(This one I wrote before visiting Rory in the hospital tonight, but I didn’t get it posted beforehand. Another post will come shortly.)
I got to visit with Rory last night, with his chosen dad and another friend. He was anxious, but in good spirits. I really long to talk with him alone, because that’s when I get the full, real story about things. That’s when he opens up about more of what’s going on inside his head. But he wants visitors, and not just me, and this is a good sign. We will have time to talk once he’s home, but he likely won’t remember what he might have said if we had had visiting time alone.
Since I’ve known Rory, his memory has never been good, and it’s been much worse lately. It isn’t improving now that his meds have been adjusted, but hopefully that’s just because he’s in the hospital and extremely anxious. He told me about the anxiety he was experiencing, and I could hear it in his voice. But he is calling me once or twice a day. He is reading a lot, but is wanting to be more social now. He’s made at least one friend in there, someone who is in the same boat he is. They plan to stay in touch after they are released.
But back to the topic in the post title. Being the main support person for someone going through what Rory is going through is very tough. You have to walk a line that’s hard to walk. People want to be there for you, as much as they want to be there for the person this is all about. But in the end, it’s not about you, it’s about the other person. When it comes right down to it, death is on the line. His needs are more important than mine. But we also have a very functional relationship, and in that regard, our needs are equal. So it’s a hard line to walk. I am supporting him as best he can, while also allowing myself to fall apart a bit. I’m extremely anxious and can’t concentrate. But I can’t let myself fall apart completely, because this isn’t about me. I’m filling two roles here, and sometimes it really gets to me. So I fall apart in private and show a brave front with Rory. This is not my strong suit, so it takes all of my energy and concentration. At home, I have experienced a lot of ambush crying, sobs that come out of nowhere and comsume me for a bit. And then they are gone as fast as they come. I can write about this here, because I know Rory won’t read it until he’s home, and hopefully up for reading about my experiences. And it might help explain to my friends why I’m not being more social this week. It’s comforting to know you all are out there, but in general, I cope best either alone, or with Rory. So my options are extremely limited.
I’ll get to visit him again this afternoon, for two full hours this time. We’ll have another full house, though, with a whopping three friends probably joining me. Then I’ll have a dinner with a few friends from Phoenix who are in town for the weekend. Then I’ll come home and cry some more.
I’m not entirely sure how to help Rory at this point. Right now, he’s in the hospital and I can just be there, even if I don’t do anything. Once he’s home, I’m hoping we can talk at length about strategies for him to stay healthy. I have a long list of ideas. I think he has some, too. I hope he’s willing to make some long-term changes that will help him be healthy.
I certainly hope this post isn’t coming off as me whining about myself and my needs. I’m just trying to share my side of this experience in a completely honest way. Rory has helped so many people by sharing his experiences and perspective. But for every one of you out there going through what Rory’s gone through, there are many more people like me who love and support you. They need support, too. I need support. Mostly, though, I just need Rory to be okay.