I’ve been thrown into a major family health crisis. That’s where my focus is and has been for many weeks now. It is the center of my attention.

This doesn’t mean that others experience the crisis in the same consuming fashion as I do. It’s been an interesting lesson for me.

I understood pretty early on that I couldn’t expect others to know where we were in the lifespan of our crisis. I have to be patient. Sometimes, I have to bring people along from the start so they can catch up with the rest of us. Other times, I have to help people calm down when they misperceive some small bit of information that makes them frantic.

Then there are the times I have to help others to be practical and realistic. This is especially hard to do because:

  • I tend to be a lot more pragmatic than most and others can find that offensive
  • I know a lot more detail than everyone else about the situation
  • Being realistic requires us to set aside the emotional parts of the experience, and this is a very emotional experience

Early on, I over-communicated to our circle of family and friends. I think I was subconsciously trying to make my experience their center of attention. I needed others to share this ride with me.

Now, I find it interesting to sit in my home at night, after the kids are in bed, and consider that our friends and even extended family aren’t thinking about Allyen right at that moment. They have other things in their centers of attention.

Now that I am aware of this dynamic, I’ve begun to notice how others expect me to give my energy to their center of attention; to be aware and knowledgeable about their most important experience. For them, it is consuming. I understand that with great depth now.

But for me, their concern is a distraction. It’s not that I don’t care; I just don’t have the emotional, time, or brain capacity to add it into my center of attention.

I don’t expect others to fully grasp what we are going through, or to recall what, when, how, etc. The outreach and support is sustaining, that is sure. And I’m happy to explain when questions come to me. But I know it’s my focus, not that of others.

What’s big for me is not big for you. And vise versa.