Someone e-mailed me about their cat this morning and it got me thinking.
His cat isn’t doing well because its sick. The kind of sick that you simply don’t come back from. My initial gut reaction, which is the same anytime someone tells you someone is sick, is “I hope you feel better soon!” (or in this case, I hope the cat feels better soon). But I caught myself.
You don’t say “feel better soon!” when someone/some animal is dying. That’s just mean, especially because all parties involved know that is simply not an option.
It reminds me of when I’m having a bad series of days and my (well-meaning) friends tell me, “I hope you feel better soon!” I get it, they don’t want me to be miserable, I don’t want to be miserable.
But its not that simple. What I put up with is chronic. My feeling better only lasts a day or two usually, then things get ugly again. Even when I feel better I can’t throw caution to the wind and do whatever I want. I have to maintain this carefully constructed world so I stay safe. When I feel good, I have to plan for the next time I feel bad.
Because I went untreated for so long, the “feeling better” is fleeting. Although I’m starting to get longer stretches (I think this last time I hit 3! days of feeling okay) closer together (once or twice a month), the vast majority of my time is spent fighting my brain.
I know you mean well, but please don’t tell me you hope I feel better soon, unless you truly understand what I’m going through. Otherwise, your definition of “better” is me being symptom free, whereas my definition of “better” is not wanting to die or self harm, or having the noise in my head chill the hell out for at least a few hours, or making it through the week without seemingly constant mood swings.
In my perfect world my better would be to have more good days than bad, even if its only by one day, because I know completely symptom free just isn’t going to be an option for me. For now, my better is any moment where I can focus on anything other than this struggle.
So please don’t tell me you hope I feel better unless you get it. Tell me you are sorry this sucks, because it does. Ask me if you can make me dinner or vacuum my apartment. Remind me I’m strong, that I’ve survived whatever shitty moment I’m currently living through before and I can do it again. Ask me if I need someone to sit with me. You can even tell me that I deserve to feel better, but please don’t tell me you hope I feel better, because I might already be living in my current “better.”
Oh and what did I say to my friend about his cat? I’m sorry about your cat, that sucks.