Continuing on the theme of unseen illnesses, I think this applies to everyone to some extent.
And it frustrates the living crap out of me.
So here it is – just because someone is actually putting effort into coping with something doesn’t mean that it’s easy.
Whether it’s a stay-at-home mom or dad who hasn’t seen another adult socially in 6 months because they take care of all the details, or someone with an illness that doesn’t look like a chemo patient or amputee, many people you know are coping. Right now. Struggling to get through the day without hiding in a bathroom stall for a cry or waking out to their car because they “forgot their jacket” just so they can breathe.
It’s hard work not letting your emotional stress bleed on to others, and it deserves credit.
A good friend of mine and I have long said that there’s no merit in being a strong woman. Not that a) we actually believe that or b) that would change one damn thing we do if it were true.
But the feeling behind the sentiment is strong.
We are strong. We push through. We don’t throw our dirty laundry and open emotional wounds on FB for all to see.
But it seems as though, when you survive with the ‘stiff upper lip’, people don’t believe you might actually have difficult things to cope with, or don’t think you need help when you definitely do.
Those who let everything around them crumble without lifting a finger to stop the fall are seen as damsels in distress (or whatever the male equivalent is) – everyone rushes in to save the day.
And those who make some attempt to cope get…. nothing.
SO – here’s a clue. When you know someone who generally copes well, and they come to you with a problem – it’s HUGE. Just because they may not jump up and scream or cry doesn’t mean they’re okay. And if they’re talking to you – it’s because THEY NEED YOUR SUPPORT. They ARE reaching out to you – by even sharing with you. They’re likely not to beg – maybe it’s pride, and maybe that’s wrong. But it’s so.
When that person you know who seems to have it all together stops you to tell you about something difficult they’re going through – without gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair – STOP. LISTEN. and help if you can.
I promise you that they’ll never forget it – and that person who doesn’t panic – who can carry the world on their shoulders without looking for all the attention – you’ll want them in your corner one day when you have your own things going on – and you couldn’t ask for anyone better.