The problem with being told I’m strong is that it seems to give onlookers permission to let me be, do little, and go on as usual. I hate being told I’m strong because of all the hidden messages with it.
My doctor and I had conversation where I was asked if I really wanted to know about the true nature of this illness. She said, is it better to know than not to know? She said that at least knowing, I can be prepared. She said I’m taking it well and that I’m a strong woman. I’m strong when I can be but when strength is gone I require what everyone else requires, a friend. But if people have the idea that I’m strong at all, I’ll get left. People will forget me or maybe they’ll push me to the background and go on with life as usual denying that I’m falling apart because it’s easier for their pain. It feels so negative. Alone. Labeled strong for the self preservation of others.’ Yeah this is bad but she can do it, she can take it.’ I hate being called strong.
Today I was neither strong nor weak. I just managed through some severe fatigue and a few flashbacks from the hospitalization. My CNA was here when I was lying down and the flashbacks started. I turned over and dropped a few tears because the thought of doing that ever again is heavy. It took two or three minutes of silent tears and I was able to gather myself. I cry so quietly that unless you’re right beside me you may not realize it at all. The CNA didn’t know a thing which is exactly the way I wanted it.
As the doctor said, knowing means I can be prepared. I can, and so can the doctors. They know what to look for. They know the signs and how bad it can quickly get. (My heart is so heavy.) So yes, it’s better to know what medications, what procedures, what surgeons and what hospital should be involved. We know who will speak for me if I can’t speak for myself. Most of all we know this mixed up, emotional, half broken, headstrong woman wishes to live.