The CFIDS Garden, Summer '97
Needing Help, Getting Help
Originally published in Youth Allied By
CFIDS, Summer 1997
Sometimes things get to be too much to handle. Sometimes you
just need help. And sometimes, if you are lucky and willing, you get it.
My doctor had brought up the topic
counseling a few times. Though I have received excellent medical care as a
chronically ill patient, he was concerned that we were neglecting me as a
person. Over and over again, I resisted. I did not feel I needed counseling. I
did not want to add yet another regular appointment to my schedule. And I felt
weird about seeking help to deal with my own life. I had always been praised for
"coping so well," and I would just continue on as usual, relying on my support
system and my journal.
But, something happened as years went
and illness lingered on. The chronicity of having a chronic illness started to
sink in, and my patience wore thin. I was more often feeling overwhelmed,
frustrated and discouraged. I was tired of fighting so hard to maintain a
lifestyle so different from the one I want. I struggled with motivation,
wondering why I even bother making plans and try to have anything close to a
normal life when things so often don't work out. I was feeling drained by the
process of trying to get well and living in such uncertainty every day. I'd
simply had enough.
Though I had been through minor coping
slumps before, this time it was clear that these feelings weren't going away.
Perhaps I'd had one too many disappointments. Maybe the downhill slide in my
health for the umpteenth time was all I could take. Maybe I was just worn down
from having to deal with so much and feeling like my life had been turned upside
down repeatedly for several years. Whatever the cause, something snapped and I
Still hesitant to ask for help, I waited
for my doctor to bring up the counseling idea again. This time when he did, I
had no objection. It was time. I was ready.
It took awhile to sort things out with
insurance company, but I was finally assigned to a clinic a few months ago. The
clinic assigned me to their chronic illness counselor. I will say, without
hesitation, that actually going to counseling is a lot easier for me than making
the decision to go was!
My counselor and I got along well right
from the first time we met. He's really easy to talk to. In fact, I think I may
have said more words to him at that first appointment than I have said in all of
the past six years combined! Talking to him is like having a living journal that
gives me some much-needed feedback and understanding, and lifts some of the
burden off my shoulders simply by listening. It's also like having a personal
coach, filling in with motivation and encouragement where I'm currently lacking
it. It's nice to have someone to complain to, and just to talk to about all
sorts of illness stuff and life stuff.
Life certainly is not a barrel of laughs,
but it is definitely getting better. I feel as though I'm truly beginning to
cope again, rather than just pushing through each day, grateful when it ends.
I've learned some valuable relaxation techniques. I don't feel as stressed or
drained as I did a few months ago. I am starting to feel a little more like me
Life with any chronic illness is a
challenge and most often a difficult one. But, it need not be an intense
struggle on a daily basis. Sometimes things get to be too much for anyone
to handle. Sometimes you just need help…and sometimes you get it.