It’s NOT a Nightmare

January 4th, 2010

The other day, someone said to me:  “Your work sounds so depressing.  Helping other people deal with being sick sounds absolutely awful to me.  I can’t handle this kind of stuff.  How do you do it?”  This remark really made me think about how I help people.  I then stumbled upon the first page of my website and reread it.

I hired someone to write my website quite a while ago.  Though it shows up every day as my home page, to tell you the truth I haven’t read it in a long time . 

I was horrified, shocked, appalled  surprised by what it said.  Why?  Because my home page doesn’t really accurately share what it is that I help people with and it scared the be-jesus out of me just reading it.  To think that that is what’s on MY website with my knowledge, well – needless to say – I’ll  be changing it just as soon as I write some new copy (which couldn’t be soon enough as far as I’m concerned!)

(Digressing here for just a moment, I take full responsibility for the contents of my wewbsite.  I read it at the time and approved it.  I was not a victim here.  I hired this copywriter and internet marketing talks about the importance of “addressing the pain that your target market feels”.  I think that’s what I got swept away with this marketing approach.  Like Maya Angelou says:  “When you know better, you do better.”  I know better now.)

The headline on my first page reads:  Is there a pathway through the nightmare of serious illness?

Here’s what I would say today:

It’s not a nightmare.  I help people look at what’s happening with all its complexity and break it down into manageable do-able things to work on.   I help them find ways to sit with their feelings compassionately while also taking care of the objective details that need to be handled.  I help them adapt to the changes that inevitably happen with these situations.   

I don’t have the emotional charge that they have so I can be objective as we look at what’s happening in their lives.   

The people who work with me feel successful because they get things done that are important to them.  They feel more confident as they find different ways of getting through this.  They end up feeling better about the way they handle things because they’re in touch with their true needs and facing things in a way that works for them.  They have more energy and focus which is what they really need to get through this.

The people I love working with are those people who aren’t feeling well and have been trying to figure out what the problem is.  They are usually frustrated, in pain, would rather not deal with the whole thing, and wish it never happened in the first place. 

I really enjoy working with people who know that they’ve got a chronic condition like crohns disease, back pain, arthritis,  or diabetes, and are doing the best to manage things though they wished the situation would just resolve itself.

I also love working with close family members or friends who are doing their best to help out and also feeling stressed, burnt out, shocked, numb or overwhelmed with all the changes that are happening as a result of helping their loved one deal with their health situation.  

Sometimes the person who is struggling with this is dealing with the entire thing single-handedly.  Perhaps close family or friends aren’t available or don’t really get it.  In this case, the person whose sick has “triple duty” as they work with their own pain plus handle all the details including dealing with doctors,  work, and their other relationships.

I am absolutely passionate about helping others with these very real and scarey problems which are understandably overwhelming.  

When you know something is wrong and don’t know how to deal with it, it settles in the back of your mind and affects everything you do. 

Helping others handle these things with dignity, knowledge and compassion for themselves and each other is a privilege.  It is the furthest thing from depressing I can think of – and definitely NOT a nightmare.

4 Responses to “It’s NOT a Nightmare”

  1. Ilene in Md. Says:

    Your post today, Char, highlights one of the things I love about you and your work – you are always, ALWAYS, willing to compassionately and honestly look at what you do and say, ‘fess up, and make any changes you think are needed – I so admire this about you!

  2. Char Says:

    Thank you so much Ilene. Funny how long I’ve looked at my website, known something was amiss but not been able to put my finger on it and then BAM! – that word nightmare literally blasted me over the head letting me know how I’d missed the boat.

    I really am humbled that you admire this about me. Thank God for the person who thought that what I did sounded like a nightmare to them.

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts here.

  3. Sandy Says:

    I like this a lot. It shows very clearly what you do and why you do it. You go girl!

  4. Char Says:

    Hey Sandy:

    Thannks for the feedback. It means a lot that you can see what I do and why. I appreciate the encouragement too.

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