Embrace Your support !

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by tammy, Sep 5, 2002.

  1. tammy

    tammy Guest

    This was on an email from The National Fibro Association.
    It is long but I thought was great. If you have an understanding mate as I do or someone in your life who is understanding and compassionate...use these. I think they deserve them all. After-all, our families/friends are very affected by this too.


    By Gregg Piburn

    Twenty years ago I read a statement that hangs out in my head like a beloved grandmother living in the guest room.
    "I shout while others whisper. I whisper while others shout."
    There is enough of a scamp in me to embrace such a philosophy. So now, let me shout or whisper -- whichever one you don't expect.

    I want to make four suggestions regarding the impact of a chronic illness such as fibromyalgia. My wife has been chronically ill with fibromyalgia, among other things, since 1985.

    My suggestions are how people who are ill (such as my wife, Sherrie) can better serve healthy people (such as me) who love them. You didn't expect to read such a list I'll bet. But you must realize that people who support and love people slammed by chronic illness also suffer life losses. As I speak around the nation I've found that the list of losses from that group closely resembles the losses noted by folks who are ill.

    Let's say you have a significant other who is relatively healthy. You, on the other hand, suffer from one or more symptoms that significantly cramp your style at best. Your significant other might choose to ignore your problems and offer little support. On the other end of the spectrum, that person could go overboard, becoming a stoical martyr in his or her support of you. I want to speak to those folks who have a significant other more on the latter side of the spectrum, where I used to hang out and occasionally still do.

    So here are ways the unhealthy partner can better support the healthy one. (Note: To avoid the cumbersome he/she references, let's use "he" for the healthy partner and "she" for the unhealthy one.

    Tip #1 -- Ask, ask, ask
    If you are ill, you probably grow weary of answering the question, "How are you?" Guess what, your partner probably gets sick of many people asking him how you are doing. Some months I could answer that question 20 times and not have one person ask how I was doing. It will seem odd for both of you at first but get in the habit of asking the question and waiting for the true answer.

    Tip #2 -- Boot 'em out
    Your partner might feel guilty about taking care of himself or, heaven forbid, having fun. Encourage him to do things with friends. Perhaps you used to ski together but your body no longer allows that. Urge him to go skiing with a buddy. He will be a better support person and a more pleasant partner to live with if he has opportunities to connect with friends and hobbies.

    Tip #3 -- Be optimistic
    Sometimes we partners mirror your moods. So whenever possible, be optimistic about life. It will give him an emotional break and could cause a snowballing of good vibes in the home.

    Tip #4 -- Thank him often
    We partners often feel guilty because we don't have the burden of illness to carry around physically. But remember, we suffer, too. It's hard to see loved ones hurting. So occasionally thank us for the tangible and intangible things we do.

    Gregg Piburn is author of "Beyond Chaos: One Man's Journey Alongside His Chronically Ill Wife." You can find reader reviews and page samples at amazon.com or visit LeadersEdgeConsulting.com


  2. tammy

    tammy Guest

    This was on an email from The National Fibro Association.
    It is long but I thought was great. If you have an understanding mate as I do or someone in your life who is understanding and compassionate...use these. I think they deserve them all. After-all, our families/friends are very affected by this too.


    By Gregg Piburn

    Twenty years ago I read a statement that hangs out in my head like a beloved grandmother living in the guest room.
    "I shout while others whisper. I whisper while others shout."
    There is enough of a scamp in me to embrace such a philosophy. So now, let me shout or whisper -- whichever one you don't expect.

    I want to make four suggestions regarding the impact of a chronic illness such as fibromyalgia. My wife has been chronically ill with fibromyalgia, among other things, since 1985.

    My suggestions are how people who are ill (such as my wife, Sherrie) can better serve healthy people (such as me) who love them. You didn't expect to read such a list I'll bet. But you must realize that people who support and love people slammed by chronic illness also suffer life losses. As I speak around the nation I've found that the list of losses from that group closely resembles the losses noted by folks who are ill.

    Let's say you have a significant other who is relatively healthy. You, on the other hand, suffer from one or more symptoms that significantly cramp your style at best. Your significant other might choose to ignore your problems and offer little support. On the other end of the spectrum, that person could go overboard, becoming a stoical martyr in his or her support of you. I want to speak to those folks who have a significant other more on the latter side of the spectrum, where I used to hang out and occasionally still do.

    So here are ways the unhealthy partner can better support the healthy one. (Note: To avoid the cumbersome he/she references, let's use "he" for the healthy partner and "she" for the unhealthy one.

    Tip #1 -- Ask, ask, ask
    If you are ill, you probably grow weary of answering the question, "How are you?" Guess what, your partner probably gets sick of many people asking him how you are doing. Some months I could answer that question 20 times and not have one person ask how I was doing. It will seem odd for both of you at first but get in the habit of asking the question and waiting for the true answer.

    Tip #2 -- Boot 'em out
    Your partner might feel guilty about taking care of himself or, heaven forbid, having fun. Encourage him to do things with friends. Perhaps you used to ski together but your body no longer allows that. Urge him to go skiing with a buddy. He will be a better support person and a more pleasant partner to live with if he has opportunities to connect with friends and hobbies.

    Tip #3 -- Be optimistic
    Sometimes we partners mirror your moods. So whenever possible, be optimistic about life. It will give him an emotional break and could cause a snowballing of good vibes in the home.

    Tip #4 -- Thank him often
    We partners often feel guilty because we don't have the burden of illness to carry around physically. But remember, we suffer, too. It's hard to see loved ones hurting. So occasionally thank us for the tangible and intangible things we do.

    Gregg Piburn is author of "Beyond Chaos: One Man's Journey Alongside His Chronically Ill Wife." You can find reader reviews and page samples at amazon.com or visit LeadersEdgeConsulting.com


  3. Shirl

    Shirl New Member

    Excellent article. Good rules to live by.

    My husband has a job he loves, but it takes him away from home a good deal of time.

    He wanted to change jobs so that he could spend more time with me, but I insisted that he keep the job he has. He is happy with his work, and I don't mind the time I spend alone, I enjoy things that I can do alone.

    When he is home, all his time is devoted to me, he makes everything in the house, grounds etc. easy for me to deal with when he is gone.

    We have our son do the gardening and the grass cutting for us, which frees up his time with me when he is here.

    He always has a 'hobby' here so that he can have his 'space' when he is home also.

    Our daughter picks up the slack when he is gone, but he does all the major shopping when he is home so that we only need to shop for the light things when he is gone.

    He does the largest shopping alone, when he gets home, we then go do the small stuff in smaller stores that I can handle, and we go out to eat often. This way I don't get over tired and sick from too much activity at one time.

    He does not 'rush' me, and he waits till I get up to see how I feel, then we decide what we can do for the day. If I am not well, then he always has an alternative plan for those things he wants to do that does not include my participation.

    We always try not to make plans ahead of time, as I never know how I am going to feel on any given day.

    Of course this can work most of the time, but not always. But we do live a quiet life, and try not to allow too much stress to enter into it. That has been a tremendous help toward how I feel.

    All of our children are grown, so this is all possible now for us. But it was not this way when the children were all here.

    I never asked how he deals with the people he works with, and my being sick. I will ask him that one!

    He does ask how I feel way too often for my taste, but I have learned not to get frustrated with that anymore.

    I do thank him often for all that he does do, and what he has to deal with by my being ill, or in pain so much.

    His attitude? He hopes I live to a hundred years old, as long as I am with him thats all that matters to him! Thats a big compliment as we all know hard it has got to be to live with a partner that is so undependable, that you never know if you can make plans from one day to the other!

    My husband is a very healthy man, and full of energy. But he has learned to deal with Fibro after he understood (as much as anyone can understand how we feel!)what I live with on a daily basis.

    Shalom, Shirl



  4. tammy

    tammy Guest

    Shirl--Excellent! I am very blessed also. My husband is the best! Guess I need to remind him as well.