“Sorry to hear that, but just remember it could be worse”. A management lesson in what NOT to say.

Does any one else hate it when you explain your condition to someone and they say ‘it could be worse’?

My manager had never heard of Endometriosis, so asked me to explain. I went in to full detail about everything and how it affects my life. He said:

“sorry to hear that but just remember it could be worse”.

Now, I know he was trying to make me see the positive side of things, but after hearing it so much I snapped and couldn’t hold it in any more. Here’s what I explained to him: 

Yes, I already know it could be worse, I already know I could have an illness that could kill me, I already know people in this world have it worse off but here’s the thing...

If my illness was killing me, I’d be taken seriously. If more people learnt what it’s like to live with, I’d be taken seriously. If people would stop telling me it’s part of a period, I’d be taken seriously. But, guess what...I’m not.

If my illness was worse I’d probably never have to wait over 8 years for a diagnosis. I would have a better support system, I wouldn’t have to go to the doctors every day at breaking point for them to say “take some paracetamol”.

Yes, I know it could be worse. I never said it couldn’t, but at the end of the day, everyone deals with things differently. 

He then looked at me with a look of shock on his face and said, “I’m so sorry, I never thought of it like that. I’m really sorry”.

I hate telling people about it because this is the response I get all the time. Why don’t people see that we already know it could be worse, but at the same time we know that if it was worse we’d actually be taken seriously?

Guest blog.