Thursday, February 18

February 17, 2010 - Seeking to be Understood


First, let me tell you that I have lost one pound. Good for me! I may have slowed down considerably, but I am at least moving in the right direction.

I am sure that many of us seek to be understood. When I am not understood I feel alienated and frustrated. This topic is bothering me. Not just for myself, but also for some of my friends.

Yesterday, I had a routine visit with Dr. Pita, but I also had an appointment later in the day with the doctor he referred me to for my moodiness. We will call him…Dr. Mood. I do like Dr. Mood, I just do not like the practice and philosophy of his area of expertise. Basically, my appointment went like this:

Dr. Mood; “How are you today?”
Me; “Fine. Thank You.”
Dr. Mood; “So, have you had any side effects from the medication?”
Me; “No. I am doing well on it.”
Dr. Mood; “How has your mood been?”
Me; “Well, I experienced about a week of hypersomnia and then a week of insomnia. I also had some days where I cannot stop my thoughts from racing which causes me to be extremely tired and causes obsessive list making. All of this is enough to negatively impact my life.”
Dr. Mood; “Well your mood sounds fine for now. Let’s up your medicine and renew your other prescription. See you in two months.”

I was in his office a grand total of six minutes. Did he really understand?

What bothers me most about these types of appointments is if I had mentioned; “Hey, I am having incredible insomnia. I have not slept in days.” I am sure the next thing that would happen is that I would get a prescription for a sleep aid.

Many people go to the doctor and get exactly what they want. They think they are fat… they get a pill. They think that have headaches…they get a pill. Pills, pills, pills. This is what the consumer wants. Not what they need. This is what they expect. I do not expect my doctor to be a pill dispenser.

I want someone to understand. Tell me that my symptoms are normal or not. If it is normal, tell me to’ “suck it up.” If needed, tell me what I need to accomplish to get better. If I do not listen or act on the advice, remind me if my way worked I would not be seeking their advice. Tell me I need to fight. Tell me how to make the most of the rest of my life. Do not tell me my diagnosis and patronize me by stating it is chronic…this is the way you are going to be the rest of your life. How do you know, really?

I have a friend going through a tough period in her life. She is fighting a diagnosis much more severe than mine. I admire her strength. She continues to fight it every day, but underneath that tough exterior is someone just like me. Slightly worried this is it. That this is the way it will always be. However, she refuses to accept it. She wrote me some of the details of her life now. I cannot understand everything, but I can understand the struggle and that is all that matters for our friendship. I am sure she hopes to find someone someday who can relate to all of it. She is probably looking for someone who has beaten it. She needs someone to add ingredients to the faith that it will all get better.

I have a friend that has experienced great loss in her life. For her, I could do nothing. I could not relate. All I could do is call her and tell her I was there. I was sad, empathetic, and very worried, but I could do nothing. In truth, I could not understand. How could I? It never happened to me. She needed a support group. She needed to meet others that experienced the same loss and disappointment. She got better. She moved on from the experience.

I could continue with the many examples. I have friends with divorces, trouble marriages, troubled kids, medical issues, parental issues, etc. I do not understand their woes. Again, I do not have the same experiences. All I can do is listen.

Sometimes we cannot even understand our friends and families triumphs. I finished a Half Marathon. Yea, for me, but if you have never done your really know what it is like to finish? Do you know what it is like to see a dog that you trained for four years FINALLY complete a flyball heat without attacking another dog? Probably not.

Recently, I decided that I would embark on a mission for a few of my friends to understand me. I was tired of trying to explain absences from events, tired of explaining why I was so tired, and tired of giving up and just lying about it. So I wrote a letter explaining the past 20 years of my life.

Today I read that letter for probably the twentieth time. Finally, I realized that I am not seeking for others to understand me.

I am seeking for ME to
…fix it or develop plans to deal with it
…move on
….live life.

Have a great week,


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