Sharing My Story: A Challenge I
For Siblings of CFIDS Kids
This editionís SOCK Drawer comes from
Tara Hardinge, whose sister Lara has had CFIDS for four years. Taraís story is
so similar to my own that I am eager to share it with all of you. óKatie
Moore, Coordinator, The SOCK Drawer
In mid-October I was informed that I had to
write an essay for my college applications. As soon as I read the topic, "a
challenge you faced and how you responded," I knew that I was going to write
about CFIDS. I began my essay by describing the story of how my sister first
became ill. In the paragraphs following, I dealt with my feelings and
experiences as a SOCK (sibling of a CFIDS kid). I would like to share that
portion of my essay with you:
When hearing this story, many people are so
caught up in feeling sympathetic for my sister that they forget to stop and
think about how this has affected me. This has greatly affected my life. When
she first got sick, everyone showered her with gifts and attention while they
left me standing in the back like an old, discarded toy. I felt left out, and
whenever I would tell someone how I felt, I was told not to talk about it
because it would upset her. I was forced to keep everything inside and to watch
whatever I said around my sister. Through her hard times I would become her
nurse. I would get her a drink when she was thirsty or something from her room
when she needed it. My family stopped our summer vacations because she wasnít up
to them. Many times I had to give up doing things with my friends because I had
to stay home and baby-sit my teenage sister.
I also became very worried about my sister.
Every night I was and still am haunted by the same dream. In it, I would wake up
one day to find out that my sister had successfully committed suicide. Many
nights I would cry myself to sleep because seeing her in so much pain was too
hard for me. I also felt guilty. Why did it happen to her? What if it was me who
was supposed to get sick? I felt bad that I didnít know much about what was
going on with her. I went through so many emotions that I, too, fell into the
bottomless pit of depression.
Despite all of the hardships I have
endured, I feel that there have been some happy outcomes. My sister and I are
best friends. The support I have received from writing other SOCKs has really
helped me get through all of the hard times. This has made me a stronger person.
I have also learned not to take my health for granted. I now treasure every
moment that I get to spend with my family and friends!
When I wrote this essay I was using pure
emotion. I surrounded myself with CFIDS information, including Laraís medical
history and her story that Mom had written. As I wrote it I cried. A lot of what
I had read was painful, early memories of when she first got sick. I had somehow
pushed them back and tried very successfully to forget them. Iím rarely proud of
what I write, but this is one of those times.