Kindness Matters, So Let’s Work to Unite Our PH Community

Jen Cueva avatar

by Jen Cueva |

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“If I could tell the world just one thing, it would be that we’re all OK.” –Jewel

Through the years, I have noticed that within the pulmonary hypertension (PH) community, not everyone shows kindness. I am unsure of why this happens. My guess is that we are human, meaning that we all make mistakes. I can deal with mistakes, but intentional disrespect is ill-favored.

During my 15-year PH journey, I have come to know many in the PH community. Unfortunately, in addition to the phenomenal support I have seen, I also have witnessed a few who are unkind to others. I realize that although we have PH in common, some people are not compatible. This is only natural when a large group of people comes together.

Everyone in the PH community deals with their own set of issues. So we must try harder to be kind. PH connects us, but we all are at different stages. It’s not like those one-size-fits-all T-shirts. Remember that PH is a medical zebra, a complex disease. Our struggles are diverse. The medications and treatments that we are on are different. Our PH stories offer variety, too.

Despite our differences, we all deal with PH. We all deserve support, respect, and empathy. We may not understand exactly what the other person is going through. We may not always agree with others in the community. And that is OK — we should agree to disagree. One can do this without being unkind and disrespectful.

Everyone we meet is fighting some type of battle. In the PH community, the PHight is made easier with the support of others in the community. Instead of questioning someone’s authenticity and their PH journey, share some encouragement. Lift each other up. We are all PHighting this battle, and together we are stronger.

PH sucks — I get it. We all have days when we feel like crap. For me, these are the days that I tend to self-isolate. My interactions decrease with my family, friends, and those in the PH community. I think I have responded this way most of my life. In reality, it is when I most need support from others. But it also is when I am not myself mentally, physically, and emotionally. I am often scared of saying something wrong or hurting someone’s feelings. Brain fog doesn’t help.

Being kind and offering compassion not only helps others, it can help us, too. Studies show that a person who helps with acts of kindness may also benefit from a decrease in stress, blood pressure, and depression. It is no surprise that kindness increases happiness. I enjoy lifting others up. Texting, calling, saying hello, or complimenting someone benefits both people.

What better time to start being more mindful about kindness and offering compassion than now? In today’s unpredictable climate, let’s continue to unite our PH community. No matter what journey you are on today, you are not alone. I wish you well and will always offer kindness, compassion, empathy, and respect.

“In the end only kindness matters.” –Jewel

Do you think we need to unite within our PH community? What will you do to practice kindness this week? Please share in the comments below. 

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Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.

Comments

Matthew Lafleur avatar

Matthew Lafleur

Aw Jen, what an essential message at this time! Not only in PH, but in every rare disease community. Plus, you bookended this post with Jewel lyrics! That touched my soul.

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Jen Cueva avatar

Jen Cueva

Thanks, Matt for such kind words and support. Yes, I love that song and thought that it was fitting.
I agree, not only PH community but all rare disease communities should unite during this turbulent time. <3

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