Chronic Illness: Who Supports Your Support System?

| by

Support systems is something we discuss frequently on this site, and with good reason.  Disease has the tendency to make us feel like abandoned children.

My question is – who supports our support system?

While I was really sick and friends started dropping off because they weren’t equipped and didn’t understand – I needed my mom for support. However, my mom had no one around her to lean on, she absorbed the madness on her lonesome.

There’s a young gent I met fairly recently, and he happens to be supporting a family member in the same way my mom supported me. Again, because of the world not being fair and making people sick (see my previous column for that reference). One thing that really perplexes me is his ability to continue on with his day without throwing things all over the place, refraining from stabbing people that annoy him, and just being able to simply…smile.

How does he keep himself so damn focused? I admire him for being able to handle a shitty situation so well.

I don’t know how I’d handle being the support system for someone who is sick. I know I’d step up, but I don’t know how I’d stop myself short of slapping/stabbing someone that pisses me off.

While I was really sick, my mind was never on work or stuff that needed to get done. I couldn’t function physically or mentally.  I wasn’t able to walk around and pretend. I could hardly WALK up my STAIRS at night because of Graves feasting on my muscles. PS? Falling up stairs is only funny for so long, and the novelty of crawling and panting had worn off. My mom could see me struggle, and it made her feel worse than I did.

Disease not only changes you, but the people around you that continue to support despite their mental and physical exhaustion. They take on an incredible amount of responsibility and pain.

I aged with Graves, therefore, my mother aged.

Now that it’s somewhat over….I feel younger than I have in years. Can the same be said for my mom? I dunno, but I feel like I’ve added more wrinkles to her face…aside from the wrinkles she got dealing with her rad, teenage daughter.

Since I’m aware of this Young Gent’s situation, but not privy to all the details – all I can do is offer my support as a friend. However, offering support can be a tricky thing: some people simply don’t want to talk about it. Plus, who am I to offer support to Young Gent? I’ve only known him for a few months, but he’s definitely someone I have fun being around and I really respect him – so that’s gotta count for something, right? I’m just here to listen as a gal who has been through the sickness bulls**t and understands. My ears are well equipped to hear it all because of my own experience, and if he wants advice, I feel like my mouth has a ton to hand over.

Just knowing this Young Gent in the short amount of time that I have, and getting a good feel for the type of man he is – the only thing I realize with absolute certainty is…he’s going to be even more awesome than he already is when all is said and done.

What, were you expecting something more eloquent then that?

We’ve all left disease as awesome-er people than when we started, and so did those supporting us.  We now understand the value of health.  We appreciate one another even more.  We’re WISE beyond our years.  If you don’t feel that way – it’s time to reexamine your lives.

I’m f***ing AWESOME, people.  I was semi-awesome before Graves, but now, my awesomeness is FLYING OFF THE CHART. My mom? EVEN MORE AWESOME THAN I AM.

Take a moment to evaluate your own awesomeness. Isn’t it tipping the Awesome scale to “So awesome this awesome scale is going to awesomely explode”? If it isn’t, you better slap some awesome into your face immediately.

Try not to walk out on the other side of disease feeling older than your years. Take it back to before you got sick, but hold onto the maturity and wisdom disease handed you.

Gray hairs earned through Graves be damned. Thank you for reminding me of what I’ve been through and hinting at how old I should feel, despite my youth. You put my body through hell, but I’ve come out younger and stronger, you arrogant prick. I’ve done THE IMPOSSIBLE.

Remind those that support you how amazing and awesome they are for being there, even if they need a break (they are superhuman, but still human).

and finally…

Remind your inner child that you’re still young, love to wear your thinning hair in pigtails, and that you’re AWESOME despite how old and tired thyroid disease has made you feel.

x to the o,