Hope you’re feeling better

I love that friends & family & even neighbours often think of me & ask how I am or say they hope I am feeling better. It lets me know that I am cared for & not forgotten, even though my disease has pretty much caused me to live the life of a recluse over recent years.

However, it also conjures another emotional response. A response that I am sure many others with chronic diseases will relate to. It conjures a feeling of guilt & even frustration.

Why?

I’ve been contemplating that question for a while & I’ve come to the conclusion it’s because I feel like I’m letting everyone down. People generally like to read a good story with an introduction, a middle with a climax that is often dramatic but has a conclusion with a happy ending.

It’s like that in real life too. If we hear someone is sick we like to hear soon after that they’re better. If we hear someone has a terminal illness or chronic disease that will progress rather than improve……well, what do you do with that? How do you find the right emotional response to the person living with those circumstances? The natural response is to run or feel anger or fear or deep sorrow.

Flight or fight!!

The chronic disease sufferer has no choice but to fight as flight is a little impossible for most of us!  So those around us, searching for an emotional, appropriate response to the situation have little choice but to ask,  ” How are you today? ” or to say, “I hope you’re feeling better”.

images-7So, the guilt & frustration of the chronic disease sufferer is rooted in the fact it’s unlikely they’re feeling any better than they did yesterday, or the day before & it’s likely they’ll be on a path of getting progressively worse.

No one wants to hear that & no one wants to say that. It all sounds a little…well, too dismal! 😕I don’t like giving dismal news so I start to feel bad that I have to. It’s either tell the truth (or a dulled down version) or lie. I’ve always been such a strong advocate of openness & honesty so, if I did lie, I would still feel overwhelming guilt.

So how do we, the chronic disease sufferer & the caring friend or family member, live happily ever after with a situation that is ongoing & let’s face it, burdensome to everyone.

We just need to keep trying to understand each other. The chronic disease sufferer needs to understand that people really can’t find the right thing to say because what can you say? The caring friend or family member also need to understand that your response may simply be, ” thanks for asking, still no change” or ” things are getting a little worse”. Depending on who you are talking to, you may feel comfortable to expand with a few details.

At the end of the day contact with others is so important for our overall wellbeing. So, my tip is, once that awkward “hope you’re feeling better today” moment is out of the way, simply ask the caring enquirer how they are & get a conversation flowing that makes everyone comfortable.

PS: In the spirit of guilt free openess & honesty… I’m not doing all that great physically today but I’m still managing to feel relaxed & happy

Sam xx

If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding & friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum ” Medical Musings with Friends”. It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic & complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1074726565969551/

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13 thoughts on “Hope you’re feeling better

  1. Perfectly well said Sam. I agreed with pretty much everything that you said. I am sad to read the bit at the end of your post from today – the p.s. that you are not doing all that great today but feeling relaxed and happy enough. I think you are very brave. It is wonderful to see you embrace something positive out of all the pain and negativity of a chronic disease, and write on this blog. You are inspiring. x x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your thoughts & comments Esther. I really appreciate that. Lol..I thought an honest PS at the end was what was needed to finish off the topic as it’s real & how it is every day due to my bone disease but I definitely didn’t want it to be sad as I don’t let it make me that way…on most days anyway 😊💖 xx

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  2. Oh Sam, I empathize with this so much!
    It is really hard to reconcile our health not improving to people who have no concept of chronic illness, isn’t it!?
    I have a friend I went to high school with that I am still very good friends with who has fibromyalgia, so we usually ask each other if its a high pain day or not, haha! He just gets it, so its nice not having to fake being a functional human being on bad days! LOL!
    But my usual answer to people is “Everything hurts, but I’m happy.”
    Luckily the majority of people I spend time with are colleagues who all know what my disease is, so they get that it isnt going anywhere soon!
    Ps. I think you’re amazing ❤

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  3. I will memorize this response! I had to “medically” retire December 2015 and unfortunately have stopped communicating due to not knowing what to say. Glad I found your blog.

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    1. Hi Marla,
      I’m so sorry you have also had to medically retire. Really glad you found my blog too.
      If you would like to join the Medical Musings with Friends FB Support Forum you would be really welcome. It’s a private group & the members are so supportive & understanding. Here’s the link if you’re interested. Take care Sam xx
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/1074726565969551/

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  4. Sam, you nailed it! I refuse to pretend that all is well or that I am “better”. It does nothing to further understanding of FMS (my particular condition)! At the same time, I do not “go on and on and on…” about how badly I feel either. It’s a balancing act, requires tact, even restraint, but being “REAL” about how we are is very important. The whole “pretending” thing not only fails to increase awareness, but it eats away at us–something no one needs to add to their life!
    Keep up the fantastic work!
    Meshea

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Meshea for your encouragement. It’s such a balancing act & it’s really encouraging to hear my experience & approach resonates with you too. When chronic illness affects so much of who we are, keeping our integrity is so important.
      Thanks so much for your comment
      Sam xx

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  5. “At the end of the day contact with others is so important for our overall wellbeing.” This is so true. Sometimes I just want to hide from healthy people, but I know in the long term that isn’t a great solution.

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    1. That is such an understandable response, especially if we are hopeful of a greater level of understanding than perhaps healthy friends are able to provide. Lowering our own expectations & just being resolved to enjoying their company & non health discussions, can be such a breath of fresh air for everyone.
      Take care
      Sam xx

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  6. I absolutely can relate to the expectations of a happy ending to my health journey from family and friends. I always feel pressure to finish an update with “But I am trying this new Rx, or seeing a new Dr., or doing this new exercise regimen, so hopefully it will help…” It always feels awkward, but I agree that it’s hard for family or friends to know what to say. Glad to find your blog and connect 🙂 I’m sharing this post on my twitter and FB accounts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Katarina,
      I so agree with your comments. My first instinct is to end with something positive too with family & friends & I find myself even doing that with my Drs. I’ve recently made a concerted effort to be true to my natural positive personality but also be honest when things are not as good with my health as any of us might like them to be. Definitely takes a bit of getting used to.
      Thanks for your comments & for sharing my blog. I’m looking forward to reading yours & will share it on my FB forum & page.xx 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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