Keep Your Chin Up. . .things could be worse. . .

I had a friend from my history make a comment on my facebook status update last week. I was remarking on the fact that our stove was out, my shoulder doesn’t allow me to raise my arm over my head to unload the dishwasher and, worst of all, our washing machine doesn’t work.

Keep Your Chin Up, she said. Things could be worse.

I’m really wondering how that statement is helpful. Why not say, “I know that you are processing your life in the best way you know how, but could you stop, now and just play happy?” Or, an even better one? “Stop being sick! Shut the hell up!”

She’s right. It could be worse. My whole family could be covered in oil, and I could be fighting to help them breathe. Our half-assed stove could end up killing us the next time it half lites. Our immune systems could freak out even more, giving any one of us cancer. One of us could die in our sleep. Yep. It could be worse.

I haven’t been blogging for awhile now. It’s funny. I feel less depressed, less strung out, less overwhelmed then I was before and immediately after the Bartonella treatment, but yet, I’m not blogging. I don’t have anything particularly big to talk about, nor do I have anything particularly pleasant to talk about. But, do I ever?

Since the Bart remedy experience, I don’t have ideas flying around like water drops in a frying pan full of hot oil. That’s what it used to feel like. All the time. Like I could never catch up with my whirlwind of a brain. It’s different now. My brain is different, and this adjustment period is a stretch for me.

Add to that fact the whole shoulder-always-in-pain, writing and typing are difficult, and it just doesn’t seem worth it.

Yes. Things could be worse. But, why do we qualify whether or not someone is deserving of help, support or processing time? If people want it, need it, ask for it, they should get it. Without judgment. I don’t do my illness or my sick kids the way you might do it. And, I don’t apologize for it.

You can’t tell me how I should do it. You can tell me you are the way, the truth and the light (or that you know who is the way, truth and light), but YOu are not me.

We are all on a journey. I can say, “I want to be healed,” or “I don’t want my shoulder to lock” and my timing/process/journey might have other plans. I believe that I will get more well. I believe my kids will grow stronger and maybe even be able to forget they have this disease. But, right now, I am right here. No one else has the life lessons that I have, no one else walks my journey, even IF you have a partner with Lyme, even IF you have two (or more) kids with lyme. Your journey is not mine, so, please, hold your judgment. And yes, I know I’m not the belle of the ball. I’m a mom of sick kids, a partner to a sick man, and I, myself have a serious illness. I might not be the most exciting party guest, but this is my life.

Your sick child, your cancerous tumor, your dog’s arthritis, your son’s dyslexia, your job loss, your mental illness? They all matter. There is no hierarchy in the world of struggle. Mine are mine. Not more than yours, not less than yours. They are mine. I don’t want to entertain the idea that “things could be worse”. I don’t want to open to that AT ALL. Right now, I just get through my life moment-to-moment, believing that as long as I am alive, awake and aware of the truth, that I am, as Arnie Zane and Bill T. Jones would say, “Still Here.”

If there is a hierarchy of worthiness in the world of struggle, it is this: What you are able to manage in your life is directly related to your strength of your spirit. No one should be in competition about whose drama/trauma/illness is greater. The real contest should be within yourself. Whether or not you can speak your truth while walking through it–that is what matters. Can you reach out from your storm (be it a shower or a cyclone) and offer someone else an umbrella? I know I try to.

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12 responses to “Keep Your Chin Up. . .things could be worse. . .

  1. Eloquently stated, as usual. Thanks for reminding all of us that getting into a “my life is worse than yours” contest is not helping ANYONE. I think we sometimes forget that. And really, why do we do it? Is it really a GOOD thing that our life sucks more than someone elses? NO…

    Thanks, as always, for wonderful insight. ❤

    • You have two smart boys under the age of 5. Your life sucks so much more than mine. lol!

      • Okay – let’s not do this here!!! =D We can have the contest later. With judges. Not sure who’d want to judge this contest… lol!

        (This is where I insert the “Nyah nyah nyah nyah boo boo!”)

  2. Carrie Pomeroy

    You certainly do reach out from your storm and hold out umbrellas to other people walking in the rain.

    Beautiful post, and a good reminder to offer compassion and empathy and real listening when someone is distressed–not platitudes or advice. Gotta remember that with my kids. . . Thanks for this post.

  3. Isn’t it puzzling that those with Lyme get this whole judgment thing so often, from so many sources, even when we may be obviously physically struggling? I remember a friend responding when I told her I was unable to hike with her, “Well you clearly haven’t made this a priority in your life.” A few years later when my prior lymphoma came up in conversation she was shocked and amazed at my “hardiness”. Heck, the lymphoma was nothing compared to Lyme.

    A few months ago my father died after a long illness. I realized, amazed and grateful, that it truly ‘took a village’ to care for him with support, care, and affection, and then to care for his caregivers. We ARE all connected, interrelated, and someone else’s suffering, happiness, joy is also ours – everyone’s – yours and mine. Your Lyme and life challenges are also ours. And we as a people carry a responsibility to lighten another’s load, to share resources, and particularly to relieve misery or despair whenever we find it. Tossing off a shut-up line like “toughen up cookie, it could be worse” does not serve except in an uncaring world.

  4. I’ve never understood how thinking about how much worse things could be (and might get) is supposed to make anyone feel better?

  5. You have opened my eyes here…..I have been known to say “It could be worse” to MYSELF, not to others…..I started to think it was only going to get worse when my hubby was diagnosed with Lyme and I was diagnosed with cancer. I realized the statement was a way for me to tell myself, just be thankful and quit complaining…..What you have said here is so true andf gave me an aha moment. Those words will no longer be a part of my self talk. Our struggles are all valid and need to be handled with compassion, not judgement.
    Glad to hear you are seeing some improvement with your bart protocol….

  6. Whoo~! Well said, every last point. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Funny, I just wrote on my blog for the first time in two months this morning. Ended my post with this: “Dare I say things can’t get any worse? No. I know better than to tempt the fates… Things can get worse. But they also get better.” Moment to moment. That’s the lesson we’re given with this disease. Love & Light to you, sister~*!

  7. Keep blogging; I love you transparency in your blogs. You often say how I feel, but am too ashamed to say it. Keep it up.

  8. Umbrella.
    You are beautiful. 🙂

  9. Great post. Very helpful, to me in particular – especially about listening when a moment is not a very “teachable” one – which would be true of any time that it’s raining, i.e. a painstorm. An umbrella would help a helluva lot more in a storm than my philosophizing!

  10. I really love this one! This is a big problem for me also. You say it so wonderfully 🙂

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