A friend of mine says his mother is the worst type of hypochondriac… she thinks everyone else is sick! She’s feeling fine, but you… you don’t look so good! And needless to say, she has a grand old time when I’m visiting my friend.

Are you ok?

Are you SURE?

Do you want to lie down? (If I did, she’d let my lie down on her best couch, which nobody does. My friend is a bit jealous!)

But she’s harmless. In fact, she even admits that she gets “a little wound up” when I come over, and that I should really just ignore her when she’s like that. Everything is good between us.

But I have another friend – acquaintance, actually – that is so negative that I actually refer to him as “Toxic”. He is toxic, because he will poison your mood, ruin your day, and actually get inside your head and make you start worrying about yourself. I know he’s like that and he can still get under my skin!

The last time I spoke to him, it went something like this:

Toxic: “You don’t feel good, do you?” (No hello, how ya doing, or anything like that)

Me: “Huh? I’m feeling fine.”

Toxic: “I don’t think so… I can tell, you know. You look like you’re barely making it today.”

Me: “I walked three miles this morning!”

Toxic: “You really shouldn’t, it’s bad for you. That’s especially bad for your weak heart.”

FOR THE RECORD: Almost all forms of walking are good for you, provided they are done with a doctor’s approval and you show enough common sense to stop when you get tired. I even know a young lady with Pulmonary Atresia (Same type of heart defect that I have, but affecting a different valve) who jogs fairly often.

The best thing you can do when you are around a toxic person is to find someplace else to be. If this person does not know you have a chronic illness, just keep that fact to yourself. If they find out, suddenly they will be your new best friend. And they will be full of (useless) advice.

The Student Government Association of my college would sponsor Movie Night about once a month. The curtains in the cafeteria were pulled, a screen set up, and a movie (usually a western or a black and white classic) was shown. Admission was a dollar and the popcorn and drinks were free.

Fred was a pretty good fellow, but he tended to have his nose in your business if you let him. I had just gotten settled into my seat when Fred tapped me on my shoulder and said “I need your help.”

“What’s up?”

“I can’t keep my eye on you all the time, so I need you to promise me that you won’t eat too much popcorn tonight. It’s bad for you.”

Say what? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. At that time I had no dietary restrictions; I wasn’t even on any medication, other than a vitamin every day. And when was I placed under observation?

“No,” I said, simply. “I don’t need anyone keeping `an eye on me.'”

“Dr. Hunter told me -” Fred said. So there won’t be any confusion, Dr. Hunter was the new President of the college, not a medical doctor. What Fred apparently didn’t know was that Dr. Hunter had arrived before his residence was ready, and had spent about three weeks during Summer Sessions living in the dorms. He had even eaten his meals in the cafeteria with the students. I had seen him every day, spoken to him often, and my heart defect had already been discussed.

“No, he didn’t.” I finished for him. I turned on one heel and returned to my seat. But a moment later I left, too angry to enjoy the show. At the risk of making a bad rhyme, I had let Fred mess with my head.

Separate yourself from Toxic people as quickly as possible. Do it nicely, but if you must be a little bit rude then be rude. I’m already a little bit paranoid about my health – anyone with a chronic health problem is – and I’m not going to let anyone force me into worrying more.

And worrying more than you need to really isn’t good for you! So take my advice…


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One Response to “Toxic”

  1. Vanessa Says:

    Great advice!

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