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True Support

Posted on 2013.11.09 at 15:29
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A word of advice for those watching someone deal with a chronic condition or something life altering.

1.  Stop trying to relate because you can't.
2.  Don't give sympathy because I don't want it.
3.  Don't minimize or judge what you don't understand--and you don't understand.
4.  Don't assume advancements in technology and medicine mean I should have hope, can be "fixed," or life can be "normal."
5.  False hope, even with good intentions, can be devastating.

Try to understand that:

1.  You don't need to relate to be supportive.  In fact it would sadden me if you tried to dwell on suffering just to attempt to relate.  It isn't a competition...it just is what it is.
2.  When I complain about it, I am doing so because I trust you that you will not judge or talk about it.  I am human and sometimes need to vent to gain perspective and keep from becoming overwhelmed.
3.  Understanding medically what is happening is very different than understanding what I am going through.  And medicine is not always current or correct...especially with some conditions.  Look at how things have changed over just the last 100 years regarding various illnesses/conditions.
4.  I am still me and I am far from broken.  My bad moments may look different than yours, but they are not ME.  Some things cannot be fixed, but that does not mean I am broken.
5.  Choosing to live in reality, or dealing with your emotions, is not depression or pessimism.  Acceptance does not mean giving up.  I believe happiness comes from within not without...and thus I can be happy regardless of this condition and do not need medicine or prayer because I already have faith in my own heart.

Watching someone dealing with such a condition is very difficult.  I need you to know:

1.  I can't relate to how you feel.  I may not be able to even show how much I appreciate or care how it affects you, but I still do.
2.  Sometimes saying nothing and just listening is what I need.  But I also want to be there for you when I can; love goes both ways if it is really love.
3.  You may not understand, but don't stop asking questions...there may be a day when you are the advocate for what I no longer can advocate for.  I know you want to understand and you are trying in your own way.
4.  I live my life on my own terms.  Doctors have been wrong many times in my life and prayer has offered no solace.  That does not mean I haven't tried countless medical interventions or am not deeply spiritual.  I don't need convincing; I've already done it.
5.  I accept this condition for what it is, but I am determined to live my life as I want to for as long as I am on this Earth.  You can either stand beside me hand in hand, or we can part ways...you must do what is best for you and I do not begrudge you for it; I will always wish you joy and peace.

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