What do you want to talk about? Are there things that you would like to discuss with people since you’re diagnosis? Have you found that when you broach the topic people either make excuses to leave the room or change the topic? It’s like the episode of “Sex and the City” where Samantha is talking about her illness with Carrie and Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) tries to change the subject. Samantha says, “Please let me talk about what I’m afraid of”. That changed the conversation and probably their relationship forever.
Last week on “The Jeff Probst Show” he had Jennifer Gilbert as a guest. She had been brutally attacked over twenty years ago. On the show she discussed not only the horror of the attack but the lingering effects of the attack lasting over twenty years.
As Gilbert shared she never discussed the attack with her family. She held the enormously disturbing impact to herself, keeping it all in and as result creating new rules about how to live life.
Gilbert went on to get married and have a family. She gave birth to twin boys and unfortunately one of the boys was diagnosed with alopecia. Alopecia is obviously quite visible and hard to ignore, and yet the family did a good job of not discussing the obvious. One day when Gilbert returned home her daughter came to her and said, “Mommy, (one of the kids who came to play) came over and broke the rule?” Gilbert in all her wisdom asked what rule? Her daughter said, “The rule that we don’t speak about (her brother’s) baldness”. It hit Gilbert hard because she realized in that moment that she fostered an environment where they didn’t discuss difficult topics.
It was in that moment that Gilbert decided to change the rules. She sat down with the kids and they talked about the child’s alopecia. She said they have become a “bald proud” family. She changed the rule and the dynamics of the family making it easier to discuss difficult situations.
How will you change the rules? How will you make it known that you not only want to discuss your diagnosis/health challenge, but you need to discuss this change in your life? It means taking a stand, bringing the diagnosis center stage, and feeling comfortable with the discomfort. The reward is a dialogue creating support from friends and family. It means you open your relationships to more open and honest communication. It spotlights the love you have for those in your life and their willingness to engage with you on this level is the ultimate showing of love! You will experience a new sense of freedom and lightness not having to hold all this energy within the confines of your body, mind, and spirit. The new experience of life will serve you on your journey to health and healing.