Anje’s Story – ‘I’m already not a touchy person, but apparently when I’m in pain or suffering a weak spell, I need hands all over me?’

This happens to me constantly. I have chronic pain and sometimes I use a cane because of unexplained spells of weakness. Whenever I have a pain episode anywhere outside my house, there’s always someone there to unnecessarily put their hands on me, and it drives me insane. They rub my back, they grab my arms, they try to sit me up if I’m hunched over.

The most egregious example I can think of was when I was in a tech rehearsal for a play I was in last spring, and I collapsed. I stopped being able to really hold myself up, so I was on the ground, weak and in pain. All of a sudden, about 30 people rushed in around me, and every available space had hands on me. My stage manager even tried to forcefully pull me up, twisting my back and causing me to scream out in pain. A stranger I didn’t know kept rubbing my back even after everyone else backed off, and I wanted to just rip her hand off.

Then, when I had to make it into a car, a couple well-meaning friends just picked me up. When I said I could get there once we were down the steps, they didn’t put me down, and physically placed me in the car themselves. It was uncomfortable and demeaning. I hated every minute of it, and not just because I felt weak and sick. I just wish people didn’t feel the need to touch me all the time. I’m already not a touchy person, but apparently when I’m in pain or suffering a weak spell, I need hands all over me? When that happens the only thing I can focus on is my brain screaming at me that I want whatever hand is on me to be off me immediately. Because it’s not just a simple touch to make sure I’m responsive, it’s constant, and it’s rubbing, and I hate it.

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Hannah Mason-Bish View All →

Criminologist and Co-Director of Centre for Gender Studies at University of Sussex

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