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Chronic Snarkopolist: ME TOO! When I’m Understood I’m Healed

Post Published: 04 August 2010
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Category: chronic autoimmune conditions column, Chronic Snarkopolist, Column
This post currently has 13 responses. Leave a comment

Tonight I spoke to a chronically ill patient I have become friends with over the last few weeks. Our public conversations are always silly and funny. But in private – unlike with others we are closer more confidential. She has recently gotten out of the hospital after an extended stay.  Whilst she was in there she goofed around online and had fun keeping up good moods and larking around.  I get it! I GET IT!

I use my humor too!

Meanwhile – tonight, emotionally exhausted from packing and taking care of my animals and saying goodbye to the city I love (and every friend I love- and even a few enemies I’ll miss) I told her things I do not tell other people.  And she confided a bit in me too.  How I needed her words.

“I feel like an attention whore.” “No one gets it, none of my friends.” “It is such a mind fuck.”  “I feel so guilty and so angry that so many people love me and take care of me and I can’t seem to stay healthy enough for anyone.  And even if I stay healthy I can’t seem to keep my GRATITUDE good enough for them to show them how THANKFUL I am for all they do to me.”

On and on our conversation went.  I cannot tell where my words stopped and hers began.  I suddenly felt HEALED tonight.  Healed of my rage. I felt healed of my anger at myself for not being STRONG enough not to NEED OTHER PEOPLE.  I felt healed at being “an attention whore.”  I felt healed that I cannot single handedly GET RID OF ALL THESE DISEASES.  I felt healed that I need help.  I felt healed that I sometimes want love and will sometimes NOT FIND IT – even when I deserve it.

I realize that IF SHE FEELS IT TOO- then I am not alone.  And if I feel it then so must YOU.  We are all in this together.

I have been holding this in for quite a while – playing perfect patient.  Because I am quite a good patient.  I can joke with all the staff.  I can say goodbye to all my doctors and shed tears at leaving my beloved therapist.  I can adore my surgeon and yet see how easily McHotterson only gives a fuck about me if there is something to cut on.  AND MAYBE- just maybe THAT IS HIS PROBLEM AND NOT MINE.  Once I am not his patient then I am NOTHING anymore. Sometimes people who matter or care about someone – need that feeling extended just a little longer.  (It is a flaw in the system in academia too – one I have single-handedly STOPPED perpetuating. FUCK PATRIARCHY. Down with “because this is the way we’ve always done it!” )

Maybe doctors and patients SHOULD be more to each other if there is to be TRUE HEALING.  And maybe wanting that – wanting the words “I love you” to be HEALING WORDS – AND NOT JUST for romance or throwaway – maybe that’s something I SHOULD feel proud of and not silly about. (No- I never told any doctors that I promise. But I have had a therapist say it TO ME – and it was the MOST RESTORATIVE AND HEALING BALM ON MY SOUL.)

I WISH THE WORLD COULD SAY IT AND MEAN IT AND HEAR IT. I feel so sad for our world right now. I feel our world is broken hearted and the weight of it is hurting all of us, making us sicker than we NEED to be.

And that is hard to deal with. It is CONFUSING for patients who are long term sick – for people like ME who have nothing but illness – long stretches of chronic illness – who form RELATIONSHIPS with doctors but then really- their doctors don’t truly LOVE US.  It is confusing too – to have FAMILY who love us – but will NEVER TRULY UNDERSTAND US.  And friends who we pick based on our illnesses… sick friends, healthy friends, and our “grey area friends” (the friends we don’t tell… the don’t ask don’t tell friends).

And suddenly tonight – I felt healed – even just a bit.    Because someone else heard my story and she too HAD LIVED IT. And I felt humbled and grateful and happy about it.

I decided to share that with you.  I don’t expect you to understand all of it- but I do know that we all struggle. We just do.  We all heal through our stories  And right now I am moving home because of finances and sickness that won’t fucking go away.  And I want it to be temporary- but it keeps slamming and slamming into me.  And I can stiff upper all I want and joke all I want – but PRETENDING that I’m strong is getting the best of me.

Tonight- I healed because I admitted to someone that I was weak. And she admitted it too.  And together we shared our fears and our pain.  And the funny thing is – NO ONE WOULD HAVE EVER KNOWN IT ABOUT HER.

So I’m sharing my weakness with you, my stories with you, my soul with you – on the chance that you too might feel healed by it.  All of us have a time when it is just too much.  All of us feel fake, feel exhausted, feel like it is TOO MUCH.  We feel like our friends will find us “attention whores” if we have even ONE MORE DOCTOR VISIT or one more hospitalization or ONE MORE POSITIVE CANCER TEST.

And I’m telling you this – let’s collectively heal each other. I needed it tonight. I’ve got your back.

So tell me what heals you? What balms your soul? Do you need to be told “I love you?” Do you want REAL relationships with people? Am I sharting up the wrong tree? Tonight feels so healing to me I felt like sharing. And in sharing I hope you’re picking up what I’m putting down.

I’ll be seeing you next week! Same time same place! Kisses!

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13 Responses to “Chronic Snarkopolist: ME TOO! When I’m Understood I’m Healed

  1. Donna says:

    Melissa,

    You heal me. If you only knew. I understand every word, every word. I just finished leaving a comment for Joanna’s latest column and it is similar to your thinking relating to the perect patient piece. Being a perfect patient was not perfect for me.

    Good luck with your move and your healing. I hope everything works out. Thank you!

    Donna

  2. Norma says:

    I think that there isn’t one person who suffers from a chronic illness who doesn’t feel this way. And yes, I have those “sick friends”, “healthy friends” and “grey area friends”. I can’t begin to count the amount of times that I tell people that I feel ok because I am afraid to say how I really feel at the moment. I always feel like they think I am making it up for attention. I know that most of the people I work with won’t even ask me anymore how I am doing. It’s frustrating.

    And the part about having someone, anyone, just say those 3 little words is so true. How nice it would be to hear that from someone. Even my family doesn’t say it anymore. I usually feel like I have just become a burden to them because I haven’t been able to drive for several years, plus medical bills outweigh the money coming in. So I have to live with my sister and she takes care of me more then I wish. Its hard to know that at this time in my life I had all these plans and dreams and none of them will probably ever come to fruition.

    But what gets me through each day is to know that there are others out there who are going through something similar to me and they feel the same way as I do.

  3. Monica says:

    OMG, Melissa, you have no idea how I look forward to your words every week. I love you and all the DT’ers who share their stories that give me the confidence to share my story which is extremely healing.

    The only relationships worth having are REAL ones, otherwise what’s the point?

    The more I share, the more I heal; the more I listen, the more I heal.

    Sharing = Healing

    I only wish I could pull out my magic wand and make it easier for all of us.

    ☮ ♥

  4. Lolly says:

    Melly_Mel,

    I feel like I have neglected you, I understood every word you said and felt it too.

    I have my problems now and can’t think outside the box family, friends I want to tell them all to go fuck off and just leave me alone, stop demanding too much of me. I need me time, time to gather my thoughts and reconsider my own life.

    I had a lovely doctor,We got on so well too well sometimes.. I had no idea he was leaving he omitted to say anything, I only chanced on it because I had an appointment the day before he left. I rushed out and got him a leaving card thanking him for all his care and help over the years. I haven’t come across another doctor like him in my life time yet.
    I was sad to see him go and a little upset that he hadn’t said anything but i also take comfort in the fact that i was able to say goodbye and thank him.

    No matter how many times we get knocked down we try and pick ourselves up joke or lark about to cover up how we really feel.

    Melly Mel you have some big changes in your life right now and the stress of just moving is probably exhausting you, let alone the actual packing your life away to move to pastures new. I love how you wear your heart on your sleeve. You love your doctor’s but they have to distance themselves emotionally even though at the time you think you are the most important person in there lives. It’s times like this you realise that they can only give so much of themselves for letting there guard down would probably be unprofessional but you and I know they want to give all but can’t because they have been programmed not too. But know this you will always have a special place in your doctors and surgeons life because you would have left a lasting impression.

    No matter where you go, You will always be YOU even if at times you don’t want to be and people will love you for who you are and the strong person you have become.

    Fuck me i feel so philosophical tonight. Just doing this is helping me you don’t know how much.

    I want to wish you well in your new home and hope that you find those doctors that will grow to love and care for every part of your being, you deserve it.

    Healing vibes coming your way and safe journey.

    Love
    Lolly

  5. Lolly says:

    Melly,

    I forgot to add I love you as a person not a sick one but as a person who I can relate too laugh with and at who I also understand.

    with much Love and plenty of respect.

    Sharing me is hard you only get snippets I am not ready to give my all. I want to be a recluse but know you can’t really survive without someone. This World is hard this world is cruel but also there are good things that come out of it and you are one.

    Lolly LOLxoxo

  6. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by jenni prokopy, knoxqualityinn, Melissa Travis, Melissa Travis, Erica Deetscreek and others. Erica Deetscreek said: wanting the words “I love you” to be HEALING WORDS – AND NOT JUST for romance or throwaway http://bit.ly/cwwoAQ @DrSnit amazing I love you! […]

  7. Peggikaye says:

    I’ve enjoyed getting to know you. You’ve touched my heart in ways that I don’t think I could ever explain. It’s been a very long time since I thought I could say “this sucks”
    Thank you for that.

  8. Nicole Wells says:

    Dear Melissa,

    You heal me, my relationship with my mom heals me, and my pets heal me (when they’re not being dickheads).

    Thanks for writing this, sometimes it’s so hard to keep the strength up on my own – I’ve conditioned myself to be so independent and strong that I have to remember I am human, and I do need to pull strength from somewhere.

    If I was any crazier than I am now, I’d build a shrine to all the DT ladies in my home – as a constant reminder of how much you all rock my world.

    xoxo,

    Nix

  9. sadiemac says:

    Thank you. Wonderful and true. I just sent this to my “sick friends” because they need your words as badly as I did tonight. Healing words indeed.

  10. jody schoger says:

    Wow darlin’. WOW. Thanks for putting it all out there. I understand what you are writing about. Keep those words flowing.
    hugs,
    Jody

  11. Amanda says:

    Melissa,
    As always, I love to read what you write because you have so much insight and information. You make me think about things that I should be thinking about. One my biggest phobias since, forever, has been “attention”. I know that having to ask for help with this Graves Disease stuff has started that “attention whore” stuff on a small level. I do not want. do not want. In turn, I pull back and try to pretend I am fine and don’t need help. This is so ridiculous of me, and I know it. I am working into being a patient for the first time, it is like an alter ego for me or something. Maybe when I can blend the patient with the person, I will be better with this. For now, it is like being at war with myself.

    In my eyes others who are sick, needing help are not attention whores, so why do I feel that I will be? Because not everyone views the world like me.

    Amanda

  12. Joan Penfold says:

    Wow, Did you rummage around in my brain to get your words. OMG do I understand. I always try to wear the happy face, go out to places with the family, even though I just want to crawl in bed. They just don’t get it!
    I just got back from a Xmas Cruise and I shared with a friend who also had a chronic illness that I feel sick today. I have a fever and body aches. Anyway she said, “I don’t feel bad for you one bit”. Those were her exact words. She said then that she is sick too and I gave her kind words and was the better person. But who the fuck tells their friend they dont care a bit? Why don’t you just stick a knife in my heart! Well Fuck her!

    Sorry I had to release that! She WAS my sounding board, my friend that understands, etc. She just broke me but like we all do, I will pick up the pieces and more on.

    I also have several favorite Dr’s that I feel I have special relationships with. One always hugs me and lets me know he thinks I am an awesome lady and my primary Dr always has a hug and smile when I need it. The rest are just cold hearted robots that enter the room, listen to my heart, check my reflexes and charge insurance a lot of money!

    I suppose if we are sick we are all attention whores, and just need a little support from a loved one to let us know someone cares! And there is nothing wrong with that!

    Best wishes to all here and I hope you feel better and not worry about what others think…harder said than done!

  13. Diana says:

    I adore this post.

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