Sometimes a Whine is a Good Thing

There is a lot of chatter that goes on in the Twitterverse in which the many chronic disease sufferers live online. People use it as a forum for different reasons. Some use it to hear from people who are suffering from similar situations – common circumstances, advice, etc. Others take that one step further and look to interact with those people, to make friends and speak with people who can say “I understand” and actually do.

There is, as is understandably the case, a large amount of what some may term “whining” that goes on in such conversations. I beg to differ. These are trying illnesses that we deal with daily. Incessantly. From the time we wake up until the time we fall asleep – well, if we even manage to fall asleep at all, that is. It’s frustrating. It’s exhausting. We post these tweets because they help us get through the day. To function as best we can in the “real” world of people who don’t understand. Which is why we turn to the people who know what we mean when we post those tweets: the people who are posting similar tweets.

Now, as best as I can tell, much of the argument (often expressed by way of the private “direct message” feature) against such tweets is a complaint that we don’t get very far by posting them. Perhaps people think we take too much refuge in these tweets, too much solace in something that might not affect the “real world” interactions we are invariably forced to take part it. Again, I beg to differ. Sometimes venting our frustrations on blogs and twitter keep us from frustrating people in the “real world” with complaints that they don’t understand. It’s not just about their understanding, it’s also about being a burden. Many of us feel a lot of guilt about the constant demands we put on our loved ones: doctors visits, chores we can’t do, money, and so on. Constant whining seems like one more thing for them to bear, and another reason for them to feel bad for us. Or, as is more prone to upset and induce guilt in my case, to worry about us.

Still, I do think that there should be some efforts made to help those in our “real world” lives understand what we are going through. After all, it seems rather self indulgent to go on in a woe is me nobody understands me vein of thought without at least trying to fix that situation. … but that is rather more easily said than done. Some people fail to understand no matter how many times we try to tell them about it. I’m not ashamed to admit that sometimes I just don’t feel that it’s worth depleting my limited energy stores to educate them.

Frankly, I don’t think anyone has a right to tell me that I’m whining too much – or to tell anyone else that. After all, that is the joy of the internet, is it not? We can choose who we want to interact with. Some people support others by joining in the necessary venting of frustrations, others support with reminders of strength and “I’ve got your back” attitude, still others provide jokes, quotes, or anecdotes. At the end of the day, we interact with the people who provide us with the right mixture of those things – and we try to do the same for them. That is the point of these interactions. Sure, sometimes it might be more helpful to remind ourselves of our strength, but a lot of times I just need to vent my frustrations and talk to people who won’t judge me for doing so.

I do the best I can to be supportive and (dare I say it?) inspirational … but I’m just one girl, who is fighting hard to stay afloat in a sea of constant pain, fatigue, and disappointment. I can’t be upbeat all the time, nor should I be forced to be. I have enough stress and pressure and pain and so on to deal with without adding this layer of judgment. Of course, it may well be that those whining about the whining (*cough*) are annoyed by those tweets because they are just having a bad day themselves. So I’m choosing to shrug off these comments and criticisms that I have received. Take the whines for what they are – a necessary interaction for some. Or choose not to interact with those Twitter users. The choice is yours, fellow whiners, the choice is yours.



Filed under "...said WHAT?", community education, coping, insensitivity/ignorance, introspection, rant

10 responses to “Sometimes a Whine is a Good Thing

  1. Whining to you and Kim are some of the best times I ever have on the Internet!

    It’s wonderful to have people that understand, even when the subject matter does not involve sunshine and roses.

    And Twitter has saved my life more than I would care to admit.


  2. it’s not whinging; it’s therapy! FREE therapy with the added bonus of friendship!

  3. Sometimes you may not even be whining (you’re just stating facts) but a healthy person interprets it that way. You know? Anyways, I understand.

  4. As someone who just “broke into” the Twitter universe I have thought about this a lot. I have people who follow me who I interact with in the real world daily as well as who I interact with in the chronic disease community. However, the whole reason I got onto Twitter was to interact with more chronic disease sufferers. I enjoy the updates even when they seem “complaining” because having a chronic disease is hard and I completely understand it. It’s just nice to have a group of people who understand.


  5. I think I am having the same reaction to recent tweets! While I do agree with some of the sentiment behind the “stop whining” tweets, I too felt like no one has the right to curtail how I express myself. Since great minds think alike, I also wrote a post about this (shameless self-promotion):

    All my friends on Twitter are tweethearts and make me feel supported, understood and loved. Without you and everyone else, I would feel alone and out-of-touch. I’m so glad I have found community on Twitter and I am so thankful you are my friend!

  6. Pamela

    Omgh, I know! I try not to talk about my illness to much! But it’s my life, Some people do talk about it to much But then I think, Well Maybe no one is there for them But I think You are right though 🙂 ❤ Good Job girl!
    -Pamela ❤

  7. Sam

    For me, seeing the whining about pain and insomnia makes me feel like less of a freak. Alone, in pain and unable to sleep I appreciate all my fibro/lupus/etc twitter friends.

  8. Debb

    Bravo! Good article x

  9. Funnily enough, I was asked to stop tweeting so much about ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Torchwood’ by someone I know from school, who is a few year levels below me. Not about my illnesses, but to stop tweeting quotes/comments. The reason I tweet those sorts of things are to break up a monotonous flow of spoonie tweets!

    Great blog post, and I don’t think anyone has the right to limit what we say or write. If they don’t like it, there’s the “unfollow” button! I do use Twitter to connect. It’s so comforting knowing there are people out there who feel exactly the way I do, and it’s a support network for me. Thanks, guys! =)

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