Here’s the thing. I have learned that despite my best efforts to convince myself and others of something different; I have, in the past, been judgemental of others. Critical. Probably a bit patronising too. Not all the time. Most of the time I have been true to my liberal and inclusive, anti-discriminatory ideals. But if we are all being completely honest, we think bad thoughts about others all the time!
since my diagnosis it has made me confront a lot of that. being on receiving end of it is a pretty good wake up call. Today I was totally naffed off by a colleague. A friend I guess, after 8 years of working closely together. She decided to have a “chat” with me. Perhaps she thought it more of a ‘pep’ talk. Because you see until now I have never had the “you just have to be positive” /”if you look after yourself there’s no reason it should effect your life too much” conversation.
“OHHHHHHHHHHHH Reeeally!” I *wanted* to say. “I had no idea living with this condition and adjusting to the uncertainty of living with such a diagnosis was…well, so….ummm. SIMPLE?”. I didn’t realise that if I cross my fingers and smile I can carry on with life as…NORMAL!?!” And reader I know, yes it’s ignorance but it really was annoying. At some point I realised she wasn’t listening to me. She was sort of looking past me to a different conversation – the one she would be much more comfortable having.
I have given it thought and while i know she was well meaning, and there is *some* truth in what she was saying it dismissed my experience. Sweeping it off the table as if to say”moving on…”
I have witnessed this kind of thing before. We all have. For me particularly in my work I see professionals at time conduct themselves in a similar way when faced with something too painful to fully comprehend. I have seen family & friends do it to me, or to others when they have lost a loved one, their husbands left them or their child is unwell.
To really face something is to bring it into you consciousness and that is upsetting. To think, “there by the grace of God go I” is difficult for people. It brings terrifying thoughts and feelings into the realms of their reality. Almost as if, by being close to them they could ‘catch’ the bad news.
When I was in the diagnostic process which lasted for many months, I was acutely aware that I was in a suspended reality. I was sitting on the line between diagnosis and no diagnosis. It could be fine, or my life could completely change. And no matter what people say to me, it has completely changed. While I may not be unwell at the moment, and there may be no “reason” you can see for me not to return to my old life – in other ways *everything* has changed because I have changed. Faced with this, what I want has come into focus more. The clock is ticking quicker. Louder.
I am determined my diagnosis will make my life richer. Better. And the lives of of my children. So you see, I am being positive. Really flippin’ positive – it just looks and feels a bit different to what other people want it to.