AWAP has been making the rounds on some of the Migraine forums lately - so I googled it and got many choices:
Abused Women's Advocacy Project
Any Word Any Page
Aftermarket Wholesale Autobody Parts
Animal Welfare Audit Program
All worthy choices, I'm sure, but...
I'm talking about As Well As Possible. A wish for the chronically ill - not, "have a great day!" But "have an AWAP day!" Not "I'm feeling fine!" But "I'm feeling AWAP!" I sign off on notes and emails to my chronically ill clients and friends, "wishing you pain-free days and nights." It is my wish for them, my earnest wish, and it is my wish for myself. But sometimes it's unrealistic. We must walk a fine line between powerful hope and attainable goals. Between reaching for the stars, setting our sights high, and accepting the reality of our lives. I work and strive for the day when my Migraines, and yours, are a thing of the past. But if I expect that to be today, I may be setting us both up for disappointment.
When I was little, I was taught that when people asked how I am, I was to say, "Fine thank you, how are you?" The explanation for that stock answer is that people are asking in order to be polite, and they don't really want to know! Is that true? Sometimes it is. Every person I encounter in business, every acquaintance I run into in the grocery store, does not necessarily want to hear the details of my illnesses. I don't necessarily want to share and go into it with all of them either. So what do I say? I try to avoid saying "fine." I often say I'm okay. Or not bad. On those occasions when I feel great, I say I feel great. (Hey, it does happen!) But if I say I'm fine when I'm not, I'm perpetuating the invisibility of my illness.
With people in my life, I try to strike a balance between being real and being upbeat.
- Why be real? Because the people that care about me do want to know and because I want them to know; they are part of my support system.
- Why be upbeat? Because I don't want them to worry and because the more upbeat I am, the better my life is.
When we live with chronic illness it is very important to enjoy as much as we can of life. To find the joy where we can. And so for me to be AWAP means that I am living the best I can today, maintaining a sense of humor, being productive where I can, having as much fun as I can. It means that I may be chronically ill but I am not overcome by it.
Sometimes my friends and relatives say, "How's your head?" or "Having any Migraines lately?" or even "I hope you haven't had any of those Migraines," or "Migraines better?" Of course people want me to be better. I want to be better too. When a friend is ill, we want them better. What else can we wish them? So I try to find an answer that acknowledges their caring, and acknowledges my reality. Today I am As Well As Possible. I am not in constant pain. The on and off Migraines I've been having for weeks are off at the moment. I have some energy and I am getting some things done. My dishwasher is fixed. My kids make me laugh. The field is full of deep yellow goldenrod and deep purple asters. I am grateful for my life. AWAP
- Megan Oltman