Positivity is over-rated. Honestly, it’s super-important, but not when it’s used to suppress emotion that really needs to be expressed. It’s not healthful to always pretend everything is fine when it is not. It is OK to not be OK. Don’t misunderstand, if you are relentlessly negative, and you project that to the people around you, they’re not going to want to be around you very long. However unwarranted optimism is annoying and invalidating.

Having chronic illness sucks. It just does. For many of us, it’s completely pervasive, and always in the forefront of our experiences as humans. Our friends want to be good friends, and generally they want to put a positive spin on negative situations. They’re inclined to tell us that it is going to get better, or it could be worse, or at least you don’t have to deal with xyz like such-and-such does. When they do this , it sometimes feels like we’re not being heard. Sometimes it’s NOT going to get better, and knowing someone else has it worse doesn’t help you. We really just want acknowledgment of our pain, and validation that it’s OK to be unhappy about it.

We’re complicit too. Being barraged with complaints is annoying. You may be constantly suffering, but it just gets old to listen to. Sometimes people put a positive spin on whatever you are bitching about just to change the subject.

But you deserve your pity party. You’ve earned it. It’s important to fully experience what you’re experiencing. Don’t dilute it with positive thinking or unearned positive platitudes. But put a limit on it.  Let your friend know that you just need to vent for a little bit, ask them to listen and spend a few moments to commiserate on the fact that sometimes it hurts to be alive.

Then stop. Turn the negativity spout off, tell the negative thoughts that it’s last call. They don’t have to go home, but they can’t stay here. They’ll come back, and when they do, throw another party, experience it fully, and send them away again.