We podcasted last night about trauma and how do deal with it. My friend Alisa was coming off of a rough time since her place got caught up in a fire. She lost somethings, but at least her cat was saved. It was nice to see the people she knew and the community in our small town come in and help her out. She talked about how she felt fortunate that there were so many people out there to help her out, but it was Sarah’s turn that made the podcast the more interesting aspect of the night.
Sarah has always been the quiet one, and it hasn’t been until the last few years that she’s found her voice and wanted to be more then just the supportive person in the background. One of the things that seems to bother her is the fact that she doesn’t get recognized by other’s as a reason for my success. I know that I have stated it, and that I appreciate everything she’s done for me, but she wishes others would praise her for doing such a good job.
She’s been a caretaker ever since she was fourteen and had to help raise her siblings after her father died. She was never really thanked for it. The truth is, caretakers: mothers, fathers, nurses, Hospice, etc. are thankless jobs. Janitors, are also thankless jobs, but once one of them stops doing their job, it’s noticed. At that I want to be a person that thanks these people for the thankless, tireless, jobs that they do.
I know that I’ve done just about all that I can do to make her feel appreciated, but I also know that some of her anguish comes from the fact that she has Crohn’s Disease. It has been playing with her mind for sometime now, as she doesn’t feel attractive and she feels that she’s a burden when talking about her problems.
She’s tried to blog about her issues, much like I do, but seems to receive mostly negative comments, and that becomes frustrating for her. I get that it’s hard when family and friends are the harshest critics out there. She feels frustrated that she doesn’t get the same response that I get when it comes to talking about the issues. I had to do a lot of thinking about why that is, and I could come up with a few that sounds similar to things that have happened in my own journey.
First, Crohn’s Disease is an invisible illness, and most people don’t seem to understand it. It’s not in your face like MS or Parkinson’s, however it’s a serious matter that robs people of productivity in their lives. Sarah just happens to be finally get the answers she’s been looking for with her new set of medication. It’s helped her manage her issues so much better.
Second, there’s a fine line that we balance when it comes to talking about our issues. I’ve been criticized for being too open and honest about what I go through, a “it’s better to deal with your issues in private” type situation. Being that it’s family that often comes at her makes it more difficult and frustrating to share. I believe that she can and should continue. While it isn’t an easy road, there have been people who have come out in support, at least in my instance. I wish that I could be more supportive and understanding on what she’s going through, but I know that we’re still discovering this together, and we’re trying to figure out the seriousness of the issues.
Third, while it’s hard, I think the point is to never stop giving a damn about what it is you’re trying to say. Not everyone is going to agree with your opinion, and you can’t just spend time trying to make everyone happy. That’s not how this life works, and it’s a shame that it’s the people you feel like you should be able to count on that seem to shit on your truth the most.
This has more to say about them than her. Some people associate honest truth as a way of showing weakness. If she decides to stop at talking about it, then they’ve won. Keep shining is what I have to say, it’s not for them to understand the journey that Sarah starting to take. The best way to have her voice heard is to stop giving a damn about what everyone else is going to say about it. Yes, people are going to say things, both positive and negative. The truth is some people can’t handle that much honesty because it makes them uncomfortable to know the truth.
Some of these people feel that battling illness should be done in private. I know that myself being open has been met with mix reactions, but mostly positive. I think that if she sticks it out and keeps pushing through, then Sarah will find that community of supporters. I told her that sometimes that is where people should start, in a community that already shares that common bound. Build from there, and it will grow into something so much more positive and better.
I want to hear her voice, I want to hear how she feels, and what she has to say. Unfortunately she has nay sayers that make her feel that she needs to keep quiet. I can say that I’ve been there with her on a few occasions, and I don’t always have patience with her because of her issues. That is where I’ve failed her, yet, I’ve never told her to quit. I always supported what she wanted to do with her life, even during the times that I’ve failed as a husband. Her worth is so much more than she knows.
Silence isn’t the answer, it’s just the reaction people give when they feel uncomfortable about the situation. Some people feel that the only important thing to do is to look perfect, too look strong in front of everyone else. I hope that she can find the voice that I’ve taken up when it comes to her situation. She has a right to talk about what’s troubling her, and if people don’t like it, then they have the right to not read, or block, or unfriend, whichever is better for them.
Facts of being honest about weakness, has showed me support, as I’ve had many reach out to me about my depression and call me brave for being able to share my own issues and struggles that I constantly go through. I’ve had good days, but when I struggle, that’s when people tend to pay the most attention.
The biggest part of sharing those experiences and giving sound to find that voice is that it’s to help oneself, maybe it’s just so that we can find peace in knowing that we struggle in hopes that others might be enlightened and understand that it’s a constant fight.
My faults with my wife is that our roles have reversed in such a dramatic way that I’m not always patient with the things she does. I try to support her, and see that it isn’t easy being the strong one when needed. I see her frustrations as she’s had to be the strong one since she was fourteen, and she doesn’t know how to let it go. I will do all that I can to help her, as I realize that with the physical ailments that she’s come down with. It has also messed with her mentally and that’s where her struggles lie the most.
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