Once I start listening, am I the expert?

Home ThinkSpace Week 7: Conveying What Your Body Tells You in Life Contexts Once I start listening, am I the expert?

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  • Exploring how I become knowledgeable about my condition(s) and my actions/behavior and limitations may appear inconsistent to my friends and family, potentially causing tension and/or misunderstandings. (Ex: she told me she’s in X amount of pain but then I saw her do Y, and when I asked her about it she said I didn’t understand). I’d also like to get at how once the sufferer shifts from ignorant to knowledgeable about their condition – sometimes I think the friends/family shift how they treat them and their management of their condition (since you know what you have you should know how to deal with it?).

    #onlyiknowwhaticando

    Samantha Kaplan
  • I’m not exactly sure what is being asked here, but I think what you are talking about refers to perception – of ourselves and others. There are people in the world who (think they) know so much more than we do about our condition and will assert their opinion/advice with little regard to the whole picture. I will admit, a long time ago, I was one of those people. I didn’t know much about depression or what people who had it experienced, until it happened to me. I went from being a person who thought people who claimed to be depressed were just lazy or toxic people (and that may have been true in the example of the person I am thinking of) to someone who had a full-blown panic attack followed by a visit to the doctor that resulted in nearly $500 worth of prescription drugs. It was definitely an eye-opening experience and I have since learned to treat people with much more compassion and empathy. I don’t know what people with fibro go through, or MS, or cancer, but I have learned to be as understanding and helpful as I can.

     

    Back to the topic though – I did get out of the depression and now only have intermittent episodes, but I know that it’s different for everyone. Am I the expert on depression? No, but I know my triggers well enough and the tricks to get out of the funk to be able to function. #expertatme

    AppleStrudel
  • I think you’ve found two important aspects of this issue – a person with domain expertise, and the disproportionate impact our own experience has on our interpretation. Like you, I’ve had experienced a condition that I didn’t truly understand until it happened to me. However, once it happened to me, repeatedly, it became harder to agree with and take advice from a health care provider, who did know more about my condition but didn’t have personal experience with it. I knew they knew more about it than I did, but I also knew they had never experienced it directly. I continued to wonder who knew more, me or them?

    #whoknows

    Samantha Kaplan

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