I ride public transportation, and it suits me just fine. My life is a bit slower than average but, I have no business rushing around in life anyway. Anyhow, one late morning, I decided to run some errands downtown. And on my way back home, the bus made a stop to pickup an elderly woman that was waiting on the corner. I was the only one on the bus, so there was plenty seats the woman could chose from, but, she wanted my seat.

“Miss,” she said, “Can I have your seat? I am an old woman and I need the extra support of this seat.” I was sitting in the designated elderly and disabled seating zone. I too needed the extra support, but after sizing her up, I agreed that she needed the seat more than I did.

Before I could move over to the next seat, the bus driver burst into a fit of anger and instructed me not to move one muscle! Apparently this fragile, perfectly groomed women is quite the rebel rouser of the Connecticut Transit bus system. The bus driver when on to explain that she always pulls this crap. He claimed that there wasn’t a damn things wrong with her, she just wanted her way! “Sit somewhere else, you piece of work,” he directed his anger towards her. They went back and forth with accusation, all the while trying to pull me in the middle. I was sitting there feeling my frustration rise, and not sure whether or not I should give this woman the seat.

In the middle of the heated disagreement between the bus driver, and the elderly rebel rouser, she stopped yelling, and carefully and conveniently “passed out” on my lap, of all places! “For the love of all things Holy!” The bus driver yelled. “Get off that woman now, or I’ll throw you right off my bus!” Miraculously, the woman regained consciousness, and removed herself from my lap. Needlesstosay, I gave up my seat. I figured, her well performed theatrics deserved some reward. Besides, the melodrama between the both of them inspired me to think deeply about “Crying Wolf.”

We are all familiar with the story of the boy who cried wolf. His need for attention compelled him to create false crises , until the dreadful day that the crisis actually came upon him. While I was on the bus, listening to the bickering between the older woman and the bus driver, I was tempted to take the side of the bus driver. It was obvious that this woman wanted her way. But I stopped short on judging the woman, when I had the realization of the many times I have cried wolf!

For many of us living with an invisible chronic condition, we are often faced with the barrier of “proving” we are actually sick. From the outside, we look fine, while our inner plumbing is going haywire. We are met with so much resistance and suspicious, that we ourselves have a difficult time reconciling that are illness is something to be taken seriously. Earlier on in my diagnosis, I have found myself, dipping further into an achy knee, or coughing louder and louder until I caught someone’s attention. Just like the woman on the bus, I stopped at nothing to be recognized and validated, even to the point where I have caused disturbances in the people that loved and cared about me.

Over the years, I have learned to address my needs in a way that was less theatrical, and more authentic. If you too are struggling with communicating your emotional and health needs, try these steps before you pull out the drama script!

• First Identify what your needs are. Are you achy, angry, lonely or exhausted? Take some time to get clear on exactly what it is that you need at that moment.

• Second, be specific on how that need can be met. Perhaps you have found that you need to take naps on a daily basis, and you would like support from your family and/or co-workers in arranging your home life and work life so that your nap time is a priority for you each day. Think of ways this can be possible for you, considering your needs and the needs of others involved in your life.

• Next, set up a meeting time to discuss your needs clearly. Set up a time where you can discuss your requests with the people involved. Let them know that this discussion is important to you and would like their undivided attention.

• Lastly, strive to keep your tone of communicating neutral. Be sure that your that you have no hidden anger or resentments from past unmet needs. Focus only on your present needs and possible solutions. Any other distractions will take you further away from your goal and discredit your requests.

Remember, you have individual rights that should be respected. The only person that can validate those rights are you. Be loving and direct with what will make you comfortable and happy. Creating a false crisis like the boy who cried wolf, or the elderly woman on the bus only masks your real needs and steer you further away from obtaining your goal.

Many Blessings,
Keesha Mayes

Author's Bio: 

Keesha M. Mayes has a B.A. Degree in Communications from Charter Oak College in Connecticut. She is a Professional Wellness Coach specialized in the area of chronic illness and health challenges and a seasoned facilitator. Keesha has been the recipient of many awards recognizing her unique approach in working with people with life challenges. Keesha has lived with Systemic Lupus for 16 years, lived successfully with her illness and has the training and the experience to help others do this, too. For more information about her Wellness Coaching Sessions, contact Keesha at www.csolutions4u.info or kmayes@csolutions4u.info.