Trigeminal Neuralgia

Why I Don’t Play ‘Chronic Illness Bingo’ On Social Media

On Instragam, I see a lot of “chronic illness bingo”. This isn’t a metaphor, but genuinely people checking off facts about their illness onto a ‘bingo card’ online and sharing it for others to see. I don’t see how this is a fun game.

I love hearing people’s stories about their chronic illness. I love knowing the differences and the similarities between my illness and someone else’s, especially because I don’t know many other people with my chronic pain condition. I like to learn about what works for other people and what doesn’t, what symptoms people get that I don’t. I like learning about other chronic illnesses that I’ve never heard of before and I like to think people feel the same way about stumbling upon my page and hearing about Trigeminal Neuralgia for the first time.

What I don’t like, however, is the weird competitive culture that I also seem to have come across on Instagram. Is it more exciting to be able to get a “full house” on the bingo board I’ve attached below? Because that’s the aim with bingo – to get a line or a full house.

If you completely fill that board, it doesn’t mean you’re any worse off than someone who could only cross off a few. I don’t understand the strange competition here. Is it a case of I must be sicker than you, because I can cross ten off and you’ve only crossed seven off? Do these bingo cards encourage people to play up their illnesses, so you can cross another one off your list? I don’t understand what we’re winning from comparing amounts of how sick we are? I like a discussion when I’m learning about someone, personally, not a quantified amount of exactly how much sicker than me you are.

It’s not healthy to do this.

I certainly won’t be paying any attention to anyone who fills out one of these bingo cards on one of my social media feeds.

What are your thoughts? ♡

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