Being "inspiring"

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Being "inspiring"

Does anyone else find it annoying when people say how "inspiring" they are? I am a runner and people find it "inspiring" and "amazing" that I am still running during chemo. On one hand I like it when people are impressed by me because it's always nice when people say nice things, but on the other hand it's annoying. It is not impressive that I am running. It just means that I like to run and most of the time I am well enough to be able to run. On days when I have felt too sick and/or tired to run I have gone for a walk instead or a couple of times just spent the day in bed. It is actually discouraging in way to be called inspiring as it suggests that I'm doing something special when it seems to me that I'm not. And I think it is best not to think of myself as doing anything special. Tomorrow will be my 6th chemo treatment. There has been some nausea and fatigue but mainly it has not been too bad. I think the people who are impressed must imagine that it is worse than it is. And, of course, it may yet get worse. That is another problem - if it does get worse maybe I won't want to run and I don't want to feel obliged to run in order to continue to "inspire" people. Alli
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Frequent Contributor

Re: Being "inspiring"

Hi Allicat I know exactly what you mean. It gets up my nose that I am so often labelled and tagged as I move along the health industry conveyor belt. How can I possibly be 'inspiring' when I am only doing that which I have absolutely no choice about whatsoever? It is ridiculous. What is going on inside in another matter altogether. I share that with others who can see it but I do not spend any time at all explaining it to those who can't. Life is too short. I like to read perspectives from within that space. A lot has been written over the years. The narratives help a lot. We chat about this stuff in the Expressive Writing Group. It's a lot of fun and gets you right away from the 'inspiring' space. Goats are really important. H
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Re: Being "inspiring"

Exactly - there is no choice. If I had been given a choice I would obviously have chosen to not have cancer. But since I do have cancer I just have to put up with it and carry on as best I can.
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Deceased

Re: Being "inspiring"

Hi Allicat Spot on Harker - it gets right up my nose. I know people mean well, so I try to be polite and usually have a stock phrase like - "Yeh, I'm still warm and vertical" so that we can laugh in an awkward way. wish I had the courage to be able to explain to them that I am not inspiring, I am not always positive, that there are times when I feel bloody awful and am sick and tired of the whole business. Not sure they could cope. cheers Sailor Thought is the wind, knowledge the sail, and mankind the vessel. August Hare
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Regular Contributor

Re: Being "inspiring"

I always felt uncomfortable when people called me brave. No way was I brave. I didn't really have a choice. The night before each round of chemo I wouldn't sleep and grew incredibly anxious as I had an idea of what was coming for the next week and I didn't want it. However, Allicat, I am impressed (is that OK?) that you are still running! No we aren't really doing anything special - we are only doing what has to be done. No, Allicat - you are not alone is this. Samex
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Re: Being "inspiring"

Being called 'brave' doesn't bother me so much - I just shrug and say "well, there's not really any other option". Secretly I do feel a bit brave though. Today the chemo nurse said it was amazing I was still running. I took it as compliment which is how I think he meant it but I guess that it just means the chemo is not effecting me so badly as it effects some people which is presumably just luck. Thinking about it as I write this makes me nervous that if I am going well so far that means it will get worse. But there are only 2 more chemo treatments left and as we all agreed there is no choice so I'll just have to manage.
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Frequent Contributor

Re: Being "inspiring"

Hi Allicat This is an interesting discussion, isn't it. I am glad you secretly feel brave. I do too, but I don't share that with anyone as it is only my self image and is really not anyone else's business. It is a different thing altogether from someone else calling me brave. Someone else calling me brave suggests they have an image of me that they want me to adhere to. And that is not fair, especially as you point out it leaves the impression that things might get worse for the brave one. This all leaves me thinking: I am already aware of how bad things are, thanks very much. Don't tell me I am brave to make yourself feel better and more comfortable with the reality of my position. You might feel inspired by me, but that is nothing to do with me - it is your choice and does not place me in a role of being inspiring - so keep it to yourself and let's talk about something else if we can. And: I might feel brave but I will keep that to myself - that is nothing to do with you. I do not feel brave as a way of avoiding what is actually going on. I am extremely aware of what is going on in my body and bravery is completely irrelevant to that...so let's talk about something else...if we can. H
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Frequent Contributor

Re: Being "inspiring"

Hi Allicat the 'thing that gets up my nose' is when (well meaning) people say, 'you are so strong' or 'stay positive' or 'you will get over this' or 'chin up' - when they really have no idea what is going on inside my body, or more to the point - how my body is coping with what is going on! My theory is: if you dont know what to say - then say nothing! If I thought for one minute that 'keeping my chin up' or 'staying strong' would cure me of this insidious disease, then I wouldnt mind what they say. We do 'what we gotta do' and that is the bottom line. None of us chose this path to travel, but we do the damned best that we can. Hope your chemo goes well for you. Di 🙂
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Contributor

Re: Being "inspiring"

Thanks Harker. You are exactly right in everything you said. I feel better to know that other people understand & feel the same as me. Especially about the feeling secretly brave because it is not something I would say to anybody. And about being boxed into a role of having to be brave & inspiring. People say to me that I am inspiring and they mean it to be encouraging. But I find it a strange thing to say - what I am inspiring them to do - are they planning to go out and get cancer and then go running so they can be just like me?
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Frequent Contributor

Re: Being "inspiring"

Hi Allicat I personally consider what a lot of people say 'is strange'. I often take their comments to mean 'well thank god its' you that's going through this, 'cause I dont think I would be able to cope'! I will just say what I've said in previous discussions, (and this is my personal experience only!) - if people dont know what to say or how to word their feelings, then I would prefer they say nothing! I have friends/acquantances who say 'you look so well, you cant be sick, you must be getting better!!' Most times I dont even respond anymore. What we 'look like on the outside' is certainly no indication of what is going on within our bodies, or our minds, for that matter. Thats why this site is so good, and others like it, 'cause we all know what we are going through. Good luck to you, take care Di 🙂
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