Wednesday, 4 November 2015

You're Suffering but Family and Friends Can't Read Your Mind


You're in pain, you're dealing with emotional issues, you're falling apart, and you desperately want someone to help you but you haven't asked anyone...how can they know? The luckiest of us have people in our lives that can read our facial expressions and know we're not being honest about pain or distress, but even they sometimes need an explanation.

Do you think that your partner, family, friends, colleagues, can read your mind? Can you read theirs?

For some bizarre reason, I'd never thought about this until a few months ago; I assumed my boyfriend (who is an absolute diamond) knew I was having a bad day, or my hip was flaring, or I wanted to curl up into a ball and cry for the rest of my life, without me saying a word. I just supposed he could access the deepest, darkest parts of my mind, my pain receptors, and understand why I was irritable and biting his head off for absolutely no reason. 

I shut-down when I'm in a lot of pain, I want to be on my own and I'm angry. I'm angry at myself, my body, my life, everyone around me. I'm angry if someone speaks to me when I don't want to be spoken to; I'm angry because nobody understands how it feels and I'm angry because I'm isolated. During these periods, I withdraw, I lose contact with people, I give one word answers, I cancel plans, and I sometimes feel like everyone that I'm pushing away should know why it's happening. But how can they? I'm not taking all the blame, friendship is a two-way street and people lose touch; but my true friends - they're with me until the end. My best friend will happily listen to me rant about my shitty chronic life for hours or he'll not even ask about it and we'll spend an hour laughing at something random we've watched on TV. And sometimes, that's exactly what I need. Sometimes, when I'm stuck in a rut of self-loathing, self-pity, rage pain, I don't even want to think about it, let alone talk about it. I'm grateful for all those who love me and put up with my drama.

I take for granted how difficult it must be for my loved ones to hear that I want to give up, that I can't take it any more. How frustrating and heartbreaking must it be for them to watch someone they care about suffer so much and not be able to do anything. I don't give them enough credit for looking after me despite my irritability. I'm not angry with them, I love them, I'm just fed up. And I should tell them more. I should ask for help. I should learn to accept help.

I think my main problem is that I don't like pain to dominate conversations. Yes, it's a huge part of my life but it's boring and repetitive to continually say, 'my back hurts', 'I have a migraine', 'I'm shattered.' Surely, they know. I'm in pain everyday. The people in our lives are aware of our condition/s and it's much easier to say, 'look, I'm having a bad day today,' than losing your temper over the slightest thing because you've not communicated properly. Just because they 'know' you're in pain, doesn't mean they know how much. They can't read your mind.

I'm getting better at asking for help, it's not a sign of weakness, it's not stripping away my independence, it's a way of coping with my condition. The sooner I accept that, the better it will be. The more I tell my loved ones that I need them, that I'm struggling, that I open up, the easier it will be to maintain strong relationships. 

No matter what you're dealing with, nobody knows what you're thinking, communication is vital.

Thank you for reading this and thanks for the ongoing support.

10 comments:

  1. Your so brave for posting this. Asking for help, or coming to terms with the fact you need help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of courage. More often than not we suffer in silence and hope to overcome things alone. I'd like to think I'm quite independent, so struggle to ask for help at times, but it can make me feel lonely.

    Emily xo
    www.britishbeautyaddict.com

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    1. Thank you, Emily :) It can be very lonely, especially when it's such a hard topic to discuss but asking for help is the first step x

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  2. This made me cry, I do exactly the same. But a big problem I have is that my family don't understand that I'm in pain every day and that I'm too ill to work. I think that they think I'm putting it on and I'm a scrounger who can't be bothered. Only my other half and best friend really get that I'm not going to get better and this is it. I just feel like I can't talk to them at all. I only really see my mum who says things like "never mind, you'll get better eventually" and I can't respond to that. Sorry for the rant, like Emily says chronic illness can make you feel so lonely xx

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    1. Aww, I'm sorry, Lucy. Rant away, it's absolutely fine. I get all that, it's tough and I have people in my life that do the same. I'm glad you have a few people that understand and you can rely on x

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  3. I kind of feel like this too, but I know that other people don't really understand it. My mum will always respond by telling me 'I had a sore knee once too' or whatever, and my Other Half is sometimes understanding but often gets frustrated himself and moans that I'm 'always broken'. It's kind of difficult to know how to achieve a happy medium - I agree it's good to communicate but at the same time I don't want to because it reinforces the idea that there is always something wrong with me (which of course there is, I guess. I just don't like thinking about it that way myself or I'd never do anything).

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    1. Communication is so difficult, I hate asking for help, I don't want to not be able to do things and it's even harder when nobody listens; I'm sorry you don't have people that get it x

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  4. Great post. It very much resonates with me. This year has been one of the worst years of my life mainly because my illnesses (that Ive had for serval years) have advanced to the point that Im disabled and often bedridden and thus A LOT has had to change. Its like every month something heartbreaking happens or we find out something else is wrong. I have so much anger and sorrow, it can feel absolutely overwhelming. Friends that I thought were close faded away and I have such resentment about it. You are correct though that our loved ones can't totally comprehend what is going on inside us and some people need direction in how to best support you. Totally off topic but have you read "how to be sick", if not I HIGHLY recommend it.
    www.shipwithnosails.com

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    1. So sorry that you've been suffering a lot. Losing people is always painful, especially when they don't make an effort to be in your life but you realise who really matters. I've not read that but I'll go search for it now, thank you x

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  5. amazing post and so well written! I hope everything is getting better for you Sarah,i can relate to so much of what you have said as i suffer from depression and anxiety disorders as well as an annoying ocd. I have not told anyone about it,neither my family or my BF but after reading your post,i think it might just be best to do so xx

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    1. Thank you, Hollie, I really appreciate your comment. I hope you manage to speak to your family and bf x

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