I don’t like to be that person who complains, or gives the impression that I’m always sad and feeling sorry for myself. I’m not that person. I also don’t like when people try to compare their situation to mine, make me feel guilty about my emotions, or make circumstances somehow about them. Don’t be that person.
I was on the phone with my sister and she asked how my injections were going now that I’ve got my first week under my belt. She always checks in on me and sees how I’m handling everything. She wonders if these ones are as bad as they were for my first IVF cycle. I told her they actually aren’t bad right now, the needle is small, maybe even smaller than last time, and they don’t sting at all. Then I remember I hadn’t told her about the rest of my medication that came. I had obviously opened the box and got everything setup in our bathroom and bedroom, but didn’t look too closely at anything. Well, I shouldn’t have looked, EVER. The next injection I’ll need to do is Progesterone in Oil, and holy hell is that needle huge! I mean giant! I began to tell her how horrible that was going to be and all the Googling I did on these injections after seeing the size of them. Nobody has anything good to say, you get all sore and lumpy, they are extremely painful, no fun at all. Not to mention that they sent me 30 of the damn things and I don’t think that was even my complete order. I also mentioned this to G the night before, and how I was making myself anxious thinking about it already and it’s still a few weeks away. He then said “I know, it’s going to suck, can’t you go to your mom’s and have her do it?” At this point I realize he’s referring to the fact that he needs to administer these injections to me and that sounds too traumatizing for him. Are you serious? All you have to do is shove that needle in my butt, I’m the one in pain and dealing with being super uncomfortable, not you! Here we are now, coming back full circle to the conversation with my sister. She said that he – and most people I encounter – are not aware of Ring Theory.
Here’s the deal, and honestly most people don’t know how to not say the wrong thing. I am the person in the middle. I am the one most affected by my disease and infertility and this process. G and my family are in the next ring closest to me. Then my best friends, other family after that, so on and so on. The order is basically that I get to say this is unfair and yell and bitch and moan, that’s the only good thing about being in the center of this circle. Everyone outside of me, should be supportive and understanding. G and my family can certainly complain or talk about how difficult this situation is for them; but they do that to someone in a bigger ring. People who are sick or going through a traumatic experience do not need your advice, they do not need any extra feeling of guilt put on them because you’re telling them how hard it is to see you dealing with this. Nope, this is not about you. I need a hug. I need you to listen. I need comfort. This really is all about me. Think about where you fit into my diagram, your sick relative’s circle, your coworkers ring. Most people don’t realize that the things they say are insensitive or belittling to circumstances out of our control. Comfort In, Dump Out. By all means, share your emotions and let others know when these times are tough, but do it outside your ring. Look to those closer to the inside, they need you too, and hopefully someone on the outside is comforting you.
Please don’t think of this negatively, or that I’m pointing fingers at anyone in particular (except G, because I definitely did do that). I get asked a lot what people should or shouldn’t say to someone going through this, and sometimes I don’t know something will bother me until it’s been said. So when in doubt, don’t say anything. Just listen. Ask how you can be most helpful or supportive. It’s not easy to reach out, so we appreciate when you do. Maybe we want to be alone or sulk, but we know you’re there and that’s important. We need friends and family who love us all the time, and not just when we’re going through bad times. Be that person, you know the one.
***Thank you to my sister for sharing Susan Silk’s Ring Theory with me. I think you’d all agree too***