Thursday, February 28, 2013
Getting it wrong
All the discussion generated by my previous blog posting has made me think much more deeply than I imagined; about what it is to be the carer, the close relative and/or friend who is the visitor or written correspondent, and the way I come across to them.
I'm not one for the blame game, but I see now that I am part of the difficulty for visitors, or even those who know me only through my writing. It's not just the other person. I'm sure I give a dismissive impression about myself sometimes that cues a visitor or correspondent to turn quickly to other things.
Sometimes I may not want to discuss in any detail my ailments if, for whatever reason, I'm feeling unwilling. It may be as simple as 'I haven't shaved this morning and feel like I look like something the cat dragged in.' The visitor, of course, really doesn't care about that and nor should they. It's minutiae that's not even on their radar. But you know how it is. Ego's a pain.
As long as the air is filled with chatter it seems all right. Silence is awkward. Silence or breaks in conversation aren't tolerated in our society. They're taken as cues for action – e.g., that it's time to go [maybe it is, maybe not] – or just to fill the space with ... anything.
In other words, silences can be minefields for clear communication – and in the end it's no-one's fault.
And sometimes it's a matter or plain can't. In wrestling with something that badly needs discussion, I can often be my own worst enemy. The words just come out wrong – and this gets worse the less I am sure of the topic, and, to be perfectly frank, the way this disease has progressed. So the other person gets it wrong.
If I give wrong cues, of course it's misinterpreted. If others give wrong cues, the result's the same. Miscommunication. I can patch it over a bit in written communication, but not face-to-face.
What I'm scared of is that people reading the thread concerning visits will now be so afraid of not 'getting it right' that they won't communicate at all. That's the last thing I want.
In my present state, even being sent a long email daunts me a bit. The brief email with a sincere 'no need to respond' [I probably will!] is often all I need, and most appreciated. But don't make it so short that you leave out something in your life that is important to you. If it's important to you, it probably is to me.
I'm not as I was even 12 months ago. I'm less stable in all sorts of ways. More than ever before, I need far more quietness and solitude [where I do my best communicating], and the necessarily flexible routine I have.
My best therapy [which in my case means "stress release"] is composing my blog stories, even though they now take ten times as long. They are also my way of communicating with the world, especially my family close friends, even though, as I said in almost my first blog piece in 2010, that idea is anathema to some.
If few read them, that's OK. It means they're interested in the topic, however bad my story. If this interests you, read the comments on the previous story. They are better than anything I've written on the subject.