17 In all/ Health & Wellness

Balancing At The Tide’s Edge ~ Sustaining Relational Harmony While Staying True To Your Chonic Illness Needs

Chronic illness draws your focus inward. The desire for comfort, the wish for relief, and the longing for understanding creates an environment of ‘need’ within one’s self.  This is not necessarily a bad thing.  It can be a healthy and natural pursuit to invite those who are trustworthy to share in the burdens we bear.  But a watchful eye must be kept over this for the purpose of not overloading the ones who love us with the weight of our chronic illness, which at some level we must bear alone.

This can help maintain perspective when it seems like those around you just, ‘Don’t get it’, in relation to what it’s like to be chronically ill day in and day out.  No one human can know exactly what it is like to live inside your body.  We can share our thoughts, struggles, and experiences.  But ultimately, only you know what it’s like to be, well, ‘you’.

sustaining relational harmony while staying true to your chonic illness needs

I spend a good majority of the day alone.  So when my husband comes home at night, I have a tendency to throw open the flood gates of my mind;  how I feel, the latest research on Fibromyalgia/CFS/ME I’ve done that day, my newest symptom, how that symptom feels, what concerns me about that symptom, ect.  Needless to say, it can be a bit much.

He wants to hear about what is going with me, and he is concerned with what concerns me.  However, a little temperance thrown in is a good thing.  Ways of relating that do not selfishly dominate the conversation with just ‘what’s going on with me in my little world’ are called for.

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A Few Ideas For Maintaining Relational Balance
  • Check yourself before you launch into speaking:  Ask:  Am I about to ‘unload’ the miseries of the day on this person?  Is the other person finished speaking their thoughts?  In other words, am I about to change the subject to steer the conversation back to what pertains just to me?  Have I asked them how their day was, and really listened to their answers?
  • Rely on several sources as an outlet, not just one or two people:  It can be easy to ‘wear down’ those around us, who in all fairness, can only attempt to understand the reality of living in a body with chronic illness.  Reach out to reliable online sources, such as chronic illness blogs like this one where you can read what others like you are going through. Join a good online support groupor possibly an outreach within your own community.  
  • If possible, try to remember to do something special once a week for that person:  Keep it simple.  Make their favorite cookie recipe, or something to that effect.  Agree to watch the movie they want to see (even though it’s the last thing you would pick). Remember to pick something up for them while you’re out.  For example, this week while I was shopping I saw D’s favorite childhood cereal, Peanut Butter Captain Crunch, so I popped it in the cart and gave it to him as a surprise that night. Small gestures can mean a lot.

Finding relational balance can be difficult when chronic illness’s demanding voice is always clamoring for attention. The sacrafices we make for the ones we love are worth it.  They keep chronic illness from robbing us of one of our greatest needs; harmony with those we hold most dear.

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17 Comments

  • Reply
    Susan Flilght
    April 11 at 8:33 am

    Good, Good wisdom. Thank you…

    • Reply
      kristine
      April 11 at 9:25 am

      Thank you Sue!!! Hope you’re having a good Monday! 😉

  • Reply
    Chronic Mom
    April 11 at 10:06 am

    This is a really good reminder. Sometimes I focus too much on illness and I need to shift focus to something else, or someone else. I try to do something special for others once in a while, but I probably need to step it up!
    Chronic Mom recently posted…How to survive parenting with a chronic illnessMy Profile

    • Reply
      kristine
      April 11 at 11:18 am

      I know exactly what you mean. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in the ‘symptom of the moment’. I need to step it up too! 😉

  • Reply
    Brittany W
    April 12 at 2:48 pm

    I love the idea of trying to do something special for the person once a week. I know my husband deals with a lot thanks to my chronic illnesses, so we try to make lots of time together on good days. We also have a chalkboard in the kitchen where we leave each other love notes. I try not to complain too much to him, my family, or friends. I have a support group and share my burdens there along with telling my loved ones how awful I’m feeling. I think that really helps.

    • Reply
      kristine
      April 12 at 4:34 pm

      Than you so much for the encouraging comments! I love the idea of ‘chalkboard love notes’!♥ Way to ROCK IT Brittany! 😉

  • Reply
    Kim
    April 15 at 12:46 pm

    Such a great reminder! Relationships are a two way street. We tend to see article after article and meme after meme telling the world how we, as the chronically ill, want to be treated. But we have to remember, we have a part in how healthy a relationship is as well.

    • Reply
      kristine
      April 15 at 2:16 pm

      So true Kim! It is a delicate balance 😉

  • Reply
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    April 18 at 7:13 pm

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  • Reply
    jenny
    April 19 at 1:17 pm

    It’s amazing how positive you are and how your outlook is not all selfish as it’s hard (knowing my sister with fibro) not to let it be all selfish dominating in a conversation and I can’t imagine trying to find that balance of sharing your day and pain /findings/ illness without becoming it completely. . Thanks for sharing your story on #ShareWithMe

    • Reply
      kristine
      April 20 at 1:17 pm

      Oh, I can be SELFISH!! Believe me, that’s not a natural thing, it takes vigilance and hard work to not let myself be consumed with just my own concerns. But thank you, and I do hope your sister is doing well ♥♥

  • Reply
    Nikki
    April 19 at 1:51 pm

    Man, this is so true. I have the hardest time with this one. When I was having the hardest times I overburdened my mom and it made things so difficult for her. I feel badly about that. When you have no one else to talk to it gets so lonely. Especially when you are mad and scared, and mourning your old life. I really needed to read this and I will take it more to heart, thank you so much for writing it. xx

    • Reply
      kristine
      April 20 at 1:19 pm

      Thank you Nikki, I know EXACTLY what you mean! It can be so hard in the midst of a trial to catch a breath from all the fear and worry that wants to drown us. Have a wonderful day! ♥♥♥

  • Reply
    Valerie
    August 31 at 7:02 am

    Such a wonderful post and a great reminder.

    • Reply
      kristine
      August 31 at 7:06 am

      Thank you Valerie! Dredged up from the near past 😉

  • Reply
    Stephen Walker
    December 6 at 6:44 am

    Positivity is the ONE thing we can believe in, and MUST believe in if we are to live, let alone live in harmony, with chronic illness.

    • Reply
      kristine
      December 6 at 7:04 am

      Agreed Stephen! Sustained negativity affects our personalities for the worse in the long run, and alienates us from those around us. Thank you for the comment!

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