*For some reason this post, published in italics. Was not intentional.* My husband is a topper. He insists that he isn’t but, trust me on this one, he is. He is always 1 upping me on everything. When we first started dating I took him to Lagoon. (This is a small amusement park that we have here.) Nearly every ride I heard the same thing. “Oh I’ve ridden on this at such and such place but the one I rode was better” If I hadn’t have liked him so much I would have been annoyed. Still til this day he does this, except for he will now at times put a little twist to it. I will tell him something, maybe an idea, and he takes what I say and presents it as his own idea right back to me. All that is different is he will change the wording. This shouldn’t be confused with active listening, he is literally pitching what I said, as if he came up with it. Sure it bothers me every-time he does this to me but I adore him too much to get mad. I just call him on his topping, make fun of him a little and move on. But truth be told, and husband excluded, I can not stand toppers. Nothing is more irritating then telling someone you are going on a trip that you are really excited about, just to have that person tell you “Oh yeah well I am going somewhere better and for longer.” For me it isn’t even about them getting to do something that very well may be better. It is the fact that they had to top me. What is wrong with just wanting someone to say “Oh that is so awesome! I bet you just cant wait!” It bothers me when a friend or family member can’t just be genuinely happy for me. I am happy for them. *Obviously in cases of topping I really don’t give a crap* As bad as this type of topping is, there is one that is worse. Negative Topping. The ‘Oh poor me, I have it worse’ Topping. I’ve found that having Chiari brings out these Negative Toppers like crazy. Everyday I am reminded of how great I have it. I do not have some terminal cancer, I am not a quadriplegic, I can see, hear and take care of myself. There are millions of people who have it worse off. However, Chiari sucks. It is a hard illness to live with. Chiari in itself is not terminal, but people die from Chiari related complications all the time. There is an exuberant amount of negatives facing me and other Chiarians every day, but we know it could be worse. So when I am asked how I’m feeling or I mention something that is going on in my life to one of my friends, and they respond that their headache is worse, or they have something wrong with them that is more awful that what I have, I feel like strangling them. This may sound horrible but, it is how I feel. It is entirely possible that what they are saying is correct, however it wasn’t about them in the first place. I say “Yuck, I am so nauseous”, there is no reason you need to say “Well I threw up today.” Besides the more they do it the less I believe they are actually experiencing any ailment at all. That is the problem with toppers, they are rarely honest about what they are topping, they are just focused on topping. I have a friend that does this to me constantly. Every week they have some new malady. It has gotten so bad that I rarely post any Chiari related complaints on Facebook anymore. I won’t even answer this person’s texts about anything health related. It is ridiculous. There have been more than a few times where I would mention one of my many symptoms and lo and behold a couple of days later they had the exact same complaint. Surely I do not hold a patent on headaches, nausea or even one-sided numbness however, it happens too much to be just a coincidence. Also like I said before, the more this person ‘tops’ my illness, or even copies mine, they lose credibility, not to mention my respect. The part that gets me the most is, why on earth would anyone want to top someone’s sickness? Attention? What is there to gain by being sicker than someone else? I can honestly say I do not ever want to have it worse off than someone else. My headaches are bad enough, if you have one more awful you can keep it! The reality is having Chiari means that I get the pleasure of dealing with difficult people on a day-to-day basis. Those negative toppers I talked about, people who are completely ignorant to the fact that I am actually sick, and plain ole’ jerks. Not that I didn’t have issues with people before, it just seems like my Chiari magnifies this matter of contention. The best solution I have found, is to remove these people from my lives. Or at least the situations. Certain people I do not discuss my Chiari at all with. I’ve learned that they will never try to understand, or in other cases never stop trying to be worse off. Other than that I have found that a little patience goes a long way. Nothing they say or do matters in the long run, but how I react does.