The CFIDS Garden, Summer
Growing with CFIDS
By Sandy B.
Originally published in Youth Allied
By CFIDS, Summer 1996
The Seeds Are Planted: An
Imagine, if you will, a garden. Plants and flowers of all
kinds grow side by side, each unique, but sharing a common soil. The garden
needs sunlight and water to grow. Though perhaps harmed by weeds and hungry
critters, the garden ultimately thrives. Each plant or flower matures at its own
pace - some ready for picking much earlier than others. Over the years, through
all its changes, the garden adds much beauty to the world.
We, as young people with CFIDS (YPWCs),
that garden. Each of us is a unique individual, growing with CFIDS as our common
soil. We are helped by caring family, friends, teachers and doctors--our
sunlight and water. We are harmed by those who disbelieve--the weeds and
critters--but we survive despite our struggling. Over time, some garden members
grow stronger and healthier and are ready to be given to the world, but never
forget their roots and where they grew. As the years go by, the garden goes
through many departures and new arrivals, but is always special and beautiful.
In every issue of YABC, I will
writing a column about some aspect of life in our garden. I'll try to tackle
some of the many frustrations we all face, such as disbelief, fear, loss of
friends and a sense of being left behind by the world. I'll address universal
issues like dealing with doctors, and somewhat lighter topics such as dating. I
will take a single topic and explore it in depth. My hope is that everyone will
realize that we are together in this battle with CFIDS, facing many of the same
issues, and we are here to help and support each other.
we often feel as though we are stuck at the age we were at the onset of CFIDS.
For me, that's 17, on the verge of adulthood but still very young. Sometimes I
still feel more 17 than 22. But, I think we do continue to mature, despite
having an illness that takes away our independence and alters our lives so
Life can continue, despite CFIDS. Growth
can continue. Childhood diaries are abandoned in favor of more sophisticated
journals. Toys gather dust while books and music become life's staples.
Bedspreads and clothing featuring cartoon characters are replaced with flowers,
stripes or solids. Quarrels with siblings become discussions. We find ourselves
wanting to have a voice rather than letting our parents speak for us. We embrace
adult responsibilities instead of running away from them.
We may have fallen behind our peers
education or job experience, but we have gained wisdom and maturity beyond our
years because of what we have lived through and how we have survived. We've
grown as people, but not in school or at work or out in the real world. We have
grown in The CFIDS Garden.