Whenever something difficult has happened in my life I have always been told by those I have turned to “you will be ok… you’re so strong”.
I have no doubt that they are well meaning and honest words when they are offered but the truth is that no matter how strong someone can be, we just aren’t strong all the time… And shouldn’t feel we have to be.
At my age I have encountered a lot of life events that have been difficult to cope with and although I have tried to do my best it is not possible to be a pillar of strength all the time.
My current circumstances has seen my inner strength and resolve ebb and wane constantly and with it my health has deteriorated rapidly due to the stress and uncertainty of it all.
Often times our friends and loved ones don’t realise that our Autoimmune diseases can be too much to carry already and then when traumatic events happen on top of that it can be devastating and too much to handle for anyone; even a strong person.
My mother was someone I considered a very strong, determined woman but I also saw how fragile she was and how much assistance she needed to cope with her own challenges in life. She was someone I admired for her sheer will power, unrelenting determination and courage, but like all things they have their limits and no matter who we are, what we have seen and what we have been through, we all need help.
What has surprised me during this period of my life is that the people I may have expected to help (as I have helped them in the past) have not stepped up and, conversely, the people I could not have ever imagined have offered kindness that has touched me deeply.
It occurs me that as human beings we are supposed to find strength from our connections to each other and our love for each other. We don’t have to be strong on our own. It is unreasonable to expect us to cope on our own and I don’t think we do ourselves or our loved ones any assistance by saying to them “you will be ok … you are strong”. It only compounds our feelings of helplessness and despair when we are struggling by suggesting that we are also weak for not being able to cope alone.
When I moved to this city I could never have predicted the enormous health issues I would face and the emotional, financial and physical challenges I would face. I moved for work and without knowing anyone or having family or loved ones here. This wasn’t as daunting when I was healthier, working, social and physically capable to take on all the demands that was placed on me. But with every new challenge, blow and life event it has been excruciating to deal with alone.
Human beings are social creatures and we need love, support, kindness, help, assistance, hope and care during many times in life. We rely on each other for those things and shouldn’t have to meet each challenge alone. As the world gets busier, colder, more isolated and disconnected I worry that we will lack the most vital thing we all need during tough times; each other.
Strength doesn’t come from being isolated, alone, and being told to deal with life events and suffering on our own. It comes from reaching out, helping each other, loving each other and giving to each other as much as possible.
After all, the strongest armies are made up of fellow fighters, comrades and those who will always have your back and that’s how they survive and fight on; together.