You see, instead of building a wall around myself, I envision it more as a drawbridge. Depending on my comfort level, my connection with someone, and the situation at hand, I adjust this drawbridge. God is the only one that is granted full access 24/7. Everyone else is granted permission based on who they are, why they want to be here, what harm is possible, and even how I am feeling on that particular day. The purpose of my drawbridge is to help control and minimize pain, misery, trouble, and heartache. It is suppose to help strengthen my defenses and protect my vulnerabilities. But it's not perfect; I do make mistakes at times. Unintentionally, I sometimes stall or even deny access to some really great people, people I love, people that I respect, people that I should trust, people that could possibly make a positive difference in my life, if I'd just give them a chance. Confusing, right?
Let's see if I can clarify. Over the past couple of years, I connected and created friendships with some phenomenal people I met online as a result of my health. Together, we share our similar health experiences and journeys, as we can relate to each other so well. No one else in my life knows the complete truth of how awful I often feel or the severity of my illness-related symptoms. Symptoms I was trying my best to cope with independently. However, my new friends could/can relate. I was no longer alone. I found friends that I could talk to because we could understand each other plight. They, too, were/are courageously experiencing and enduring some of the same struggles as me. Our friendships were/are invaluable, needed, and appreciated. Though I still have friends that I connect with online, and a few that I've chosen to remain very close with, I have found that I'm distancing myself from becoming closer friends with others. Why? Because too many of my close GP friends have died and others are currently fighting for their lives. That pain hurts!!! I don't even know how to describe the heartache it causes. In an effort to protect my body and mind from the sadness, I find myself closing my drawbridge. Isolating myself from others that understand, simply because I no longer know if I have the strength to witness & deal with sickness and death over and over again.
Friendships are not the only relationships being impacted. In the past few months, I have been more honest with how I feel medically and emotionally with my family and medical team than I EVER have before. Heck, I've been more honest with myself as well. It's been a slow journey as I slowly and carefully decided how secure they made me feel. Some days I've been more guarded than others, but for the most part I've been learning how to be more open. I recognize the value of having my family and medical team more aware of what I'm actually dealing with. But for some reason, this transparency doesn't come easily. No matter how open or to what level I desire my drawbridge to be extended, it's always angled with guards on standby ready to raise the bridge at a moment's notice. The past couple of months I've allowed the drawbridge to slowly open further and further for my family and medical team. Unfortunately, after the recent news of a undesirable change coming in the near future, I'm reluctantly fighting the guards. I don't necessarily want the bridge to be unpassable, but it appears to be automatic. I'm aware that I need others including my family, friends, and doctors to understand my health in order to best help me. I need their assistance in managing my lifestyle changes and aide in searching for effective improvements.
Nevertheless, I can feel the drawbridge closing in around me in an effort to protect the inevitable. I don't want to withdraw or detach myself from others, but starting over scares the hell out of me. I'm exhausted in every way imaginable and literally just tired of retelling my story to medical providers. I don't feel like revalidating myself and health issues again. I already have a hard enough time finding the right words to accurately explain my current issues. Starting over and trying to catch up new medical professionals on my health history just takes too long and is frustrating, especially since they'll never understand anyway. So why even waste our time or my precious energy?
I have no ill feelings toward anyone on my medical team that has to leave in order to fulfill their own individual goals. It saddens me, yet I completely respect them for pursuing their personal dreams and plans for the future. I just want a medical team that's able to "get me" and truly "see me" the way my current medical team does. My current team may not have witnessed the beginning of my health journey, but they have witnessed enough to recognize when something is wrong and are familiar enough that I don't have to continue restating my health history.
To be honest, right now I'm uncertain if I'm even capable or willing to lower my drawbridge enough for new people to join me. I'm honestly not sure that I want to take the risks anymore. I've been so fortunate with the healthcare I've been receiving, that it has to be only a matter of time before I begin to have negative healthcare experiences again. And that I can't handle.