Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Who Holds Your Magnificence?

I was at a lecture last night and one of the points the speaker presented was that when things get rough it’s important to have others who remember your magnificence.  I’m sure you thinking that you would be the most likely candidate to remember your magnificence, but since your diagnosis you may have been a bit distracted.  When you engage in treatment it’s easy to become overwrought with anxiety, sadness, or depression.  You may be dealing with anger or frustration, possibly even a lack of faith, so it’s easy to understand why your inner light may not be shining bright.

Having a team of supporters who not only support you physically, but emotionally and spiritually is important to your health and healing.  One of the great things about including people in your life is that they hold the memory of your relationship and that could be a real anchor to sanity, comfort, and love.  We automatically think that only those with a diagnosis that impairs memory requires someone outside of ourselves to hold the memory of our magnificence.  We’re not talking about remembering like when someone dies and you reminisce.  We’re talking about someone whose heart you have carved your name and they can reflect back to you how important you are not only to them, but the impact you’ve made on the world.

Why is this important?  It’s important because when overcome with tough emotional experiences or experiencing a gap in faith you may forget the past subtle nuances of your life.  It’s not a lack of memory; it’s about prioritizing your emotional and intellectual capacities to create a laser beam focus for wellness.  In addition, when you’re not feeling your best, it’s not incomprehensible to think that you may underrate your contributions to those in your life.  You may not feel you have anything to offer while you’re distracted, nor does anyone expect you to be the great entertainer.  Those around you want you to maximize your health and healing capabilities so that you can resume the most important thing in the world; your relationships and your magnificence in those relationships.

Posted in Caregiving

If Meredith Grey Said It, It Must Be True

Welcome to Caregiver Friday!!

One of the things about television shows in syndication is the clips they show reminding you of those special moments.  I saw a clip from an old Grey’s Anatomy where Meredith, played by Ellen Pompeo, is standing on a vacant piece of land with a floor plan of house lit with candles.  Meredith turns to Derek (McDreamy) and says, “Let’s be extraordinary together instead of being ordinary separately”.  That’s an incredible statement to make in any relationship, but apply that to your relationship with the person you love who is facing a health challenge, see the power?

There is a synergistic energy that takes place in relationships.  It’s the exponential power that comes with love, memories, and compassion.  What can you accomplish together, as a couple?  How does your relationship create a united front on the path to health and healing?

I believe that being extraordinary together refers to so many levels of a relationship.  It’s about being able to tell someone you care about your biggest fears. It means that the person you’re caring for can be honest without being judged.  Each of you has a safe haven in the heart of the other…that’s extraordinary.

The problem in many relationships where a health challenge is present is the amnesia of the connection between the two of you.  There isn’t a lot of research on relationships where one person has a health challenge and the other is serving as a caregiver.  There are patient studies and caregiver studies, but what about the third party…the relationship.

The relationship is an energy force.  It has a life all its own.  The relationship is not only the ties that bind you together, but a life force you created with the other person.  It’s something that evolved over time and doesn’t diminish simply because an illness is present.  It does afford you the opportunity to make better decisions about how to care for the relationship.

What would make the relationship you have with the person your caring for extraordinary?  Are there snippets from your own past with this other person that made you feel larger than life?  How can you capitalize on those opportunities and memories to carry each of you forward on your own paths to health and healing.  You each have your own journey to wellness and at points along the path you come together and walk together.  During those moments on the same path you become extraordinary.  Take in those moments and experience them fully.  Experience your magnificence!

Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, Emotional Health, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Are You Having Relations?

Do you remember a time in history when they called sex “relations”?  A quaint word and at the time a taboo topic.  I’m not here today to talk about your sex life (although we can discuss it in the future).  I’m asking you if you’re in relationship with others.  Are you continuing your relationships with people who can support and bear witness to your journey.

If you look at the arguments made by philosophers, many believe that you can’t be a you without someone else.  It follows the argument that you can’t have light without dark or happiness without sorrow.  The only way you can be an individual is for there to be others who reflect back to you who they believe you are.

What kind of feedback are you getting from family and friends?  Do they see someone who is hell-bent on getting well or someone sitting on the pity pot?  At the end of 2009 my mother was diagnosed with diabetes.  I was  checking in with her about her mental state about the diagnosis.  She informed me that she had a pity party for the first few days but no one else came to the party so she abandoned the party as well.

Do you let people in fully or are you doing it and dribs and drabs.  Makes me think of politics and the press; they leak bits of information but no one (other than the politicians) have the entire story.  People need information in real-time to be of help and service.  This is a time to strengthen your relationships not shy away from them.

I’ve met many who join support groups and make friends with those in the group.  It’s a great idea and when you ask them why this is so they respond, “because these people understand what I’m going through”.  There’s no doubt that is true, but would you be friends with those people if you weren’t ill?  If you get healthier and more resilient and decide you don’t need the group support, don’t you still need everyday, regular kinds of support like the kind you receive from friends?

Allow your friends to do what they’ve been groomed to do in our society; support you, help you, and simply treat you the way they always have…with love, affection, and compassion.