The title to this blog is probably a little misleading, I have been pondering how we all handle tough times differently and is there a right or wrong way in which to do so?
This came about after a telephone conversation with a good friend earlier in which she stated she knew when I said I was having a bad day that it must be a very bad day as I never moan generally about how I feel.
This is true as I tend to go very quiet when things get too much for me, I withdraw into my own little world and no one gets invited in to that place until I feel ready to handle life again.
Why? Why do I feel it necessary to shut myself off from family and friends at these times?
There are people who are very open and upfront about how they are feeling be it either in themselves or in life at any given time.
They have no problem telling others they are feeling rough, tired, upset, in pain, depressed etc etc and in some ways I envy them that openness, but does the fact that they are able to vocalise their feelings quite easily mean they get more understanding, care, support?
Or is the opposite true and if you see/ hear the same person saying these things often enough does it diminish the effect on the listener whereby eventually it is met with a knowing nod and a shrug of the shoulders?
Is perhaps the ability to be honest about how you feel related to how valid you believe your problem, illness is to others?
Are people more prepared to say they are feeling awful if for instance they have a recognised condition or something is happening in their lives that most people would have empathy or sympathy for?
Do we see it as strength of character to struggle on without a whimper or is the opposite true, do we frustrate our friends and family when we refuse to 'let on' when times are tough for us?
I can obviously only speak for myself here....
1) my gorgeous puppy Molly came Into season 3 weeks ago for the first time, the vet said he preferred her to have one season before spaying her but he didn't warn me about how emotional I would find it, yes I know she is just a dog, she wasn't dying etc and it was just a matter of keeping her virtue intact for a few weeks but it really got to me.
She wasn't her usual happy self, and every time she looked a bit down my heart turned over, yes I am a softie and when I was told I was too empathic even I didn't realise that empathy would extend to my dog but it did.
2) my condition is worsening, I pretend it's not and refuse to give in to the beckoning wheelchair or calling out for help when my hands are so painful they can't lift a full cup but I am aware of its progress and of what that means for me. I am battling with myself constantly against the pain etc.
3) it got so very hot and humid here this past week and with a body that has a broken thermostat it has been hell, I don't mean the waving the hand Infront of face overheating you have been suffering, I mean the having to stand outside in my daughters garden after 10 minutes indoors being sociable as I can't see for the sweat running into my eyes, I mean the waking up every hour and having to change nightclothes etc, I mean the energy sapping headache inducing type of heat that I just can not cope with any longer.
Ok so how many of you knew I was going through all this?
Did my family know?
Did my close friends know just how bad it was?
Some astute friends/family had some idea but I didn't shout it from the rooftops, I didn't broadcast it on twitter or fb apart from the odd few comments here and there.
And why not?
Well read what I have just said again about the past few weeks, doesn't it sound self pitying to you?
Maybe if you had known for the first few days you would have offered support and sympathy and then what? By day four or five wouldn't you have been saying/thinking ' there's nothing I can do' or ' blimey Penny this isn't like you to moan so much'
Or would you? Maybe that is why those of us who keep quiet do so, because we are unsure of what the reaction would be. This is learned behaviour isn't it? Don't complain etc as its not the done thing.
And what do we do if people are really kind and supportive etc?
We shrug it off, get embarrassed and play it down don't we?
How many times do you answer 'I'm fine thanks' when asked how you are?
So is sickness a weakness not to be spoken about?
Are you a strong person because you bear it all in silence?
Are you weak to want and accept help and support when offered?
Is it weakness or strength to speak out openly about how you truly are?
And who is better off, those who can speak out or those who can't?
I don't have the answers.......just the questions.
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