Why too much strength can be bad

When I had to leave my job last year, I expected everyone to be supportive.  The responses shocked me.

Yes, my close friends and family were very supportive.  Really, except for my sister (but there are other issues there), I couldn’t have asked for more.  It was amazing.  The shocking part was the number of people who seemed surprised when I left my job.  Many asked why I was leaving; it had never occurred to them that it could have been because of my health.

Over the years I’ve put on a brave face.  I do this partly because I don’t like to dwell on all the health crap.  I like to focus on the better parts of my life.  I do this partly so people don’t get annoyed that I complain too much.  I also do this partly because I feel like if I let my guard down and give in a little, that I’ll end up giving in a whole lot, and I won’t be able to keep things in control anymore.

I thought of that just now when I saw this on Facebook.  It’s so true.  I work hard to “keep it together,” to not dwell on the shit I deal with daily, and to appear ok.  And that means that most people have no idea what I deal with, even in the smallest way.  I’m not looking for every person I know to check in on me constantly, but I suppose I need to let them know at least a little bit about what’s happening.  After all, how can I expect to raise awareness when even the people in my life don’t realize how sick I am?  And on a much simpler note, I need to let people know so that they’ll understand that sometimes, I really just need a hug. Being strong is good, but some days, a hug makes all the difference.

8 Responses to Why too much strength can be bad

  1. It sounds like you did an amazing job of holding it together at work. I would imagine that other parts of your life were harder too keep up with What is different now that you no longer have that stress?

    I just stopped working this year. It seemed unimagineable not to wake up and get ready to go to work

    • chronicrants says:

      Good luck with your transition. As for me, it wasn’t as much that I “didn’t have that stress” – things had gotten so bad that I went from not being able to handle things x10 to not being able to handle things x6 – it was just a little less horrible. Over time, it has definitely helped to not have to try to keep up appearances, but at the beginning, it was so worn down that when that first Monday came around, I didn’t feel like I “should” be at work, I just felt like I needed to keep resting. Of course, now I can’t imagine going back to work and I think it would add a horrible amount of physical and emotion stress, but I do hope to go back one day when I’m ready. Does that make any sense? Anyway, I hope that you see some improvement now that you’re not working. Good luck!

  2. Lorna says:

    I know exactly how you feel. I have this facade that I put on when I worked and even with most people now …. feeling like you do. Some days life is hard.
    However, imagine this……
    A great big (gentle) bear hug from me to you across the miles.
    Take care.

  3. I’m also trying to walk the fine line between keeping my spirits up by not complaining and dwelling too much on the difficult parts of my illness versus keeping loved ones informed about my struggles and raising awareness about disease and illness in general. Most times I’m content to act like I’m just fine and only dealing with the normal stuff like healthy people. Then when symptoms flare and I need support that I can’t bear to ask for, I find it difficult to deal with my emotions. Thanks for sharing.

    • chronicrants says:

      You’re right, it’s a really fine line. Maybe when you’re not flaring, you can explain all of this to the people you might lean on, so that when you do flare, it would be easier to ask for their help?

  4. Karen J says:

    Greetings from the far future…
    This “The problem with being the strong one is that nobody asks if you’re okay” is sooo true!
    I used to (metaphorically) put up my strong-shields and hide when I felt like crap – and then cry and feel worse, because nobody came to see if I was all right!
    It’s also closely related to “But, you’re so smart!” – Yes, about some things, but that doesn’t guarantee I’m smart “about everything!”
    How’re you doing?

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