Don’t Tell Me To Stay Strong

Saschan Fearon  |  19th Oct 2016

When you’re living with a debilitating reproductive disease people often tell you that you need to be strong, to stay strong. I hear this often and it’s made me realise that there’s still this inherent link between strength and sadness. The two are not mutually exclusive. I am strong every day.

I don’t cease to be strong on the days that I cry. I’m still strong I’m just sad, or tired, exhausted or grieving.  I’m healing and repairing, full with the weight of emotions I carry each day I’m allowing them to uncontrollably overflow but this doesn’t make me weak. This makes me sad or exhausted or grief stricken or whatever plethora of emotions I’m experiencing which have culminated in a moment of weepy emotional release.

Encouragement Isn’t Always Encouraging

Sometimes people think they are being encouraging and I’m sure they are often well intentioned but ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’ and some days I feel like I’m halfway there. I don’t really need you to add a few more stones.

I know that often people think they are telling you what you need to hear but really in times of crisis we just repeat the same few bog standard socially accepted responses because they’ve got a tried and tested seal of approval. They’re safe and they often elicit a response from others that makes us more comfortable. They stop being upset on the outside and become more introverted about their pain. This makes us feel more comfortable because we don’t feel comfortable when people want to divulge their emotions to us. We don’t know what to do with this information.

Most of us are inept at successfully comforting one another. I’m often terrible at it. Like most people, I never know the right thing to say or do. So we subconsciously tell each other to hide how we really feel instead of just letting ourselves be free to live in the moment.

I’m Already Free

On a personal level I don’t need you to tell me how I need to feel, what I need to be or how I should go about navigating the ground between these two things. I just need you to hold my hand, sit with me in silence, bring me gluten free baked goods and allow me to exist in whatever space I am in today.

If anything I need you to remind me that it’s OK to not be OK. It’s better to admit that we aren’t fine and ride the wave of emotion that’s about to rock our little canoe. Storms pass.

So if you’re here to tell me to be strong, or push through, or anything else that involves you defining the emotional state I should exist in, here’s your 2 pence back. I’m already strong but today I’m also being sad…now where’s the cake?

What helps you stay strong? SHARE your tips and experiences with us!