Alrighty then. Now that I’ve most likely chased off my five remaining readers with my intense and unfiltered pissiness, I guess there’s no reason not to keep right on going with it. So this morning I present my next installment in the ongoing saga of
The Worst Things You Can Say To Someone Dealing With A Long-Term Health Challenge
3. Expecting our recovery to be linear and predictable.
This occurs whenever we’ve experienced a handful of “good” days, and then suddenly go back to feeling bad again.
What you say:
-“Oh no-what happened?”
-“What did you do?”
What we hear:
-“What did you do wrong?”
-“Wow, how’d you fuck this one up?”
“It’s obviously your fault that you’re not feeling better anymore.”
Um, no-it’s not. Healing is messy. Healing is not pretty. Healing does not follow a nice, tidy, predictable path that you can plot on a graph. Healing has no cohesive form. Healing is primal and cuts right down to the bone. Healing brings up all the dark, nasty, unpleasant, icky places-that’s what’s being healed. Healing has its own timetable, and works on its own schedule. Healing doesn’t give a rat’s ass about when you feel you SHOULD BE WELL ALREADY, DAMMIT! Healing just goes right along doing its own thing, often in spite of you.
Having one good day means nothing, except that in that particular moment, we are feeling okay. It is no predictor of anything; there is no ongoing meaning that can be extrapolated from it. It just means that right now, we are feeling good. But there’s not one single thing, good day or not, that will prevent us from feeling utterly miserable in the very next moment. And, once again, that doesn’t mean anything either.
So whenever we’re out there, bashing around, trying this, that, and the other, feeling good, feeling bad, experiencing utter unpredictability, randomness, and chaos, remember: This is what healing looks like. Please don’t attempt to hold us to anything, because right now our lives are in constant flux, from one moment to the next. There is no constant for us right now.
4. Pushing us on
What you say:
-“I really think you’re on the upswing now.”
-“I’m praying for a complete and total recovery/miraculous healing/some other extremely specific outcome for you.”
-“We’re gonna get you back to your old self again really soon.”
What we hear:
-“You need to hurry up and get well.”
-“Where you are right now isn’t good enough.”
-“You need to be somewhere other than where you are right now.”
-“Only this Very Specific Outcome that I have completely detailed in my mind is acceptable for your ‘healing’; nothing else will do.”
-“Your healing has to look a certain way in order to be ‘good enough’.”
Oh my god, this is SO. MUCH. PRESSURE on us. Because, as I might have mentioned once, or twice, or eleventy billion times, we have absolutely no control over this healing process that is taking place inside of us.
We have no idea what anything will look like once we get to the other side of this thing. And feeling like we have to somehow make our healing live up to whatever it is that you’re expecting from us, sometimes just makes us want to stay sick, because that would be a whole lot easier.
We very much appreciate your care and support, but we really need it to come in a form that is much easier, gentler, and more open-ended. Statements like,
-“I’m holding you in the light.”
-“I’m sending you lots of love and healing energy.”
are very gentle, supportive phrases you can offer us, if you are so inspired.
This concludes today’s rant. We now return you to your regularly scheduled day.