Perception changes

There are times that you find yourself sitting in disbelief unable to take in what you are hearing. The person talking to you has been a friend for years, but they in just a few words have blown your perception of them right out of the water. A friend of mine is now amongst the millions of others out there looking for work, a few days ago I sent him my CV to look at so he could build one for himself, what returned to me was basically my CV with of course his work history. This morning he phoned again and I mentioned that he would need to write a cover latter for all the websites, he had no idea what I was talking about so I have once again sent him mine, he read it and then asked but what would he could put into his. I explained again the concept of what a cover letter is and he said it would take him a couple of days and he would send it to me for approval. This is a man in his 40’s, not a school leaver or a kid, an adult who has worked all his life and is totally lost on how to do two simple things the biggest being how to sell himself in words, a very surprising thing to hear from someone who has been a field salesman for most of his life. We all build up these images of those we know and love, but all to often the day arrives when something like this happens. I don’t think any less of him, but I can’t help feeling I miss judged him somewhere along the line. A real case of not him but me, he hasn’t changed but I am now disappointing with myself and my ability to read others.

Like it or not we all spend our lives acting out the role we think others expect to see, and how they interpret that, depends on their experience not just of you but of everyone they have ever met. Illness is no different, I still act out the role of Pamela, the one that is know by Adam and my friends and family, but I know I have changed even more than I think I show to anyone. For many years I did something that I know now was really wrong of me to do, I shut Adam out of the medical side of everything that I was going through. Once we had the diagnosis, I never again until I was totally unable to get there without his help, asked or allowed him to come to any appointment with me. I felt that if he wasn’t there he wasn’t going to be pulled down by what was discussed, after each visit I glossed it up and altered the importance and outcome. Through all those years I tried my hardest to cover it all up, to be fitter and healthier than I really was, and he played the game too. Yes he did know, not all of it, but he frequently has said he had guessed or seen through the act. We were both playing with the perception of each other, but it was how I, or really we, thought each other wanted things to be.

Even now I still find myself covering the truth with a smile, but telling him every few minutes what is happening, how I feel or where the pain is, achieves nothing, but I no longer hide the big things. It is strangely hard though to talk about the failing of your bladder and bowels with your husband, it feels so wrong. If there was ever a subject that was designed to shatter someones perception of another that is it. The day my bladder failed me totally and left me struggling to get to the loo unable to stop the flow, while he was in the house, was bad enough. To come out of the bathroom to find him cleaning up after me, well that still makes me wish I could vanish. Yes it happens, and yes it will happen again and again in the future, those a physical facts, the emotional ones rip the inside out of you.

The most painful things about chronic progressive illness isn’t the physical pain that wrecks your body, or the true restrictions it forces on to you and those who love you, it is the destruction of our and others perceptions. Who we are hasn’t changed, but our roles within our relationships change continually, as it does for everyone. But gradually on top of that, even I no longer see the fit and capable person I had been my entire life, my perception of me and others perception of me, is now that of someone who needs help continually, who is ill and who will never again be well. All the positivity and spin in the world can not change those facts, and their implications, yes I can still do a hell of a lot of things, but they are being nibbled a way at it constantly.

3 thoughts on “Perception changes

  1. I can well understand your reluctance to discuss your illness with even those nearest and dearest to you.
    When my mum was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour after she had collapsed and been taken to hospital, we weren’t sure what she could understand when she came round. She was given some drugs and sent home but refused to be told by any of the medical profession what was wrong with her. This might seem quite bizarre to an outsider, but I am convinced that she wanted not only to maintain some semblance of normality for as long as possible for herself, but also to protect us.
    I will never know for sure if she was aware that she was seriously ill, but being the brave woman she was, I suspect she did know but chose not to let it mar the time we had together.
    Illness does present us with difficult choices about how we handle it and how much we let others know.
    Although my mum’s decision robbed us of the chance to say goodbye to her properly (why would you say goodbye to someone who isn’t ill?), I respected her right to choose and I believe it was what she wanted. Rather than spending our days talking about illness it freed us up to talk about other things. Not a clear-cut decision at all though.

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  2. THE POINT OF READING OTHERS WRDS N ADING UR OWN IS HONESTY N I FELT U WERE HARD IN UR INTERPRETATION OF THE MAN WITH UR CV.AS WE LOSE JOBS OR HV STUGGLES R SELF ESTEEM NOSE DIVES..UR SAYING…WELL. HES OLDER N LIKE I THOT HE KNEW BETTER..OR SONTHIN LIKE THAT SHOWED ME I HAD PERCIECED U ONE WAY N NOW U WERE SHOWING ME A RATHER LESS COMPASSIONATE SIDE OF PAMELA.I WASEBT GOIN SAY HOW I WAS AFFWCRED BUT TO DO SO WOULD OF MISSED THE POINT OF UR SAYING IN OTHER WRITTINGS HOW WE LEARN FRIM EACH OTHER.LIJE IVE TOLD U..I USE TO EAT NARCOTICS LIJE BABY ASPRIN NOT EVEN THUNKING OF TAJING 400 MIL OF MORPHINE…4 100 MG PILLS IN A DAY A FEW YEARS BACK..ALL TO …DO MORE WRK FOR HUBBY OR PARENTS SO THEYD…LUV ME…OR NOT C HOW SICK I WAS.NOTHING WAS SOLED.PEEING BY THE SIDE OF A BED OR BOWEL MOVEMENT IN A BUCKET N HAVING HUBBY CLEAN IT UP…. OR TGE TIME GE WENT UNCOHERENT FOR 5 DAYS N I HAD TO PUT A DIAPER ON HIM N WIPE HIM AT 52… AFTER THREE OPEN HEART SURG.PLZ SHOW OTHERS ALONG TGE WAY JOW SICK U R.I WROTE TO 8 DRS ONE DAY WITH ALL MY SYMPTOMS BEGGING FOR HELP…SOMEINE TO HEAR ME..TO HELP ME.IM SURE THOSE AROUBD U LUV U N WANT TGE BEST FOR U.FAMILY SUPPORT IVE REALLY NEVER HAD OTHER THAN HUBBY.PPZ IGNORE MY SPELLING.EYE INFECT N TYPING ON 2 IN FON.YOUR REACHING US ALL DAILY N WE ARE ..ALL LEARNING..EACH DAY..((((( HUGS ))))))

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  3. it is hard to do isnt it to allow those you love to help you even though you know if the boot was on the other foot then you would be the first to help out as for others perceptions I have gone past that phase now I no longer care or even consider most other peoples reactions or thoughts I know that sounds kinda selfish and rude but the only opinions I care about are those of Jen and my daughter.

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