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Isolation, Listening and Finding our way Back to Ourselves

Post Published: 11 November 2010
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Category: Dear Thyroid Letters
This post currently has 8 responses. Leave a comment

This week I had a woman chat with me. We were both in the flower dept of a grocery store. I saw her and well something inside said “say something”, Not knowing why this lady in particular caught my eye. I often chat with strangers. In line or someone who just seems to need a smile or perhaps it is that I need to smile!

So I declared “they have the prettiest flowers today”! Well, she was so eager to talk. Stories came flying out of her mouth. One after another. Her stories were personal. Her stories would break hearts. She had so many sorrows.

She told her stories in great detail, like you would find when reading a book. Setting each scene; so I the listener could picture it well.

Being the person I have become, I took time to show her I was someone who would care. Knowing so well the need myself. It was not easy to hear these sad stories. I could see why others might pull away to some safer place where they would not need to know such “sadnesses”

I braced myself differently putting my weight on my shopping cart, so very glad I could. She continued. She was not a young woman. In fact, I asked her at one point how old she was. The answer was nearly 90. These stories spread across what must have been numerous years. But each one sounded like it had happened within the year.

So fresh in her mind, each detail. A three year old child that had asked if he could play after his treatment for leukemia if he was very good and did not cry. He spoke like a five year old. But soon after had died. An adult daughter with a tender spot in her side. Something she as a mother had needed surgery for a hernia. Her daughter’s biopsies before surgery showed a very rare cancer, that when opened spread like fires in California. After this mother began to probe the hospital as to why hours and hours later her daughter had not come out of surgery that should have taken no more than an hour. Finally a nurse who answered said,  “Oh, you can get her things out of the room, she won’t be needing them.”

More and more stories like this she shared; about her own illnesses, family threads, and medicines I should never take …..on and on.

I saw a scar on her neck after a long way into her stories. Yes, as you can imagine it was what we know.

I share this with you for some personal reasons of my own as well as wanting you to share with me what these messages are.

What can we do? What should we do? To be an example to others unwilling or unable to comfort the sadness of another. Humans being what? Indifferent? Caring? Supportive?

Should we tell more stories? Do we scare others off? Are we handling our personal suffering alone? Is it better to hold more in? Do we make others uncomfortable with our truths? Is this what our families are tired of hearing? Do we  in word Isolate ourselves.

How should we move forward. What does it mean to our illness and pain if we are always talking about it to people who do not want to hear?   What then is the balance?

Please share any thoughts you have. I am not sure what I believe. I will have to give this more thought. How can we “live” better?

Love, Linny

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8 Responses to “Isolation, Listening and Finding our way Back to Ourselves”

  1. Amanda says:

    Linny,
    I just love you. What a wonderful letter. I am not great with social situations, but I tend to speak to strangers randomly. I think something inside, just like you mentioned, tells me to speak to them. I have heard some wonderful, and some horrific stories people are willing to share.

    Personally, I tend to keep my stories inside. When I find a trusting ear, I share what I think they would be ok with hearing. My Graves Disease has scared off people, I guess they think I am going to ask them for something. I don’t. I ask for nothing, just the occasional ear to blurt something out to.

    I think we can live better by being better at listening, hearing and understanding. Thats all anyone wants, I know I would love it.

    Amanda

  2. Joanna Hageman says:

    Dear Linny,

    First off, Thank you for writing in such detail the pain I have wanted to so clearly express to so many! This brought tears to my eyes as reading it touched something very personal for me. I was just discussing with my therapist and a few others yesterday “Why do I feel such a need to be understood?” My therapist wanted me to write about. I could not have even come close to as clearly expressing what you have here in this letter. I feel no one really understands and yes, they do shy away, or we tend to “scare them off” with our many details! It brings a harsh reality, that yes, some of us are very isolated…and in being so, I’ve lost a lot of my self worth. What is anyone going to do to help make this different? Is it all up to me, the individual? I just want to scream it out sometimes. Anyway, I’ll leave it at that. Thank you!!

    Love,
    Joanna H.

  3. Linny says:

    Dear Amanda & Joanna H.
    I love you too! Truely! You “get” me, I can tell. I am so very glad that I was able to share what for me has been my largest examination. I find to be ill is one thing, and to be an outcase another.
    The very indifference I feel that people have to anothers needs. People have changed. People are not humans being apathic. The word “apathy” could be dropped from the dictionary. People have forgotten its meaning. As my Endo stated, it is rare anymore to find this trate in people.
    Here writing to all of you who care and share reminds me that to be apathic one must understand the depth of pain. There is no shortage here,we all know all kinds of pain. The worst, for me, is the emotions of pain. We harden to the physcial pain. We have been able to “live” with the physcial effects. The deadly ones are the emotional ones. This is why people end their own lives. To change this we need to feel validated and cared for. Having someone reach out to us and let us share what we know.
    We alais are the “healthy humans being” taking illness to learn what living really is and living well.
    Losing our health, we have won so much more of our souls, not less.
    Our souls are crying out to the world. The world is turning away and indifferent. We have a message of great urgency. The healthy are not really healthy. They are hollow. Hollow in the most important way, hallow in a way that makes them less human, not more. Robots, avoiding emotions.
    I am sorry I had to be sick to learn this, but I am wiser and richer for it’s knowledge. When I have a good day, it really is the BEST. A big price to pay, but what would you rather know?
    Love, Linny

    • Amanda says:

      Linny,
      You should have a regular column here. You write from the heart, and it is always great. Your letters and poetry are so healing and wonderful… Just suggesting it. 😉 You know I would read it!

      Amanda

  4. tyoungmon says:

    I thank you for writing this letter for it puts so many of my feelings into words,feelings I can no longer put into words. It’s all here in my head but to put it words I can no longer do cause it gets so mixed up.I hope you can understand what I’m trying to say. Thank you!

  5. Linny says:

    Amanda that is such a sweet compliment. Katie did ask me, I am, kinda sorta trying….like the above story. I don’t know for sure what people need to hear or share. I am just winging it.
    When I went to College I majored in Art and English. I had the dream to write and illustrate childrens books. Well life got in the way and so now with my children and my husbands children all on there own I am once again exploring this idea (gulp) You see it was printed on a school calendar when I went to Whitewater, UW…..in the 70’s and so I am feeling like I should be making it part of my “bucket” list at this point.
    I am in the process of writing a story now; subject; the New Day. A celebration and a chance to do things all over. A fresh start no matter what the past. Truely hoping it will be a joy of all ages. I wrote the script for my own need of a positive atitude and the very need to say always in the heart….I think I can and ending up with well I thought I could and I did!
    This writing exercise helps me focus on what is really important. After a good pitty party with uno in attendance I must flip it to the Yang as well the yeng.
    All things in balance and harmony. The sun the rain. I truely love them both. I am trying to love all of me instead of the critical eye I have had on myself.
    You have a powerful message too. You are alway available. Alway answering always ready to hug someone like me. I need you in my life too. I know many basically good people but most have been hurt as I have. We all just play bumper cars with each other. There and contacting but not in the best way.
    I need someone who thinks I’m ok the way I am and not always needing to be who others want me to be.
    Much love and care, Linny

  6. Linny says:

    Dear Tyoungmon,
    I understand completely. To be able to read something that “fits” is so comforting. Now you know we share the same feelings as many others like us. You are not alone. I have been so tired that I cannot speak outloud. I am greatful that I can write better than I can speak sometimes. My thoughts go round and round in my head. I cannot be still and rest until I can get them out. So writing helps me too.
    It means so much that I can share my words. Share in the way we both eat food. I do not wish my words to only be about myself. Then I would be lonely. Your answer helps me know I should keep writing for everybody who needs me to be a voice. I will speak for us all. It makes me feel that I have something to give. I feel best when I feel useful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts so I know my words are helping someone. That makes me smile. I care, we share…..Linny xoxoxox

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