Wednesday, January 27, 2016

worsting contests

Years ago when I worked at HH the night shift would clock in and we would get right to business with a "worsting contest".

Who ever had the it "worst" would win. An example of the game: 

Aide #1: I only got four hours of sleep....

Aide #2: I only got 4 hours too, but it was all broken up in one hour chunks.

Aide #3: You guys are so funny I only got 2 hours of sleep.

Aide #4: I only got 1 hour of sleep.

Aide #5: I didn't get ANY sleep!

Me: I haven't slept since 1974.

The idea to be the worst, no matter what.

Aide #1: I twisted my ankle today

Aide #2: I got caught ion a bear trap once, snapped my ankle in 1/2.

Aide #3: oh yeah? I broke both my ankles sky diving.

Aide #4: I had to have both my ankles fused.

Aide #5: I don't have ankles!

Me: I stepped on a leggo, then fell into a pile of Legos, then stood up and crushed my nephews ankle. While filling out ER paperwork I got this here paper cut, which caused and infection and they are going to have to amputate my ankles.

We as a society seem to have lost the ability to just listen to someone and offer compassion. To just simply validate the other person.

"I only got four hours of sleep...."

"I'm sorry, you must be tired."

"I twisted my ankle today"

"Oh no! how is it feeling now?"

How simple is that?

The following is an email conversation I had years ago with Blogzilly. (used here with permission given back in April of last year...yes this has been sitting in my draft file that long, not sure why I never published it) He must have found, my off the cuff response to something he said, worthy because he offered up this comment on it.

Blogzilly: Holy CRAP that was well said…I should just copy half of it and hit ‘Publish’….:)

I responded at the time:

Paja : Go for it. I would love to hear how you would expand on it.

Because to me it just sounded like my usual ramblings and he is a much better writer then I am. Now a few years later and looking back on it, I can see what he saw at the time.


"Todays blog is brought to you by Blogzilly and Paja...both writers who are depressed, anxiety filled, thyroid suffers with bad backs, who both need to go out and do yard work but the pain stops them. So no commenting unless you meet the "club" requirements or have it worse.....oh wait I have a old push mower so I have it worse then Blogzilly, I win! WhooHOO!"

Damn, when you say it like that it really points out the flawed thinking patterns we live with. Life is some sort of competition? When did being "you" become not enough? When did others pain and predicaments become something to compete with?

From: Blogzilly
To: Paja
Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2012

Love this response, thanks. Lots of it to cover, but the bottom line is you are right…I don’t want to put Bennett’s darker side on the net because I feel guilty about things, or because I feel like, I dunno, a sense of reaction to factions in our community (and I think this is where this might be springing from) who tend to lump the community overall into sub-groups. Who tend to suggest ‘my kid’s disability is worse than yours so why are you complaining so much?’.

Even in life overall I have had to kind of learn that The Norms have every right to bitch too, and even non-disabled kids have the ability to cause each of us great pain and anguish as parents. I need to figure out how to talk about this delicately yet forcefully. I will, eventually.

From: Paja
To: Blogzilly
Sent: Friday, April 13, 2012

It is a subject that I have to bring up occasionally on the Self harm community and Sexual Abuse survivors support community on __________, where I hang out and offer support and my two cents on stuff. (Kinda weird I have trouble with my own life, but I have no trouble helping others with theirs? heh.) There is no tactful way to do it, you just have to throw it out there. I would start my posts with this title: "Time for a whack upside the head". Sometimes that is what is needed.

With the Self injuries (SI) its so easy for us to get into "worsting contests". One reason group therapy for self injuries doesn't work is this: Mary's SI is in the form of cutting numerous small superficial cuts. While Nancy's SI is in the form of hitting her hand on the table and bruising it, and Sally's chosen form is to burn 3rd degree burns.  

All three have to support each other but its hard for Sally to see that Nancy's form of SI is "legitimate" so she is brushed off and excluded from the group because her form isn't as severe as the others. When in reality it is.

Whether it be a scratch with a paperclip or a gash with a razorblade, both should warrant the same depth of compassion and concern as the other.

On the sexual abuse board I see the same thing played out in this way. We will get a person coming and bravely sharing there story of nearly being molested/violated and they are pacified with stuff like "Oh be glad, at least you weren't raped". As if there is some requirement to be in the "club".

Same too if a child is smacked across the face and an adult is smacked also. Hearing of child abuse gets this reaction "Oh that poor child, lets call CPS and get them help" and the adult gets this snarky reaction. "well he's an adult, he can get out of that situation/should never have put themselves in that situation."

If two friends came to you and said they attempted suicide and one swallowed 6 aspirin and one has rope burns around his neck would you react the same way to both of them?

Why is it so hard for us as humans to drop the "requirements/expectations" on pain and suffering.

So why do we turn carnivorous on our own kind? Does it boil down to the ugly truth of survival? The deep "must cull from the head any signs of weakness, in order to make the species strong and survivable".... or something more complex?

Or some thing ridiculously simple like: " I need right now to be your focus, I need you to put down your life and just for this moment see me and just listen to what I am saying, give me your full attention just see me, hear me, let me show you my underbelly of vulnerability and my guts, allow me to be wounded, I need compassion and understanding, support me without judgment or making me feel that I have not earned the right to be in this club."

Kinda strange the human mind. We say "you don't know what its like to be in my shoes" .....and mean it. But we also forget that human emotions are native to us all.

The pain that drove the fictitious 6 aspirin swallower to attempt suicide is the same pain that prompted the other one to other to attempt by hanging.

Questions then deepen, why is it some of us want/need to hold our pain/life as a crown over our heads, we want/need to be worshiped in fact that we suffer the most. Why is that important to some?

gahhh! stop it! look what you did! you made me get on my soap box and start chewing mental gum before breakfast! LOL, no more reading email before breakfast! I get lost in thought and there goes 1/2 my morning.

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