How are you? Fine? Good? Going OK?
How are you really? Truly? Deep down? Honestly?
Whilst you’re thinking about it, I’ll let you know how I’m going. Let’s chat later, ‘kay?
I’m the original Silver Lining Girl. Find me an issue and I can find you a positive. It’s like my superhero skill.
Unfortunately, sometimes this leads to a bit of “smile and nod”. Plastering a big smile on and getting on with life. You know, pushing the crap deep down. Gliding serenely like a swan, whilst my little legs are paddling furiously out of sight.
I’ve been dealing with chronic illness since Boyo was a toddler. He’s now 11 (and starting high school next year!). Honestly, my boring list of illness, disease, disorders and general crap is longer than an over the knee sock. It’s caused all sorts of flow on emotional effects too.
Over the years, I’ve reached a point where I’ve had to ask for help because I could no longer deal with it on my own.
- I had to put my nearly three year old Boyo into daycare just so I could have a rest and recovery day once a week. I didn’t want to admit that I wasn’t able to parent him full time due to illness. I thought all my love would be enough.
- I had to quit my job where I was being workplace bullied – when I realised that my asthma attacks were actually stress-induced panic attacks. I didn’t want to admit that this had happened to a strong and independent woman.
- Admitting that my PMS was actually PMDD and I needed antidepressants to treat it.
- Needing to talk to a psychologist to deal with being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in my early 30s. I went through grief counselling for the life I should have been able to lead.
- Needing to talk to a psychologist to deal with going into remission in my late 30s. Dealing with all the issues that I hadn’t been able to process whilst I was so ill.
Over the years, getting professional help has really helped me to orient myself. Whether that be a nephrologist for my chronic oedema or a rheumatologist for my autoimmune disease or a psychologist for anxiety.
It has also given me tools, tips and tricks to gauge how I’m rolling. When my joints flare up, I know it’s time to look at my diet, drop inflammatory foods and increase my medication levels from maintenance to treatment.
When my oedema means that I lose sensation in my hands, I add diuretics to my daily dose of supplements and medications.
When my PMDD week of my cycle rolls around, I am kind to myself because I know the flat feeling and sadness will go, and I’ll be back to my usual sunny self.
However, occasionally those feelings take a little longer to lift. It takes me a little longer to bounce back sometimes.
I’m feeling a little like that at the moment. I’m a bit tired, the weather is a bit shit, the Welshman is super busy at work, Boyo is growing up – fast!, the Bunny Bros are grumpy – they hate rain, and I’ve just taken on a huge new project. I’m super excited but a bit stressed too.
I’m also working through a really big personal issue. It’s been going on for a few months now, and I’m not comfortable sharing all the minutiae. Suffice it to say that a close friend of more than seven years’ standing disappointed me deeply with her reaction to something I found the courage to share with her, involving our kids.
It really stopped me in my tracks and made me reevaluate, well, pretty much everything. If I could have read someone so incorrectly for so long, did I really know myself? Was I kidding myself about other friendships? Were they all so one-sided?
I’ve spent a lot of time overanalysing it. Mulling it over. Talking it through. Thrashing it out.
Luckily, I’ve come out of the other side with reinforced friendships with those who truly matter. My tribe, the people who get me.
Some others have withered and faded away. And that’s OK. Some friendships are evergreens. Some are more like deciduous trees and shed every season. Some shock the hell out of you and change mid season!
My son is super happy because although he always knew I would do anything for him, he really got to see me demonstrate this to him.
The Welshman has supported me with love, laughter and awesome analysis. It has really reinforced that we stand together, backing each other.
Isn’t it amazing what just getting it out, putting it out there, processing it all does? Therapeutic and cathartic. Love that!
So, yeah, I’m a bit bruised emotionally, but I’ve grown as a person. It’s made our family stronger. We’ve turned a negative into a positive.
Now, that’s more than enough about me. How are you? HOW are you? How ARE you? How are YOU? It’s important to ask that question in a way that people can hear. It’s equally important to listen to the answers. Some days, it’s just enough that someone asked.
How are you?
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