I’ve been hit by one of the most painful lies from a few different sides over the last few days.
When I listed the lies the other day, I missed this lie, a lie the person saying it tells themselves, to excuse what they are about to do to you. It hurts me the worst, and hits at the lowest parts of my life. Variation are “I just can’t read your letters/blog because I can’t handle any more bad news right now.”, “I just need time to step back and ‘process this’”, “I don’t know how to handle this”, or “I just can’t deal.” These statements come from AB people, probably you thought of as friends, people you may have been there for in the past. But when your time of trouble comes, when your illness comes, when your diagnosis comes, when you start getting visibly ill THEN like shaking a tree for rotten fruit, friends fall into two groups: those who stay (the few) and those who run away (with a lie to make it a virtue).
Those who are burnt-out can’t even survive really by themselves. I can understand that. Someone in a deep depression is just hanging on and surviving is all they can. I understand that (in fact, this person usually will have the ‘I can’t handle the negative place you are’ bailout of friends also when most needed).
People will decides that they do not want to face the facts and consequences of a friend/partner/mother/father/grandparent/child who is dying/has chronic condition/has chronic invisible condition or is going through burn-out/unemployment. And let us not delude ourselves, it IS a decision: they come up with an excuse and run away.
For those who act that way, I still care for them as a person. I find their acts despicable.
Why? Because that child, or friend, that mother, or partner who is dying, who has a chronic condition like depression, or other visible or invisible ones: they CAN’T run away. Oh, they want to. Some days they might pretend for a while that they can, but in the end, the requirements of living with these conditions means that if not managed, if not resisted, if not maintained, if medication is not taken, then the consequences are extreme. So no, they can’t run. And so they watch the back of a so called friend or family as they run off.
Running away is easy. It is always easy. It also makes the burden harder for those who stay, and for the person who is struggling.
Okay, hands up anyone who WANTS to get a diagnosis of cancer today? Okay how about ALS/MND? CFS/M.E.? Bipolar disorder/Unipolar Depression? Lupus? Lymes? Who wants an accident which will affect their spinal column and thus the nerves below that point? How about a layoff and unemployment? Come on, I can’t see any hands raised! What, no one wants a nice terminal illness today?!
No, nobody WANTS those things to happen to them, which is why when an AB friend tells you that ‘they just can’t handle it’ explaining why they will be/have been ignoring you, then it really puts the boot into you. You think, “What, because they thought I could?”
Be honest. Say, “I am self centered and cowardly and while you might be there for me, and care about me, if I CARE about YOU, that means that I might get depressed and when I go out to dinner, start my exercise program, go to movies or when I am on vacation, that CARING could make me feel…..bad. And I don’t want that.”
Yes it could make you feel bad. Because when you care about someone who has something bad happen to them, then you feel bad too. And sure, people have their own lives and issues and need to take breaks and can’t be there all I time. I can’t. There are more I would like to be there for, but I can’t even control or predict my consciousness. I try. That means trying to read blogs once a week, or two, or sending emails back once a week, I try.
Why, beyond the cruelty of a ‘me, me, me’ generation does this matter? Because this is the lie that will hold you in a prison of isolation. Because every person alive will go through a dark time; their period of suffering. And if all you know how to do is run. Then you have no friends. Because every time a ‘friend’ has bad news, isn’t cheerful or funny anymore because their child died, or they have a Flare, or an MS diagnosis, and you ran, who do you expect to be there for you? Who will care about you? No one.
And you will face that darkness alone.
If you are reading this, commenting, then this isn’t about you. In fact, you are probably one of the people who have been ‘gifted’ with those things no one wants to raise a hand to receive.
I have been ill, coughing up bits of aspirated food and other particles. Apparently last night I was delusional and telling Linda that the ‘radio in my stomach’ was telling me to do things. Pain, exhaustion, fatigue will do that. Make you curl up for some time.
But then you get up again. Not because you want to, not because it is fair, but because whether you can ‘handle it’ or not, no one will save you but yourself. Today, a doctor who said last time that this had become ridiculous and they would take me as a GP told Linda and I that “Well, I can’t really take on the responsibility.” What is that? #30? So we suck it up and go on. I went to badminton tonight. I will post the pictures tomorrow. Because keeping me healthy and alive is my job, my full time job. Whether I am ready to ‘take on the responsibility’ or not.
8 hours ago