Share the Disease

This may sound strange but you should share your disease.  No, no, I am not talking about sharing a communicable disease or reaching out to anyone on the street, as you will run the risk of driving them away or scaring them with your frankness. What I am talking about is finding someone with a similar affliction and reach out to them. It makes a difference in how you deal with your illness and you can make a difference their life. After spending years in doctors’ offices and hospitals, you will usually end up speaking with a patient or their family member suffering with a similar condition. They understand you.  You understand them.  There is comfort and a sense of support in sharing the human experience. Your shared experience can even lead to long lasting friendships, a reason enough to share. Even though you may not make friends with all these acquaintances, you will be amazed at how open people are and how, even in their time of illness, they are able to share and reach out to you.

As you focus on listening to their stories and let them fully offload some of their issues, you will give the gift of assistance. By listening, you will also help yourself in the long run as you gain insight, and then share those common threads of illness. I have found that by sharing each other’s struggles you give both parties the understanding that we are not alone. It is key in long term survival when fighting for your life, and understanding that there are others struggling and fighting as well. There are others even sicker than you. When we embrace this thought, we shift our attention to helping them ,and we help ourselves far more than if we just focus on ourselves. Their struggles become yours as well and, for some reason, we get rewarded with a calmer attitude by helping them or their loved ones get through the individual but common affliction.

It is interesting that this same sharing doesn’t usually work with those not going through or know someone going through a similar illness. Therefore, I urge us to be cautious in sharing too much with nonaffiliated individuals. When you share too much, they tend to turn off. They get bored or even scared from the intensity. With these people just speak of the blessings you have learned from your illness or how lucky you are to have family and friends praying for you and unless honestly asked for more information just leave it at that. So, Share Your Illness, but be intelligent about the audience and their openness and feelings, like a comedian feeling out the audience with their opening jokes

I do know this – by sharing you will receive far more than you give.

Pat