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Chronic Snarkopolist: Don’t You Dare Make Me Soup!

Post Published: 03 November 2011
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Category: Chronic Autoimmune Conditions, Chronic Snarkopolist, Column, Uncategorized
This post currently has 4 responses. Leave a comment

Hello my loves!

Does being a patient make you feel vulnerable? Does letting people see you when you are “sick” make you feel that way? It often shocks me how much I can roll through an MRI or PET scan all alone. I can drive myself there, deal with the experience, and come home and wait for results. I can make fun of the “big stuff.”

But last week two small things happened. And the profound impact of both things added up, one more than the other. And I am really blown away by my own reactions to both. I went to get xrays and mentioned it to a friend, who promptly showed up. I was shocked, astounded, that someone would show up to wait with me to piddly little xrays that took no more than 20 minutes to check for a hair line fracture when I drive myself to GIANT LIFE ALTERING TESTS. While I was there I felt both supported and pleased, but also lonely. I didn’t just feel lonely for THAT xray but for all those times when I have sat alone for doctors appointments and exams and scans and tests and felt afraid and sat in pain. And I didn’t say anything to my friend. It was a kindness of course.

I was more intrigued my MY emotional reaction to someone being supportive when I am used to being “a solider” and sucking it up and doing it ALONE. I am used to being “the nurturer” and the one who “supports” not the one who receives support. And I realized that it is probably because IF I wait for support or phone calls or someone to show up, I will often during my darkest hours find myself VERY VERY ALONE. And so IF I go alone and someone DOES show up, I can be surprised and happy rather than disappointed. But I have harmed myself along the way. I have forgotten how to ask for help. I have forgotten how to expect kindness from people. I have forgotten what it feels like to be taken care of or comforted and so I felt lonely and emotionally needy. I craved hugs and support.  I felt a sense of never having enough nurturing to fill the void.

The second circumstance happened just a few days later when someone brought me soup after I came down with a fever resulting from a sinus and ear infection. Instead of saying, “Oh thank you, how kind.” I cried. I cried and cried and said, “I don’t like to have needs. If I accept kindness and get used to you then I will grow to NEED you. And if I NEED then I am vulnerable to you and you can hurt me.” Seriously. From soup? My friend said, “I am trying to take care of you and be nice to you but you are thwarting me.” I cried more.

I mean, I did have a fever. And eventually I even ate some and then slept and felt better and called and said, “Thank you, it was very kind of you, I’m sorry if I’m a dork.” Still – I realize that when I am sick I feel prickly and vulnerable and wounded. And THAT is when I forgot to open my arms and ACCEPT LOVE. Instead I pushed it away. If we want LOVE we need to be willing to put our dukes down and open our arms for a hug instead. Or soup. This is a paradox to what I had just felt about the xrays. When someone actually brought me soup I pushed them away. Perhaps being nurtured is a skill we learn. Giving up control and letting people in must take time.

Being chronically ill is a doozy. We get used to hiding it from others. Or hearing how “annoying” people with our illness are and so doing our VERY BEST to be model citizens and having no needs. Or sometimes we will get a wave of emotion with soup or a visit from a friend and suddenly we will be confronted with a part of ourselves we didn’t know existed. I believe we are all capable of healing, one story, one day at a time. Bodies heal, hearts heal, minds heal, and emotional wounds heal.

What do you think? I would love to know your experiences or if you believe this too. I would love your insight into this. Have you ever had a BIG reaction to a small kindness or health moment (especially after dealing with so much?) I’m very intrigued to know if others also feel vulnerable over little kindnesses like soup or allowing others to “see them sick.” Is this my private issues or do you also do it? Do you do other things? Please tell me. I must know!

I will see you same time next week! Kiss kiss!

-Melissa

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4 Responses to “Chronic Snarkopolist: Don’t You Dare Make Me Soup!”

  1. KCMO says:

    Thank you so much for this post, Melissa! I didn’t know others felt the same/were going through the same. I actually do not tell many people (outside of family) about my diagnosis. I really worry that they will look at/treat me differently. So, I act like it doesn’t exist, like I don’t need any help, when in reality, I would LOVE for someone to go to an appointment with me. Thank you for making me feel less alone. And I think I am going to go ahead and ask for help from family from time to time. Why not?

  2. Linda B Reed says:

    Oh, you said it SO well, Melissa! I feel this way often- today, in fact- thank you for expressing what many of us feel daily! HUGS to you and thank you for making ME feel hugged & understood, at least in this moment! 🙂

  3. Tiffany says:

    I am so glad you posted this! I feel the same exact way. I have told family and close friends about my illness, and they know i’m having issues, but they don’t physically see it. Some of my best friends and I have started growing apart because I never feel up to going, or hanging out with them, they don’t understand how demanding the symptoms of thyroid disease can be. But when I do mention how much it actually affects me, I feel like i’m whining or complaining. And when I visit family members I always get the comment “you look like you’re doing well today!” They expect to see me looking very sickly and ill. But they don’t understand that no matter how I look, I feel completely different. So I have just stopped talking about it and looking for support from others and just deal with it by myself. It’s easier to be strong for myself than to be vulnerable to everyone else. I am so glad that I am not alone in this!!

  4. Lolly says:

    Melly Mel,

    You are so not alone, not many of us do open are arms and ask for help, I for one. I want to go it alone, is it because it’s long term and I don’t want to use my aces in the cards I’ve been delt too soon, because one day there maybe no one there for us at all..who’s going to shuffle and deal then.

    Love how you write and love you. I’m starting up a fucking soup Kitchen.

    Lolly

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