I know that this post is overdue. It should have been here days ago. But I feel horrible and it’s not because it’s cold and raining hard on a July day when it should be hot and sunny.
It’s because of the (bleep) gastritis, a recent add-on to my body’s long list of things that don’t work right. It’s not like I’m ignoring the symptoms. I take medicine that mostly works but there are side effects and I’m trying to taper off it. So now it’s worse. This past weekend, we had a houseful of people visiting. They’d come to listen to my husband’s band play in a local restaurant that night (yes,’old dude’ plays Bass in a band that’s good enough to play in a bar). Everyone was happy and celebrating. But I felt awful and just wanted to crawl into bed. I was not the life of that party! I wanted to cry.
It feels good to get this out there. Now you can understand why this post is late.
Say what? This is of no interest to you? Are you thinking, why is she writing about this here?
Actually I started to write the above (in italics) as a lead in to another idea. And then I realized how it sounded. I’m complaining and giving excuses that serve no purpose. There are places on the web where people write about how they’re feeling, sharing it all. You know that’s what you’ll get when you go there. But when you read this blog, I’ve set expectations that I’ll deliver a specific thing. You expect to read a piece relating to living with chronic illness and working that opens your eyes to something you hadn’t thought about, helps you think about a topic differently or see your own situation differently. At least, that’s what the title suggests.
Ah hah. That’s the teaching moment here. What happens when instead of the thing (call it product, deliverable, whatever) that you thought was coming, you get a sob story and an excuse? You turn off, tune out, ‘fire’ the person.
Sound familiar? Are you that person who is getting tuned out? What do you say when you were supposed to perform a task, produce something or just show up — and you didn’t because bad health got in the way?
Do you talk about why you didn’t do it, sharing how badly you feel about that?
Or do you explain that it didn’t get done, apologize for that because you know it’s not o.k., and then offer what you’ll do to make this right? If you’re like most of us, it’s most likely the latter.
How is that going for you? Probably not so great.
So, why does this happen? If you live with unpredictable, chronically difficult health, it can be a source of overwhelming sadness or anger. Personally, I need a place and time to share my stories and feelings so I feel less alone, less isolated. But when you’ve ‘contracted’ to do something and you can’t deliver, what needs to be shared? What needs to be said? Does it matter whether the commitment is personal or professional?
One key to normalizing your interactions is to develop your skills in communicating effectively about what you can and can’t do. It’s not something that’s easy to do. It takes practice and commitment to the practice. Consider this when you’re explaining that you won’t or didn’t meet a commitment:
- What does this person want and need to know from me?
- What’s the best way to craft my message to achieve my purpose?
Here’s a thought to ‘marinate’ on: How can you remind yourself to do this?
Share your comments below!