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You’re Healthy Til You’re Not

Sep 6, 2021 | being healthy, featured, getting sick, healthy relationships, how long to live

by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Author, Attorney, Podcaster, Media Commentator, Motivational Speaker, and Creator of the World's Most Successful Breakup Program. 

  • Getting Past Your Breakup: How To Turn A Devastating Loss Into The Best Thing That Ever Happened To You (Hachette Book Group 2009)
  • Getting Back Out There: Secrets to Successful Dating and Finding Real Love After the Big Breakup (Hachette Book Group 2015)
  • Getting Past Your Past Workbook: The Definitive Workbook to Emotional Healing, Health and Happiness (La Bella Vita Publishing 2012)
  • GPYP Power! Affirmations (La Bella Vita Publishing 2019) 

 

Backstory to this post:  I wrote this post in 2007.  This was 2 years before Michael got sick and more than 5 years before I fractured my back in two places and 7 years before my Lupus diagnosis.  I’m so happy that I learned this lesson and took this advice to heart and REALLY REALLY did it.  

I’m sure that people from the old blog remember this post as it’s been mentioned to me many times over the years. This is also an adage (“you’re healthy til you’re not”) many of my clients have heard from me whenever they’re dragging their feet on building a life or achieving their goals. 

 


“You’re Healthy Til You’re Not” ~ Grey’s Anatomy 

Original post 12/2007 by Susan J. Elliott 

It was very early days in my recovery and I was a mess physically, mentally and emotionally. My therapist had talked me into going to this women’s group which I loathed. It wasn’t them, I know now, it was me. But I was having a lot of trouble connecting and, at the time, I did think it was them. I told my therapist it was a depressing group. She said I found it depressing because I was depressed. I was still in “just listen to her because your best thinking got you here” mode, so I trudged myself there every week.

One night I met a woman who stood against the door smoking. She had wild auburn hair and freckles and was attractive but had a bit of hard edge to her. Her mascara was too thick and her lipstick too red. She should have been cracking gum. She looked me up and down and as she blew smoke from the side of her mouth, she said, “Do you fall in love with bastards?”

I turned around to make sure she was talking to me and when I realized she really was, I blinked and said, “What?” She repeated it and then followed with this explanation: “Bastards. Bastards. Guys who are no damn good.” I was about 4 weeks out of my marriage and a complete mess about the whole thing but I reluctantly nodded. Yes, it could summed up that way.

Despite the fact that I thought her too bold and overly made up, we became friends. She was the only one in that group who could be irreverant and make me laugh. I would describe her as gusty, no nonsense person out of the 1940’s “one tough dame” mold. She talked about her exhusband who she was somewhat involved with as a bastard and her boyfriend who was a married man as a bastard. Eventually she started to describe them as bastard 1 and bastard 2 and I would know who she was talking about.

She made me laugh. A lot. And no one else did that very much at the time. She was making progress but kept slipping into her old habits. She couldn’t seem to break the connection with either the ex husband or the married man. She would take one step forward and about 4 and a half back.

I knew that her humor was a cover up for the pain she was in over her inability to break free from “the bastards” or at least one of them. She used to joke about how nuts was she that she was being strung along by two, count em two, losers at the same time. When the group leader would talk to her about breaking contact she would feign being shot in the head and tumble to the floor, making the rest of the group laugh. She wanted to listen to it but she didn’t seem to know how. One night she told me, in all seriousness, that she didn’t know if she’d ever break her attraction to bastards. I knew what she meant.

We were friends for about 3 months and she got me through many a rough night with her humor and good cheer. I feel I did the same for her because even though she battled expressing hurt feelings, preferring self-deprecating humor, she certainly had them. In group she would share that her biggest weakness was admitting that they hurt her or that she was hurt by what they did. But she was getting better and acknowledging that she wanted to be more than just “a good time” to them.

Then she suddenly disappeared.

I called and called, and she never answered. I went over to her house and no one was home. I had no idea what happened, but she was gone. She had been my first real friend, and I was crushed and felt abandoned.

But I was making other friends and doing other things so I went on. I missed her a lot but I felt like I didn’t know her THAT well. Even though she struck me as a straight up type who wouldn’t just leave like that, I had to admit that I didn’t really know her that long. But sometimes you just connect to someone and you miss them when they go. She was one of them. I thought about her a lot throughout the days. I couldn’t quite shake off the woman who had affected me so profoundly and made me laugh on days I swore that I had forgotten how.  Eventually I was able to put the memory of our friendship on the back burner as I was making more and more friends and knew my attraction to “bastards” was definitely in late stages and about to be wiped out. Therapy was going well, work was going well, meetings – especially the women’s group – was going well.  I was having a really  good time of it – at last. 

One night, several months after the last time I saw my friend with the bastard addiction, a woman came to the therapy group in a wheel chair. I thought it sad that someone would be here in a wheelchair fighting the good fight.

I thought it would be a nice gesture to welcome her to the group and then felt startled when I recognized her as my long-lost friend. Shaken, but determined to say hello, I went over and asked how she was…tried to hug her but she wasn’t responding well. Her caregiver/nurse informed me that she had multiple sclerosis, an advanced form which came on suddenly. I had no idea it could develop like that. I wasn’t sure if she had known she had it or if it was sudden onset and she, herself, had been surprised by it.

That night she had trouble speaking and trouble with her sight, but had told her caregiver that she wanted to make it to the meeting just to listen and see her friends. The ex husband and the boyfriend now had no use for her and neither were helping in her care. She was all alone. I asked her caregiver if I could call and maybe visit and she said it would be great for her to have visitors. 

Before and during the meeting, she didn’t really respond to me but stayed about a half hour in the meeting and then her caregiver took her home. I tried to visit her a few times after that, but she slept almost the whole time I was there. She stopped reacting to my presence altogether and, after a few non-communicative visits, we never really spoke again.

Her deterioration was very difficult to watch because she had been so vibrant just a few months before. To be honest, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know her well enough to be actively involved in her care but I knew her too well to just walk away. I tried to do something but didn’t really have a role there and it saddened me.

At the time I was doing “okay” at “bastard recovery” as she called it, but I vowed to try to get emotionally well while I was still physically well. I had to do my grief work and all of that but I silently vowed to learn how to live and to never stop until, well, I stopped.

Fast forward 15 or so years when I was practicing law in Dallas. I worked for a law firm where we spent 12-15 hours a day, and most of the weekend, in the office. One night I was sitting there, too burnt out to work but knowing that going home before 11 p.m. would be “bad,” and wondering why in the world I was doing this. A fellow lawyer and (now) dear friend who watched Grey’s Anatomy told me about an episode, the catch phrase being, “You’re healthy til you’re not.” Had she smacked me between the eyes with her marble paperweight, it would have stunned me less.

The next thing I knew I was looking for a kinder, gentler law firm, plotting my move back to New York, and thinking of my friend in the wheel chair.

Over the years I’ve learned one thing that keeps coming back to me: Life is for the living. We all need to do our grief and have our downtime, but as we do that we need to be constructing a life and not wasting our precious time on unworthy, unloving people. We must live life the best we can for as long as we can. 

When I think about the time I spent in unloving relationships with personality disordered people, I think about time wasted.  When I think about the amount of time I spent trying to get disapproving people to approve of me, I think about time wasted. When I think about the amount of time I spent crying over some bananahead who didn’t love me or chasing him down to “make” him love me, I think about time wasted.

No one knows how long we have or how it will be spent. It can all be over in a flash. I didn’t want to go down, sailing away on the good ship “Falling in Love With Bastards,” as my legacy. I wanted to figure a way out. I wanted to figure out a way to be alive while still alive. I wanted to stop dedicating myself to fruitless endeavors, inconsequential people, and useless predictaments.  As the song goes, I want to live until I die – really live – not just play at it, but BE at it. 

Long story short: Your life is now. Live it. Without Bananaheads (or Bastards). 

YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!


The GPYB Program is the world’s MOST SUCCESSFUL Breakup Recovery Program (recover from relationships with bananahead, bastards, narcissists and the like).  To follow the steps of the program go HERE

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