Throughout my illness, my dad was the one I usually went to when I needed to cry. He was more emotional than my mom. My mom took care of the more “behind the scenes” part of things like dealing with insurance, making doctors’ appointments, etc. As the years went on and my disease continued to get worse and the amount both I and my family had to endure became so intense, I began to think of my mom as a bit robotic. I couldn’t understand why I never saw her cry or why she was never able to hold me for long periods of time while I just fell apart like my dad always could.
About eight years later I started realizing the real reason why my mom wasn’t crying around me. It was definitely not because she wasn’t feeling a tremendous amount at all. My mom wasn’t “robotic” like I had thought of her in my mind in the least bit. I couldn’t understand at such a young age how deeply psychological this situation went but as I got older and began to understand more, I realized that my mom was just trying to cope and this was her way of doing so.
“I’ve learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.” – C.S. Lewis
This quote was sent to me a number of days ago by a friend and I love it because it has a number of different meanings in my life right now. The first being what I was referring to with my mom. I do know a lot of people who may come across as “robotic” or slightly cold and unfeeling but that certainly doesn’t mean they aren’t filled with emotion. It means their brains process it differently. It means they internalize their feelings and for some reason keep them inside until they can come out at a later date or in another way. This is not a wrong way to be. This is not a right way to handle life either. It is just one way to cope (possibly a defense mechanism) and I am sure we all have people in our lives who may seem a little unfeeling or uncaring. My grandfather actually comes to mind when I think about this. He didn’t really start getting emotional until he was in his 80’s but I know how much he felt and how much he cared way before that.
Another reason why this particular quote is on my mind now is because it never seizes to amaze me how little my friends who are genuinely sick complain and how it seems to be nonstop with some of the people in my life who whine about nothing. I think going through what a lot of people who have ulcerative colitis or crohns disease do changes you. It changes your life so much that you become so accustomed to dealing with certain things that it becomes your normal. I know for me there are so many things I hear people complaining about that I go through day after day that don’t even cross my mind anymore. I have just gotten so used to it. For me, a cold, sore throat and cough are a relief. I am just so thankful when there is nothing wrong with my stomach but I know for other people that is an actual illness and struggle.
It will take me a while to wrap my head around the fact that I have lived a very different life than most other people. It will take me a little longer before I can be a little more accepting of some of the people in my life who come across as very cold and unfeeling/uncaring. But I am learning.