September 10, 2015

I Can Handle It

There's this thing I've noticed that people are wont to do when interacting with people like Mark and I as someone who is ill and his wife/caregiver.

They often water down their problems for us. People say things like:
  • It's nothing like what you deal with.
  • It's so small compared to your struggles.
  • I don't want to add to your stress.

OK so, yeah, we have struggles, and yeah, along with chronic illness comes chronic stress. I'm not going to deny that.

But we both still want to be in real, give and take relationships with our friends and family. We want others to share their lives with us.

Because besides the issues that come with being sick and loving someone who is sick, we also deal with many of the regular life dilemmas everyone else does, and we'd like to commiserate. Or congratulate. Or console. (Why do all of these words start with C?)

We still want to feel like others need or want us to be a part of their lives.

Honestly, hearing about your shit helps me forget about my shit for awhile. And makes me feel like somewhat of a normal person. Participating in other's lives reminds me that there is actually more to life than health problems and all that comes with them.

For example, I have been all up in my BFF's house buying and selling business lately. I text and email her regularly for the updates on how things are going. I was totally anxious for her when she and her husband accepted an offer on their house before they had found a new one for themselves.

What if they don't have a new house to move into by the time they have to vacate theirs? Where will they stay with their two kids and three pets? How will my friend do her job (she works from home)? How long will it all take??

Feeling anxiety over something other than my usual was refreshing!

I have another friend who was diagnosed with Grave's Disease earlier this year. Her thyroid levels have been all over the place and she often feels like crap. She is now grappling with her own chronic illness, and sometimes I wonder if she is afraid to "burden" me with the details of how she's doing because I already have my husband's health problems to deal with.

She says, "I just haven't felt like talking to anyone."

At the risk of sounding completely narcissistic, I wonder, is she truly not talking to anyone, or just me?

I tend to believe this particular friend when she says she hasn't been talking to anyone because I feel like we have a pretty open and honest relationship. But also, she may be comparing her health problem with Mark's and thinking it's not really so bad, so she shouldn't complain to me.

I fear that people censor themselves with me/us.

Really though, I can handle it.

If you don't tell me to suck it up, I won't tell you to. Deal?

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