Monday, March 20, 2006

That Thing We Do and Don't Do -aka Whining ?

I was thinking about what I would blog here today and caught myself thinking that I'd better not do the very thing I'd said was part of the purpose of this blog, sharing with others the truth about daily living with cfs symptoms and all. I wasn't going to whine... I wasn't going to post about my day to day yuckies because no one wants to hear a whiner whine all the time. Isn't that the way we feel so often? Stuff it in. Hold it back. Keep it mum. And here I'd said that the one reason I had thought about blogging was to tell the things that don't get told on e-lists! What was i thinking so that other's would know they aren't alone.

Funny how influenced we get by culture even though we may never hear it put into words. Of course it's equally incorrect to tell someone to their face that we think they're whining too much, unless they're our child of course. And that's most likely where we get that idea. On the other hand, we've all known at least one of those annoying whiner types who seem to do nothing but complain and feel sorry for themselves. Thus we curb and restrain our own expression of woe for fear WE are one of those annoying people.

This tendency plays right into another problem we run into so often, family and friends not understanding us. Could it be that we think we've conveyed information to them when we really haven't? At least not at the gut level, or being oh so very careful not to talk about symptoms too often for fear of scaring them away? If we don't know something we can't act on it. Same thing is true for family members and friends when it comes to understanding our condition.

Where is the balance between the two, not telling and telling too much? In this culture of ours with our brave and strong heros we don't want to acknowledge weakness. (probably true in many cultures old and new). Survival of the fittest. And so we look the other way when we see someone with no legs and we keep our mouths shut when our owies are troubling us. Being vulnerable is scary. Even appearing vulnerable is scary.

I've been reading an interesting book on raising kids . He talks about how kids need to be attached to their parents and how when they've replaced their attachment to parents with friends they start acting out. One of the things he points out is how vulnerable kids are in their need for closeness and attachment yet how hard they try to hide their vulnerabilities from their peers. Thus they come off as uncaring, unfeeling, mouthy, and hard headed. They never let on their fears or appear weak. Kids can be cruel, and they know it. But how do we overcome that as adults? With peers and bosses we sometimes don't. But sadly this too often holds true with family and those who are closest to us. Sometimes those people help keep us mum too...

I can also tell you that exposed vulnerabilities in our loved ones can make us very uncomfortable, very weak ourselves! I can think of three extreme instances to share with you when I felt very much that way, totally helpless. The first time was at the same time when I became ill and had a teeny tiny baby laying in ICU. He was so vulnerable, so small, so in need of others - me. And I felt totally unable to help him. I felt helpless in my distress. The second time was when my son became ill at age 15. He was so sick, so vulnerable, so weak. But I could do little for him. The last time was when my husband was barely able to breath during a forest fire we had a couple years ago. I sat and watched him struggle to breath, wanting so badly to help him breath yet could do nothing for him. I felt so helpless, so weak, so vulnerable myself because I feared loosing my loved ones in each case, or at the very least not being able to do much of anything to ease their suffering. That is how it feels when someone close to us is vulnerable and we know it. It's frightening because it exposes our own weaknesses.

And so we all dance around this circle of revealing and hiding, sharing and keeping silent... We don't know when nor how much to share so we tend not to share much at all. And I will add, sometimes there are some things that are just flat difficult to know how to share, and some things, like pain, are just impossible to share - but we can try to find words to explain it best we can.

There is so much to discuss on this topic. Perhaps I'll venture into the territory again one of these days. For now I will just add that I thank God that He is the One person I know who is there who understands my sorrows and suffering even when I can not put it into words, even when I don't know if I should talk about it, He already knows and understands. And He doesn't call me a whiner : )

2 Cor 1: 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

For now I'll close this by saying, "I had a cruddy day today. Better than some, worse than others. I was extremely fatigued, that gotta-lay-down-flat-too-weak-to-stand-up type exhaustion from the minute I got out of bed. It was mostly cruddy due to feeling so disappointed as I had hoped to find a few moments here and there again when I wasn't feeling quite so bad so I could get some much needed housework done. I wanted to do something with my daughter ... So I was tired and cruddy bummed knowing that it was sunny outside and there I lay on my bed, again..." I pray tomorrow brings a few moments of energy.



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