Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Just Give a Little Boost

Rant Warning:  I know, I know.  My first post in what feels like forever and it is a rant.  If you don't want to read this, guess what.  You don't have to!

There once was a time when my dad and I were at odds over how to handle my Bipolar Disorder.  He was of the belief that all you have to do is think positive and you will be positive.  Although this is an excellent starting point for most people, it is not always the end all, especially for someone with an invisible illness.  It doesn't matter if the illness is something like bipolar or depression, or if it is physical like Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Plain and simple, mind over matter does not cure everything, and quite frankly, it is one of the quickest ways to piss someone off when they have an invisible illness.

Think about it.  Have you ever had something happen to you physically or mentally that nobody else could see, but it was still there, hurting?  Maybe it was when a close friend or family member died.  Maybe you were sick and someone said you were faking it and no one could figure out what was wrong for a while.  Maybe it was a migraine. How about those with nerve pain, muscle weakness, or even cancer?  How did you feel when someone told you to just snap out of it or think positive and it will get better?  I am betting it felt pretty crappy.  And if you have never felt this degrading feeling, just take my word for it and shut your trap.  You don't know every person's journey.  You don't know the baggage they carry.  Stop being so damn cynical and believe someone for once when they tell you they don't feel well.

Now I bet you are wondering why I am ranting about this.  Well, I made a comment about how I will always be at doctor's offices until they find a cure for my illnesses.  The response asked why do I bother if it can't be cured anyway?  Well because I have to be able to function every day.  Then this person blew me off and said that I can function just fine.  What people don't see is how I let myself wince when they can't see me; how I hobble across the room in the morning because my body is so stiff until I shower; how tears fill my eyes when I once again can't open my own damn jar; how I cry myself to sleep sometimes because I feel lonely even when I am surrounded by my friends; how I take a handful of pills every morning and night just so I can put on that brave face when it hurts so bad to move but I make myself walk normal; how when I stop taking those pills, I literally cannot get out of bed, even if the damn house was on fire; how I recite positive mantras to myself every morning and night to help maintain my mental abilities.  Yes, I function damn well on most occasions, but it is because of a million little things I make sure to do each day to make sure I can at least fake it every day.

So before you reply to me after I mention some ailment I have, consider this.  Either 1) this load is just too much to handle on my own right now and I have to let some of it out or I will completely lose it, or 2) I consider you a very close friend that I can trust to handle me with care when I let my guard down and let you see the real me. So don't feed me crappy lines like "Think positive and you will BE positive!"  I've tried that shit and sometimes it just doesn't work.  Instead, stop listening with your ears and start listening with your heart, like my dad did.  After a particularly rough night when my dog ran away, my dad and I had a very intense and passionate conversation.  He finally listened to the message behind the words and not just the words.  He realized that I am not motivated the same way as my mom and brother.  He has to take a softer approach with me.  Instead of going drill sergeant, offer a helping hand and encouragement.  Chances are all I need is a small boost.