First, sorry for the delay in posts! I was recently apply for graduate school. All my energy went into study for the GRE and my application. I’m happy to announce that I have been accepted! Being a full time mom, part time student, part time blogger, and with full time job will be interesting to balance!
This leads me to my main topic, having a good support system. I know I will need it for the next couple of years. However, Alex will need a great support system for the rest of his life to help ensure that he stays healthy. By healthy, I don’t mean just his heart health, but also his mental health.
Going through a near death situation can be difficult on anyone. Alex often reflects on how close to death he really was. He thanks me often because I was the only one pushing him to go to the doctor. Everyone else just told him it was stress from the upcoming baby. But my maternal instincts were kicking in already and I knew it was something more. I know he wonders what would have happened if I wasn’t in his life. I try to ease his worries by telling him that there is no point on pondering on the what if’s. You can drive yourself mad by doing that.
PTSD after any medical procedure is a concern. It can be especially important for those with heart disease because stress only worsens the issue. Thankfully, Alex has not showed any signs of this.
Adjustment to his new lifestyle has been the biggest challenge.
The most difficult thing though for us is adjusting to the loss of friendships and support. Whenever a major life event occurs, good or bad, you quickly learn who your true friends and family are. By this I mean the friends and family who will be there when you need them and you for them.
After alex was diagnosed and went through the procedure for the stent we saw a few things happen. First was the incoming support from a lot of family. Alex received calls from family members he hadn’t spoken to in some time while he was still in the hospital. Those were some of the best moments for him because they helped give him purpose. He felt like his life did matter and impacted others.
At the same time this was happening, in the background were friends distancing themselves from us. Of course we have friend who are more distant before because we no longer go out at night as much or because they moved further away. These are not the people I am referring to. Many of these friends still make a great effort to spend time with us and respond to us when we make the effort.
There is a group of “friends” who have distant themselves simply because they cannot handle the trauma themselves. I can completely understand why they do this. Alex tells me how he had an indestructible feeling before which is now gone. Some situations are too difficult for some to handle and backing away from it seems to be better for everyone involved. Some people don’t want to lose the sense of being indestructible which is why I think they turn their back on a friendship.
I got to see the effect this had on my husband. I quickly learned why a good support is important but also hard to come by.
I think it hit Alex the hardest around his birthday. We do the same thing every birthday for him. Watch the Wisconsin Badgers at a bar/restaurant near the stadium.
Alex began listening to the various conversations occurring by the group of people who came out. He heard about how activities he was apart of before the procedure were still occurring but he was no longer being invited. He heard about future plans people had with each other and how he was not included in on them. He saw people leave after the game to hang out with themselves somewhere else instead of joining us for cake and beers at our house like we usually do. Some not even bothering to say much to him at all.
At that moment, he had felt something he never had before. No self worth. He told me that night, with a tear in his eye, that it would not have impacted anyone at all if he would have died. That barely anyone would have cared and that barely anyone does.
My heart truly broke when he said this to me. I still fight with the rage I feel for certain people now.
Even now people make comments to him about something a group is doing without him and I can see the pain in his eyes.
Thankfully, he does have a good support system overall. The next day I messaged a friend who is probably the best listener I’ve ever met. He helped ease his worries more so than I could. At that moment, I knew I needed to reanalyze some friendships. For Alex’s sake, I needed to make sure his support system was strong. There will always be people in your life who might not know how to handle the situation. But if they don’t want to be apart of your life, you need to learn how to let go of those toxic friendships.
I find it interesting how people react to these type of situations. There are some people who react by not taking life advantage and live it to the fullest and make sure to include all those they care about. I see some people’s life prospective completely change. Some people have came up to me and have said that if anything would have happened they would have helped me in any way possible. And then there are those who run away. It hurts to see people run away from your friendships. People you thought you were close to. Alex pointed out though that these people are not ones who you ever felt truly comfortable sharing secrets with. They were the fun friends, but not true friends.
This holiday season, I encourage all of you to look at all of your friends and family and truly appreciate the ones who are there for you. You know which ones are the ones you could go to no matter what. These are the people you want to surround yourself with. The ones who love you unconditionally. I hope this holiday season you are surrounded by those who truly care about your well-being and want to have you apart of their lives.