Everyone has faced some kind of bullying at some point in their life and if you haven’t you are lucky but when you have a stoma you may have to deal with it more than most people. A lot of people just don’t understand the struggles of living with a stoma and all they see is the unpleasant symptoms we have to live with that is fun to make fun of. I have faced some bullying because of my stoma but not that much and the main reason for that is most of my friends didn’t even know I had one until I wrote about it on this blog. The friends I have now are supportive of my condition and I would feel comfortable talking about my stoma if they wanted to know more but I don’t volunteer that information because it can make me a little uncomfortable and doesn’t affect our friendship with my friends not knowing much about it. Building trust has not always been easy because in past friendships I have had friends mock my disability and some would even go so low as to mock the way that I walk which by the way I walk have zero control over! These experiences didn’t teach me to always be angry and trust no one but to be cautious of who I open up to about my disability because not everyone will be supportive. Bullying when you have stoma can be big problem so if you are currently struggling with it here are tips on how to deal with bullying.
Attacking someone’s medical team isn’t helpful– Sometimes when people find out you have a stoma the very first thing they do is attack your medical team for not fixing you! Why haven’t you gotten a second opinion to fix your stoma issues? Having a stoma is not the end of the world but is the beginning of your independence and usually can’t be fixed no matter who you go to. If you know someone personally and strongly believe their diagnosis could be incorrect then it’s okay to suggest a second opinion but don’t go around telling disabled people that another doctor will fix them. Some people are desperate for the cure and if you tell them another physician has it they will believe you and go to that doctor expecting to be cured and if they are not it’s on you!
Stand up for yourself- Unless this person is physically hurting you then in that case you should tell someone because noone should everyone have to put up with being physically abused! If someone is only verbally bullying you and not causing any harm then stand up for yourself and tell that bully what they are doing is wrong! Sometimes that bully will just laugh you and not stop bullying but if it’s a friend or family member that is hurting your feeeling often they may not be aware that your feeling are hurt and need have this brought to their attention. Standing up for youself sometimes can be scary but can solve a lot of problems if you are kind about it and do it for good reasons!
Don’t take it personally– People stare, point, say things that they probably shouldn’t and if there is one thing you take away from this post I want it to be to not take hurtful comments from a bully personally. In previous posts I have said not to take hateful comments on your blog personally and the same applies to things in real life because people will say hurtful things and you can either decide to be bothered by it or brush it off and know what they said is not true or go and cry. Bullies will say anything they can that will get a reaction but usually everything they say is completely nonsense and not true. Unless a close friend or family member is bullying you and they are completely aware that they are try not to let it bother you or take it personally. In my experience bullies continue to mean to people who give big reactions so if you try and not let it phase you even if it’s difficult usually they will stop and go mess with someone who will give a bigger reaction.
Talk to someone who understands- When I was in high school I faced a lot of really bad bullying but not for my stoma because not many people knew I had one but for my disability in general. One thing I wish I knew when I was going through this time is how much talking to someone with your condition can help bring your comfort and get you through it. Friends and family members without chronic condition can probably give some pretty decent helpful advice but not to the extent a disabled person with the condition because they have not personally gone through those struggles. Talk to someone who has been through what your going through because you will be suprised at the comfort it will bring and how helpful they can be with getting you through it.
Ignore it– Sometimes people are just going to say things about your stoma or disability in general that is hurtful and should have been kept to themselves. You can’t control other people’s actions but you can control your own and although you may so many good comebacks to tell your bully it’s not always worth it to say these things and sometimes it’s best to be silent and try to ignore it. Remember that bullies can say whatever they want to you and it may hurt but it doesn’t make it true! I have had people I am close to and total stranger take digs at some of the unpleasant symptoms of my stoma issues when they think I am not paying attention and it hurts my feelings sometimes but it doesn’t bother me as much because I don’t take it personally. I try not to give people I know the benefit of the doubt and not just assume they are trying to hurt my feeling because often people say things that are rude without even realizing it.
Tell someone– Noone should ever have to face bullying but if you are bullied once by a coworker that is one thing but if it happens regularly and starts to affect your mental health then that is not okay and you need to do something about it. If a coworker is bothering you tell your boss or if it’s friend from school tell a school administrator just tell someone that has authority to do something about it. If you do nothing it will keep happening and chances are if they are bullying you they are probably bullying other people so when report you report them you are helping so many other people . Don’t think of it as being a snitch but teaching someone a important lesson and even if they get in a lot of trouble which they probably will don’t feel guilty about it because it’s not your fault and it was their choice for doing what they did so the burden should not be on you!
If you don’t have a chronic condition or don’t have a stoma you can’t fully understand what it’s like to live with one but you don’t have to. You can be supportive of someone with a stoma by not saying hurtful things about their condition. It is stressful that sometimes are conditions have unpleasant symptoms and we are totally aware of that but there is nothing that can be done about that and, you are only making someone more anxious when you are mean when these symptoms flare. People with chronic conditions control their symptoms the best they can but, we can’t control everything and sometimes we will have a flare and, you can show you care by not mocking these conditions. It makes me so mad when people make fun of a condition that has unpleasant symptoms without understanding the struggles that person may go through. You are only making it harder for disabled people to accept their disabilities when you make fun of them so stop doing it! Have you ever been bullied because of your stoma? How do you handle bullies and get through it?