“Oh, you’re not feeling well? (Again)” The ‘Again’ is the main reaction rather than sympathy for someone with a chronic sickness or problem. I know the feeling to some extent since I’ve been struggling with some cervical spine issues that cause long-term pain. Luckily I’m not dying from this and I can carry on with my life, mostly. However, my activities are limited by the pain and nausea. I’ve tried all different types of treatments from holistic to invasive and have taken all kinds of meds. All these things have helped a bit but nothing has brought major improvement. So, I carry on with life but I notice that I can’t be a victim anymore. My time limit is up.
I’ve noticed through my own experience and through that of friends, that people generally have a short attention span or window for sympathy. They can genuinely care about you but after a while they want things to snap back to normal. I can totally understand this feeling because I’ve been on both sides of this equation. It’s hard to be around someone who is always complaining or bringing the mood down. It can drain those around them even if that is not what they intend. Suddenly the person who was the sympathizer starts feeling frustrated and sorry for themselves and that leaves no energy to feel sorry for the victim.
Quite often a person with a common cold will garner more sympathy and attention than someone who has been suffering chronically. People are good at short-term sympathy. This probably explains why when there is a tragic event like an earthquake that kills many, people all rally to donate and help in the beginning. After a month or so however, all this help dwindles and though people will feel sad when talking about the tragedy, they are no longer ready to alter their regular lives to help out. I guess human nature expects that you help someone get up when they have fallen but you can’t be their crutch. Maybe that forces people to become self-sufficient despite their circumstances but it can be really tough. Well whatever the reasons, I still feel for those with long-term troubles or chronic pains and I hope they don’t lose their support before they can stand on their own.