An occupational hazard in living with chronic illness, is the ‘glaze over’. This involves you (as the sick person), mentioning your illness to a (non-sick) friend/family member/cat, and watching as their eyes glaze-over with pre-emptive boredom, followed by a crushing stare of ‘here we go again’ written all over their face. In my mind this happens in slow-mo and everything goes quiet and blurry and a single crow flies overhead.
This GlazeOver™ is probably entirely unintentional and out with their control; much like my own faces’ default distain setting, it’s probably a knee-jerk reaction to hearing you mention your condition. Not a nice expression to be on the receiving end of, I grant you, but it happens, and fairly regularly.
When you are met by this face, the result can be quite internally catastrophic for the recipient. Suddenly you don’t want to talk. Suddenly you feel embarrassed and ashamed. You feel like the World’s Most Boring Conversationalist 2015. You feel confused that you are now left feeling this way. Even more so when the one who’s visage has left you reeling, actually instigated the conversation in the first place.
Of course I’m no innocent; we are all guilty of The GlazeOver from time to time. Don’t try to deny it, you know what I mean. When that colleague starts telling you about the latest documentary he’s watched, or that drunk man at the bar tries to tell you a horrendously sexist joke about mother-in-laws.
The GlazeOver™ is prime for health discussions – because let’s face it, not many people actually enjoy hearing about other people’s health woes. It IS boring sometimes, and I often get bored to death even talking about it. So I can’t really blame those of you who glaze over, and I don’t. It’s just something that needs a little work from all of us, and a request to bear in mind that sometimes it can stunt us in opening up about our fears and anxieties.
Listening and learning are vital in educating yourself about anything – so if we want to share with you then the very least you can do is tolerate it for a little while – it’s really not all that dull believe me. (You’ve read this far so you haven’t quite glazed yet!) But do feel free to speak up when we are overstepping the mark – when we would yap on about our woes so much we would make Mother Theresa loose the rag - please kindly tell us to cease immediately. It might sting at first but we’ll see it’s coming from a place of care and potentially an attempt to salvage your mental health/hair being pulled out at the roots.
So when the moment arises and you feel the Glaze Effect sweep over you like an icy breeze, try and remember to 'Turn that Glaze into Praise'! No? Or, 'Don’t get Glazey Act like Swayze!' Yeah that’s terrible I know, ehh, 'Treat that Graze as Just a Phase!'
Look I didn’t say I was good at snappy catchphrases’ alright, I clearly struggle with that side of it and I didn’t say I was any good at…. Oh you’ve glazed over. Right. Well played.