I read an article today that really made an impact. It was personal because it has happened to me. The article was about not saying the wrong thing. Here’s the link:
A couple of months after my diagnosis we had to go to my husband’s home state. His extended family had gathered from across the U.S. for an uncle’s funeral. One of his cousins, who I admit I personally don’t care for, was discussing her new exercise routine since she retired. She was seated across the table from me and asked me if I was still active in sports and fitness. I paused and said no, which, of course, resulted in the next question – why. I decided to be brave and tell I had RA. At that point I had told no one.
What resulted from this cousin I was certainly not prepared for. She abruptly stated that one of her good friends had RA, the meds were not working and it had taken a toll, she had all her joints replaced and was doing terrible.
How do you respond to something like that, especially when you’ve just received the diagnosis and still trying to find you own way through learning and understanding.
I saw this cousin one year later at another family event. Her comment to me at that time was just as rude. She told me I certainly looked better than the year before when I looked horrible. She continued saying she hoped I was taking the medicines I was given, otherwise I would be in trouble and then she again told me about her friend and her joint replacements. I just walked away. The cousin’s comments caused me to refrain from sharing information concerning my diagnosis.
I think that’s why this article had such meaning. The “Ring Theory” benefits everyone involved – from the person who is most directly impacted to all the levels of those who care about that person.
Dumping. Personally, there are things I don’t want to hear from people, unless I ask them specifically. And, no, my disease does not impact you in the same manner it impacts me.
Comfort. I have a friend who has been a wonderful blessing. From the moment I told Guerry I had RA, she has been supportive. She sends me messages of encouragement. I saw her at a store once and I felt terrible, but her first comment was “you look great”. I knew I didn’t, but her words lifted my spirits. When she asks questions, I know she cares. She follows the idea of “Comfort In.”
So – “Comfort In, Dump Out”. I couldn’t agree more.