"We tell people they are “strong” when we are uncomfortable with their pain and would prefer that they shut up and not bother us with it. To say “but you are strong” is telling someone “I don’t think you should feel that way,” and it’s not a compliment. I don’t think that strength means being invulnerable, or pretending that you are.
You don’t owe it to your friends to be the “strong” one. Just because you have always been the good listener and the shoulder to cry on, doesn’t mean you have to maintain that role now when you need a good listener and a shoulder to cry on.
Be sad. Be angry. Let your heart break – in the diner, on someone’s futon, in the park, on the way to the zoo, at brunch, over drinks, in the therapist’s office, on the bus – Wherever it breaks, let it break all the way open, let it run out and down and spread out in a soggy puddle at your feet. Say, “I’m sorry, I can’t listen to you today, my heart is broken. Will you sit with me a while and I’ll tell you about it?“
Say, “I can’t take care of you today, but you can take care of me, and maybe tomorrow I will take care of you, and we can trade off like that for a while, okay?”
Say, “I love you, and I love that you think I’m strong, but I don’t feel like being strong today. I feel like being angry and crazy and sad. Can we go to the movies or just sit here quietly or take a walk or talk about it or not talk about it?“
Your friends may get scared when you do this. If you, the “strong” one can break, what does that say about them? That’s why they push back at you and try to remind you of your strength, when what you need is for them to stand by you in your pain and weakness. They don’t have to solve that pain, they just have to bear witness to it. Maybe they don’t know how – a lot of people don’t know what to do in the face of other people’s pain.
They want to fix everything, and if they can’t fix it they feel inadequate. As the “strong” one you can help them out with this by saying “You don’t have to fix it. You don’t have to do anything. Just be with me, and listen, and love me, and I’ll love you back. That’s all I need – to know that you love me, even when I’m sad and scared and don’t know what to do next.”
To ask for help is strength.
To admit you don’t know is strength.
To tell the truth about what’s happening is strength.
To be imperfect and to trust that imperfect people will love you despite those imperfections (albeit imperfectly) is strength.
To let the people you love see how you really feel – without trying to hide or stage manage their perception of you – is strength."
--The lie of strength, Captain Awkward
The link can be found HERE.
I want to ask all of my friends to please be patient with me in the next few weeks. I'm going through an entire week of testing at Mayo this week and I'm really nervous. I feel so awful that I wouldn't be surprised if I cried a lot more than usual. All of these procedures may leave me broken and exhausted by Friday. I can't eat after 6pm and I can't have anymore water after midnight, tonight.
Tomorrow, I report bright and early at Mayo at 6:30am for them to draw my blood to check my CORTISOL LEVELS.
At 6:40am, they are drawing more blood to do a complete panel. Thyroid, CBC, and other tests.
At 7:45am, I report for my barium swallow x-ray. Please keep your fingers crossed for me. I almost always throw up the barium. If I can't keep it down, I'm not sure they can do the test.
Tuesday, I get to go through another gastric emptying test. I'm not looking forward to that either. If I vomit up any of the eggs and toast, I will have to do the test all over again. They're going to take x-rays every 30 minutes for 4 hours. Last time I had this done, it hurt so badly.
Oh! And I'm going to take a picture of each Mayo building and review my procedures as well. I want to help ease anxiety of those who may be heading here later.
I love the hotel room. It's absolutely beautiful. It's a lot cheaper than the hotel we stayed at previously. We're staying in The Hampton Inn off of the mainland, closer to the Jacksonville beaches. Here are some pictures: