come in the form of a question. (Have you tried meditating?) Sometimes they come with a “solution” via personal anecdote. (Becky used to get panic attacks, and once she started exercising again, her IBS totally went away.) Most often, they come from a place of misunderstanding mental health struggles. And even though these “harmless” comments may come from a good place, they can often invalidate the struggles of someone living with IBS.

When someone with IBS opens up about their struggles, oftentimes they aren’t looking for your “solution,” “advice,” opinions, DIY IBS healing guide, etc. — they may just be looking for someone to listen and be there.

Our friemds at The Mighty wanted to know what “harmless” comments people with IBS have heard that actually hurt them, so they asked their mental health community to share one with us and explain what it feels like to hear it.

It’s important to remember what may seem “harmless” to one person may actually be hurtful to another. No matter what anyone says, your feelings are valid, and you deserve support.

Here’s what our friends at The Mighty community shared:

1. “Other people have it worse than you do.”
“‘You’re lucky in comparison to others. It could be worse.’ This was said by an old ‘friend’ to whom I was saying I was struggling with depression after my father’s death few month before… I had the right to feel bad. We should remember we all have the right to feel how we feel.” — Albane L.

“‘Other people have it worst than you.’ Just because I can do certain things and function a bit more than others with IBS doesn’t mean I’m not struggling.” — Kayla D.

2. “You shouldn’t rely on medication.”
“’You shouldn’t rely on medication. I have IBS and I just deal with it. I don’t take medication.’” — Ashlee H.

“‘You need to be strong so you don’t keep taking those medicines.’” — Rita T.

via ashley rose / Flickr

3. “You’re making a mountain out of a molehill.”
“‘You’re making a mountain out of a molehill…’ People used to tell me this all the time, especially in school when I reported bullying.” — Taylor S.

4. “Have you been praying enough?”
“‘God will make it better.’ ‘Just pray…’ I probably have 100 more, but these are the ones I hear the most during a down period.” — Dezei R.

“I was often told I didn’t have enough faith, implying my IBS was my fault and a punishment. Put a bad taste in my mouth when it came to religion, and definitely didn’t make the IBS any better. I know they thought they were being helpful, but it wasn’t in the slightest.” — Jessica A.

“‘Give it to God, then you can stop worrying about it.’” — MaryJane G.

5. “Everybody feels stressed sometimes.”
“‘Everybody feels like that.’ Sounds innocent enough, but if I am disclosing how I am feeling to you then the last thing I want is you trying to shift the focus to ‘everyone’ else. I have opened up to you because I want to talk about me. Turning it into being about everyone else doesn’t help and just makes me feel like I am not valid.” — Lexie B.

“‘I’m sorry you’re stressed. I’m stressed, too.’ I’m not stressed, I’m anxious and feeling extreme dread over everything and nothing. It’s not stress.” — Lindsey M.

“‘Oh, I get anxious all the time,’ but [then they] talk about something that made them temporarily nervous.” — Kaitlyn T.

“‘You’re not the only one who has bad days.’” — Will J.

6. “Just calm down.”
“‘Just calm down.’ This is seriously one of the most detrimental things you can say to someone with IBS. We seriously don’t wake up wanting to stress and worry and overall exhaust ourselves with everything around and inside of us.” — Kristy H.

via Marie-@nge / Flickr

7. “Stop freaking out.”
“‘Stop freaking out, it’s not a big deal.’ IBS doesn’t care if it’s actually a big deal or not.” — Stephanie R.

8. “Again?”
“When someone asks ‘again?’ when I tell them I’m anxious or feeling weird or express my panic or anything like that… like yes, it’s happening ‘again.’ It happens often at times and then I can experience breaks, but it never goes away and I know they don’t mean it to be mean, but it’s hard for me too having to go through IBS attacks and feeling anxious every day…” — Jessica S.

9. “You need to change your mindset.”
“Someone very close to me has said, ‘Can you just stop thinking that way? It’s not hard to change your mindset.’ That threw me into complete isolation of myself. I wish every waking morning, every sleepless night, when my IBS gets the best of me, I can just not think like this. That if for one day, even one minute, I can feel like I’m ‘normal.’ They had the best intentions at heart, but they didn’t understand the weight and hardship my IBS has put on me and my day-to-day life.” — Janell R.

10. “You don’t know what stress is.”
“’You don’t get to be stressed. Keeping a roof over a family’s head is stress.” — Michael R.

11. “Well, go and get help then.”
“‘Well go and get help then!’ is my dad’s answer whenever I’m struggling. Unfortunately I can’t share how I’m feeling with my family and that can sometimes make situations with them difficult. Particularly in publicly if I’m mid-attack and they’re just having a go at me. They’re not bad people, they just don’t understand mental illness.” — Lauren M.

12. “You need some work therapy.”
“’You need some ‘work therapy,’ before directing me outside to clean the yard. I felt dismissed and made a mockery of. This was the day I was released from the hospital. Heartless. Even now (17 years later) it still makes me want to seriously hurt myself.” — T.B.

13. “I think you’re just looking for reasons to be upset.”
“‘I think you are just looking for reasons to be upset.’ From my dad… I told my parents I felt shoved aside, so he said that.” — Anna G.

14. “Smile.”
“’Smile. It will help.’” — Lexi L.

via ASweeneyPhoto / Flickr

15. “You’re a hypochondriac.”
“’You’re a hypochondriac.’ It makes me feel like I am more ill than I am. It makes me feel so upset and angry because it’s basically just ignoring me and telling me to shut up.” — Charlotte U.

16. “You’re overreacting.”
“I am constantly told I’m overreacting to damn near everything. To calm down. Chill out. Mind you, in tone that just feels so condescending.” — Patricia B.

17. “Get over yourself.”
“‘Get over it/yourself.’ I shut down. I remove myself from people. I make it so I am not only bothersome to others. I disappear all together.” — Ellen S.

18. “You don’t seem like someone who would have IBS.”
“’You don’t seem like someone who has IBS…’ Because I’m not walking around breathing into a paper bag 24/7? Made me feel completely invalid.” — Ruby C.

19. “You were fine a minute ago.”
“’You were fine a minute ago. You have no reason to be upset.’ This is a big one for me because the smallest things that happen to me can cause a panic attack. If I could stop these, I would, but I don’t have any control of them and saying stuff like that makes it worse.” — Madison U.

20. “Just breathe.”
‘Just breathe.’ Thanks. I didn’t realize humans could do that. Still doesn’t help my issue though. I get the intent behind it but… it’s not helping.” — Chelsey C.

“‘Just breathe, you’re fine…’ There is an elephant on my chest and fire in my veins, so in this moment, I can’t breathe and am not fine.” — Jess F.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

Articles
via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

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In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

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Center for American Progress Action Fund

Tonight's Democratic debate is a must-watch for followers of the 2020 election. And it's a nice distraction from the impeachment inquiry currently enveloping all of the political oxygen in America right now.

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via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

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Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?

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via Gage Skidmore / Flickr and nrkbeta / flickr

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