I had this idea of a question that might be fun to share information on, so I thought I'd post it up and see what people think. I'm trying to present this as a way to share knowledge that I think might be useful to many of us and in a fun way. Let's see if I succeed.
I live several states away from my closest family, so when I cannot handle everything myself I have to rely on friends. I don't think this is an uncommon situation. But CP does make me rely on my close friends much more. How do you deal with being forced to ask more of your friends than you normally would? And perhaps sharing more of your life with CP than you normally would? Do you share this around or have one good friend who helps you almost all the time?
Here's what works for me:
I have one good friend that I've allowed into my process. I share with him pretty much without restraint. And I rely on him whenever I need help. I do this because he has come to understand this aspect of my life and is better equipped to help. Yes, this relationship sometimes feels unbalanced, but he is a strong friend and although I constantly worry about the unbalance he never has. I do use several tools to help keep this friendship strong.
Humor - Everything doesn't have to be serious all the time. One of our most recent jokes is that in the past six months he's been to the hospital to transport me there more than he's been in the whole rest of his life (ok, so we won't be starting a comedy club anytime soon, but the joke is for us, not others). Being able to laugh about this makes it much less of a drag. Inside jokes are the best.
Bond - I'm very careful that when I share I don't offload burdens on my friend. Instead when I share, I confide in him. I make it clear that I'm sharing because he is a very close friend. This kind of sharing strengthens instead of straining a relationship.
Gift - He never asks for it, but I always try to give my friend some kind of thank you gift when he helps me out. Often if he drives me to a procedure, I'll buy him dinner at one of his favorite restaurants. This is never repayment. These gifts are always to show my appreciation only.
Do other things - I always try to make time to do fun things outside the help he gives me. Sometimes we have BBQs. Other times we grab some sushi (a treat we both really enjoy). Sometimes shopping. Other times just finding random fun activities.
Two way street - Helping each other out is not a one way street. My friend knows that whenever he needs anything I am ready to help at the drop of a hat. I may not always be able, for instance I'm not very good at helping to move furniture. But whatever I can help with I do, without reservation. And I make sure that helping this friend is at the very top of my priorities list.
Ok that's everything I can think of. What ideas do you have?