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? ♡

6 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Play ‘Chronic Illness Bingo’ On Social Media

  1. Totally agree with You! In fact have been to a local fibro face to face support group yet left it due to them playing the competitive bingo like game you talk about- it is like they are trying to win the invisible trophy for being the sickest/most challenged- just cannot be dealing with that kind of negativity or weirdness!! Tried out a few support groups- found them all to be more depressing than uplifting, plus not that supportive or helpful! Prefer to talk with kindred spirit chronic pain challenged individuals either face to face or online or via snail mail! Also, can be my own chronic pain life coach anyhow :-)! Some people can have much pains plus much challenges yet rarely go to ER/Casualty or to see personal doctor due to being stoical anyhow- just tough it out yet it does not make them less struggling than someone who sees doctor many times!
    Gosh- my mum has chronic pain yet pretty mildly yet spends most of her time at the doctors plus almost seems disappointed when a test comes back normal, she has a headache and imagines it is a brain tumour, whereas me rarely go to a doctor! She is a hyponchondriac and she is also keeps telling me to go to doctors yet am not going to buy into that!! Know when really need to go to see a doctor, plus, when just have to hold on tightly until the pains ease up! Though once had earache and hubby said go to doctor- said to him- it is just the fibro. Then when my hearing was affected thought- maybe do need to go see doctor so did- had a really bad ear infection and was told off from doctor for not seeing him sooner ;-)! So sometimes need to stop just assuming it is the fibro or my other chronic pain conditions !
    Social media can be super annoying agree. Was on one fibro group and was told that just posted too many positive or encouraging posts and should limit what share of a positive nature to just 1 a week yet no more than that. So, left that group and started my own :-)! Feel like have found a kindred spirit in You which is cool!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t cope with the people that have to be the “most” sick! I’m sorry you found support groups to be like that, I have the same feeling sometimes! I just tend to post my website into the support groups, in the hope that some people will find a safe place here with us 🙂 x


  2. The only way I play invisible illness or chronic pain bingo (I have fibro, for reference) is me vs the world, no me vs other sufferers. I always thought the idea was to take the sheet out with you, and see how many comments you get to mark off in a day… I’m talking about the “but you don’t look sick” style of sheet here. When my best friend (MS) and I play, it’s about taking the sting out of things we’re sick of hearing. And maybe sometimes about weaponizing the sheet against a particularly nasty jerk.
    “Oh my gosh, you gave me bingo, look! You couldn’t be less creative if you tried!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s it for me exactly! It’s about the things we’re sick of hearing, like “Have you tried yoga?” and other judgey items of unsolicited medical advice from people who aren’t our doctors.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Honestly, I disagree with you, because the point of these chronic illness bingo boards is not to “win” or show off:
    To me the “point” of sharing a chronic illness bingo board is to illustrate to people who don’t have chronic illness what living this is like. Some of the boards are “Things People Say to Spoonies,” and they demonstrate to others what it’s like living with a chronic illness and constantly being inundated by other people’s judgments and unsolicited medical advice.
    These graphics help me show my friends and family why certain situations, or conversations, irritate or upset me. Many times people are intrusive and arrogant in their assumptions when they inquire about medical treatments we spoonies have tried or our lifestyle choices.
    I think it’s perfectly healthy to show people how to support a friend without being a jerk. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

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