I've always been the first person to raise my hand and call "bullshit" when someone close to me is struggling and tries to find a flimsy way to disguise it. I've also been the one, more times than I'd like to admit, to try and hide when I'm truly suffering myself. Which is why my blog posts and sketches are advice-filled and seem to be very self-directed.*
Most people can get by with half-assed self care. When you've got a serious illness, there are times when half-assing anything can be risky. Risky for your health, and risky for your heart.
I regularly depend on my pain management specialist** to cock his head to the side and glare at me as though he sees directly through my fibbing.
Post-flare, the period after you've been sick for longer than you thought you could stand, is proving to be more difficult for me than the roughest situations that my little body has gone through in these past, terrifying years.
Though it may seem foreign to some, relearning most everything that was familiar or had always been second nature is the trouble I've been facing everyday. Strengh comes in very intense waves. I had a heart-breaking separation late last year as most of you know, and that will continue to be very painful. I am grateful to have had such a wonderful, giving partner for such a long time. What I'm describing though, goes much further beyond that.
If there are people in your life that are starting over, for any reason, and you're not sure how to approach them or you see that they're struggling particularly hard, these are just a few ways to ease their woes:
Make light (but not too light) of the situation at hand.
I bet if you somehow incorporated a fart joke, it would be appreciated. Despite that Cait Dooley says, "If they can't take a poop joke, they're no friend of mine", a point with which I happen to agree very much, it may or may not go over well. Don't ask me, man. Feel the room.
Offer to get them out of the house.
This is an important one. When you're depressed, your body will let you know if a good sob is necessary, right? But that can quickly turn into your general, "I can't move and don't want to", kind of day. It's a slippery slope, chums. Let's help our loves from self-medicating with drugs or alcohol-- and stick to the preferred, excess of cookie dough.
Watch Sci-fi with them.
Or whatever they like, even if you hate it.
Suck it up and be the friend you should be.
I know that if I make plans with someone and I'm feeling like poop, if they bail, I'm sad about it for a bit. That's just me. I'm a flake though, too. I do it often. Which leads me to my next point--
Don't let pals blow you off when you know their alternative is a pint of ice cream and the episode of Friends where Ross & Rachel break up played three times in a row.
(I flake all the time)
Recognize when someone is trying.
If we try to have a little patience with our wonky friends, it might go a long way in their healing. Not to mention, it could do you some good to sacrifice time, energy, the upper hand in a ridiculous debate, or even your plans for an afternoon at a museum or getting high in your cousin's basement.
I have been terrified to continue with Stale Cabbage because I felt like a cross between a fraud for being a non-sick person, and guilty for becoming a monster while I was so sick and miserable for so long. Fuck it.
Happy New Year.
I'M IN REMISSION.
No more apologizing.