The Young Empathy

I've touched base upon this topic before, but I would like to again, just because I find it fascinating.

Since I was very young, I've gotten along better with people who were older than me. It wasn't until I was about fifteen that I began to get along with my peers. Regardless, I've had the ability to talk with adults and preferred the company of a more mature person than people of my age (though not always). But the one touchy topic I hate to bring up with adults, especially older adults, is my psoriatic arthritis. Believe it or not, I prefer telling other young people about it rather than older adults.

Of course, this isn't always the case, but a good portion of the times. Adults often compare me to themselves, who are beginning to wake up with an achy back or their hands aren't what they use to be. More often than I care to admit, they'll begin to compete with me to see who has it worse; I like to let them win so they feel special. Sometimes they just say I'm too young, or they assume it's not so bad because of my age. I even get brushed off because I sound like a little kid trying to sound grown up. Their reactions to my medicines are another story completely. In rare cases,  I've had adults pick on me because of the way I'd move. I've gotten a whole slew of reactions from adults, and though many are very nice, there are times I wish I didn't say anything at all. Especially because the arthritis tends to become my identity to them.

Telling people my own age has usually reared better results. Not as much when I was younger than about fifteen, but even then it usually was a better reaction than the gym teacher who told me I have a stupid run. I've gotten people who questioned or didn't believe me, but not a lot to make a difference. Most people just ask me if I'm doing okay, or even just say "wow, I didn't know that" and will ask me how bad is it or to explain. Sometimes, people even have siblings or friends with arthritis and will tell me that. Recently, people seem to really care when I tell them I'm chronically ill, especially because the times people find out are often when I'm limping or need a rest. But it's often something they don't bring up much yet don't forget- they know who I am, not my disease.

I don't know why I get the results that I do- most would think it would be the younger people who are less empathetic. But I'd like to also mention there are a lot of adults who care a lot and lots of young people who really don't care at all. I'm just mentioning am odd pattern.


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