Living with Chronic Illnesses, Washington Post

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by ephemera, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. ephemera

    ephemera New Member

    This is an excerpt of article from Washington Post. The other writers talk about diabetes & cancer. Apparently the Post encourages writers to submit artices under 250 words on living with chronic illnesses.

    'I Am Not My Illness, It Is Only a Part of Me'
    Tuesday, August 5, 2008

    An occasional feature in which readers describe how they have adjusted to life with a chronic illness.

    It began with a high fever and sore throat in the fall of 1996. I expected to feel better after a week, but the flulike symptoms, aching and malaise persisted. I was luckier than most: Within six months I had a diagnosis: chronic fatigue syndrome.

    Determined to get well, I at first over-exercised, fell for fad cures and held out for complete recovery. I had to leave my job and fell into depression and negativity when each new prospect for improvement failed. After two years, my functioning level was still 50 to 75 percent of what it used to be.

    One day I read Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning." Frankl basically says, "The only thing you can really control in life is your attitude." I rethought my life through the lens of chronic illness. It could be called acceptance, but I regard it as more like a cease-fire between my mind and my body.

    I still needed goals. My first step, lying on the couch every afternoon, was to improve my Spanish by watching telenovelas. I gave up trying to return to work as a social worker and found part-time clerical work at a local hospital. I could still help people and use my language skills, but I had much less responsibility and stress.

    I try to concentrate on what I am able to do instead of what I have lost. I am not my illness, it is only a part of me.

    -- By Susan Osborn of Fairfax, who gardens and volunteers with local environmental groups.

  2. jbc66

    jbc66 New Member

    The book she mentions in the article, saved me from a life of despair when I was 18. I came from a really messy family of origin (I think a lot of fibro people do, I read somewhere that sufferers of fibro had a statistically significant higher rate of physical or sexual abuse as children than those in a control group). At any rate, Frankl posited that we could seize that moment between an action and our reaction and it ultimately gave us power. He survived the Nazi death camps knowing this, they were never able to break his will.

    The book made me see things in a new light and allowed me to emotionally heal from years of physical abuse at the hands of my crazy father. It didn't happen overnight, it was a lot of work, but 24 years later, I would say on balance I have a pretty good life. I married a good supportive person, I put myself through college and later went to law school. I have a wonderful son. Money is an issue but isn't it always. Yes, I have some employment limitations because of pain and sleep issues, but really, it could have been a lot worse.
    [This Message was Edited on 08/06/2008]
  3. grace54

    grace54 New Member

    I also like "As a man thinketh" by James Allen. One can read this short book on line by Googling. Thanks
  4. Jayna

    Jayna New Member

    Thanks for posting it.

    I like this writer's attitude of doing what she is able to do, and giving back to her community within her new limits.

    Someone on another board suggested that even posting helpful and supportive stuff on ME/CFS boards is a way to contribute to your community and should count as 'volunteering'. I think she's right; if we're doing our best to be supportive and informative, it's good karma even if the person/people we were trying to help might not always get our message.

    Anyway, thanks, ephemera. May your karma ever increase.