I was always an independent person my whole life. I valued depending on no one, being strong enough for myself, not relying on others. I always danced to the beat of a different drum! This independence meant keeping people, especially friends, at arms length. Don't get me wrong. I wasn't anti-social or anything. On the contrary, I was very social, hanging out with many people. But, I am not sure if I did it long enough or with enough depth to let anyone "in" to see and know the real me. What was I protecting myself from? No matter, I was strong and independent and didn't need anyone anyway, right?
Many years later, with an added Autoimmune disease, not much has changed. I am approaching 40, and finding myself without my group of "girlfriends." Today I find I might be even worse-the way I keep people at arms length. Being chronically ill is hard, but being misunderstood, judged, and criticized can be even harder, right? Good thing I am independent, strong and in need of NO ONE!! ...
"Honey, can you cut my meat please after you cut the kids' meat? Oh, kids can you go up and get my ______, mommy can't walk today?! I'm sorry baby, you have to button your own shirt, mommy's fingers are very swollen, stiff, and painful, or go ask daddy. Hon, can I have a chair to sit in while I dry my hair? I can't stand anymore."
uh-hem...as I was saying...
My "friends" from my past have all but faded, and here I am with RA, looking for someone to turn to-looking for a strong support system. My husband, thankfully, has been there 100%. He is my best friend. My small children are becoming increasingly supportive, to the best at which they can understand my illness. For them, I am eternally grateful. But, my lifetime of arms length and independence has come back to my having only my husband's shoulders to lean on. Don't get me wrong, my husband has proven to have shoulders of incredible size and strength. Apparently it can carry a burden beyond belief. But what about him, who's shoulder does he have to lean on? How much longer can he hold on? Who is holding him up? I am so thankful that he is strong in his FAITH, because I believe there are days when God is carrying us BOTH on His shoulders!
RA has opened my eyes to how much people do rely on one another, how important friendships are, and how having a support system is so important to getting through a chronic illness. There are a million things in this world I can look upon in a positive manner and say, "for that, I do not regret." I believe that things happen for a reason, and no matter what mistakes you have made in life, you can pick yourself back up, learn from them, and move on. However, this is something in my life that I am starting to regret, and not just for me, but for the support of my family. I am so thankful we have each other, our love and never ending, common Faith!
Maybe when the Lord believes we are ready for a deeper, more supportive group of people in our lives to help us through, He will provide them to us!! Until then, I lean on the love of my husband and comfort of the Lord!
Do you know of anyone in need? Anyone who might be in need of support?
Support one another--Reach out to one another--and keep the Sunny Side Up!! Many Blessings!! :)