Coping Corner, Summer
By Jenn Waterman
Originally published in
Youth Allied By CFIDS, Summer 1996
to you all from Massachusetts! I am so happy to be here in "The Coping Corner."
I hope that you'll enjoy my column as much as I always enjoyed Sandy Becker's,
who used to write "The Coping Corner." Hers will be a tough act to follow, but I
have a long list of ideas here to help make life with CFIDS a little easier.
Everyone living with CFIDS sometimes
overwhelmed, some more than others. We all need a little help and a lot of
support to keep our footing in this dizzying battle. This time I want to share
with you some ideas for better (mental) health. I would love to hear your ideas
- my brain power can only extend so far, so I need your contributions! Please
feel free to send all of your suggestions to me, Jenn Waterman, 103 County Road,
Reading MA 01867. Now on with the show!
slow. This is especially important during the back-to-school
season when the slacking of summer is over for many and it's back to the old
grindstone. There are so many things waiting to be accomplished - tasks big and
small that beg for your immediate attention - that it becomes easy to feel
overworked and overwhelmed in a short period of time. It's important that we all
learn to listen to what our bodies tell us and pull back when the time is right.
Everything that needs to get done will get done in good time. Pushing yourself
will lead to more problems and we all know that very little gets done during a
Being organized can help you keep your
balance. Sit down and make a list of what you need to accomplish within a
particular time frame - be it an hour or a day. A good place to start is with
your homework. Perhaps tackle the biggest or most difficult task at the
beginning and then move on to something easier, more fun or requiring a little
less thought and energy. Realize that the small steps you take will lead to
bigger and more noticeable leaps later. Don't expect yourself to function at the
level of healthy people or your former self and allow plenty of time (and many
pats on the back!) for what you do accomplish.
Cut yourself some
slack. Chill out. Relax. Lighten up. However you say it, it
means realizing that you can't be perfect. It's okay to take a nap in the middle
of the day, to answer the door in your pajamas, to gain a few pounds, to not
always have the right answer, to forget things. I am a perfectionist so I know
how difficult (aka, impossible) this can be for some people. When you have CFIDS
and your world has spun out of control, you want to control whatever you can get
your hands on. You want to be perfect and achieve great things and prove
something to anyone who ever insinuated that you were a failure. Well, face it,
you can't. You have better things to do with your limited energy. So leave the
hair in a bed head or watch the TV show and set aside time just for resting.
Do what makes you
happy. What makes you smile? Whether it is singing in the shower
(off key is the only way to go), watching Jim Carrey or playing Monopoly (to the
annoyance of everyone you rope into "just one more game"), do it. A lot.
Laughter is the best medicine. It can help to reassure yourself that you're
still alive. Still human. Still a kid. It's not worth it to be miserable (unless
that is what makes you happy). Haven't you heard? It takes more muscle to
frown. what seems to be the logical choice for a PWC?? You decide.
food. I thought I'd throw this one in because it has to be true
- my fortune cookie told me so: "A good way to keep healthy is to eat more
Chinese food." So go for it. You can quote me on it. Also, if you don't go for
chop suey, feel free to substitute hamburgers, apples, pizza or whatever else
happens to tickle your fancy. One to try: chocolate.
That does it for my first "Coping Corner"!
I hope that you all have enjoyed reading it as much as I have writing it! See
you next time.