Coping Corner, Spring
By Sandy B.
Originally published in Youth Allied
Greetings from the Marvelous Midwest and Happy Spring! It's that time
of year again when getting out becomes a bit easier for those of us in the
northern regions of the U.S. so we can enjoy some fresh air and the splendid
colors of spring. I hope 1996 is treating you all well so far.
I will be starting a new column called
," so keep an eye out
for that. Jenn Waterman from Massachusetts has graciously agreed to take over
"The Coping Corner." Jenn once told me that she felt like she was reading her
own words when she read "The Coping Corner," so she seemed the perfect choice
for it, and I'm thrilled she accepted the "job"! In the meantime, here are three
final tips from me - I hope they are helpful.
Tip #1: Memory Aids
you have a doctor's appointment coming up, it is often helpful to make a list of
new symptoms and concerns to talk to the doctor about. These are important
things for your doctor to know so he or she can provide help for you most
effectively. Yet, sometimes just the stress of going to the doctor can make it
hard to remember what you wanted to talk about. So, making a list as you think
of things can help both you and your doctor. Also, we've all had the experience
of leaving a doctor's office and suddenly forgetting half of what the doctor
said. One easy way to guard against this problem is to have your doctor write
down the really important stuff, such as when and how you're supposed to take
new medicines or supplements.
Tip #2: The Stair
For many persons with CFIDS (PWCs) who live in two or three
story houses, going up and down stairs throughout the day can become a problem.
Especially on bad days, those stairs can seem miles high, and standing at the
bottom of them wishing to be "beamed up" to the top doesn't work too well
(believe me, I've tried!). Since it's hard to avoid them completely, the next
best solution is to somehow lessen stair usage.
If I'm upstairs in my room, and
anticipating that I'll be spending much of the rest of the day downstairs, I
just stop and think for awhile about what I might want to have downstairs with
me - paper and pens for writing; books or magazines; tapes; craft projects;
whatever I think about doing that day. And, I gather things in a basket or a bag
if there are lots of loose objects so I can carry them all down together. By
thinking ahead about what I may be doing later, I have been able to lessen the
frequency of my stair climbing and conserve energy.
Tip #3: Have Fun!
the most important strategy for coping with a chronic illness is to have as much
fun as possible. Our lives are dictated largely by CFIDS, and the wide array of
disabling symptoms it causes aren't exactly conducive to hanging out with
friends and partying. We have to think of more quiet, relaxed ways to have fun.
Going out to movies and plays at local theaters is usually fun, but not always
possible. So, we need to be a bit more creative in our search for fun.
Perhaps watching ducks at the park; sitting
on the front porch with a friend or sister and making up "life stories" for the
people who drive by; reading a book or just looking through picture books with
your neighbor's little boy; or simply listening to some favorite music.
If you can get out more, visiting local
museums or art fairs or attending outdoor concerts in the summer can provide
entertainment. And if there's a hobby or activity that you especially enjoy, but
haven't been able to participate in much since you've had CFIDS, try to think of
some way to incorporate it into your life (your parents or friends might be able
to help you think of creative ways to do this).
Just don't let CFIDS take away everything
that you really enjoy. There's an old saying that states, "Necessity is the
mother of invention." No matter how sick you are, you still need to have fun, so
have some people help you invent new and creative ways to do so!