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Eunice Beck, RN, on Support and Coping in Times of Special Need with Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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By Eunice Beck, RN • • January 28, 2004

Dear Friends, Support: A word with so many meanings. (Of course, there are those unmentionables which are “Victoria’s Secret”!) Usually when we hear the word, we think of the emotional aspects, but there are countless types of support: encouragement, to provide strength, help, assist, care for, look after, maintain, reinforce, bolster, augment, sustain, boost, supplement, feed. And this ‘caring for’ can come in many ways, from people you may not have even known prior to their appearance in your time of need. As those of you who read most of my articles know, I have been going through a particularly difficult time due to a serious illness in my immediate family. I have had assistance offered and given by many friends and neighbors, some of whom were asked to assist with particular things and some of whom offered their time and assistance whenever I needed it. Friends moved some furniture for us to make our bedroom more comfortable. One of our neighbors has chauffeured us several times, and I know that once I manage to get the garbage cans to the street, he will return them to their normal place after the collection. I have gotten better acquainted with some of my other neighbors through this experience, and one has become a special friend. One day our mailman was late. We have a neighborhood group mailbox, which just happens to be right in front of my house. It seems that both I and one of my neighbors were waiting for the mail that day, and met at the mailbox. While I knew this gentleman to wave to him, I didn’t even know his name until that day. However, he had noticed the increased level of visitors and delivery of medical supplies at the house, so he asked what was happening. We chatted for a few minutes, and I happened to mention that I have Fibromyalgia. He was amazed, and told me of his partner who also has it. He described her level of pain, and all the problems she was having with Social Security. I offered my assistance, if any information I have to share might help and gave him my email address. A couple of hours later, I got an email from my soon-to-be friend. It seems that she has been a reader of my articles for some time, and was astonished to find that I lived two doors down the street. She has since adopted us, and has run errands and helped in many other ways, in spite of also having FM. We talk or email almost daily and I know that she will be happy to do anything I ask if she is able to do so. That is truly a friend, and the type of friend I have always tried to be. Sometimes it is the smallest thing that will help you cope with a difficult day. I am most grateful for all of the time and energy offered at this especially difficult period. I make it a point to say ‘thank you,’ and in a couple of cases have even sent cards to express my appreciation. But I believe there are other ways to say “Thank You.” Most of you have heard of the movie “Pay It Forward”, and some of you may have seen it. I haven’t. But I have read the book, and feel lucky to count its author, Catherine Ryan Hyde, among my friends. The story the book conveys is one of repaying the kindnesses that others do for you by doing an act of kindness for someone else. The hopefulness of the book is that this philosophy will be “catching” and will spread love and caring behavior throughout society. How wonderful life would be if this actually happened. It begins with each of us. Perhaps it has, or I look especially tired and needy these days, because on a trip to the grocery store a few days ago, two people offered to help me, one with lifting something, and the other reaching something on an upper shelf. I will hope it is simply kindness coming from them and not my fatigue that is showing that much. I think we, as human beings, need to be caregivers for one another, and this is true for those of us with CFIDS/FM. One never realizes the real value of friends until a particular time of need. To have had other FM friends offer to help, and to make this new friend because of my situation, has been very special. Just by using products from Pro Health, you are helping, too, because the company contributes portions of profits to research on our diseases. I’m sure you can find other ways to be of assistance to family, friends, or the new friends you haven’t met yet. Perhaps you have the energy or opportunity to volunteer in your community, or to be a one-on-one buddy for another chronic disease sufferer. In that situation, you do things for each other, always with the understanding that you can say ‘no’ if it is one of those days when you just can’t do what is asked. I appreciate all the support I have received from Pro Health, my editor and my readers. We can all find ways to provide that care for one another if we just look for them. I know how much that is appreciated. Take care and be well. Yours in health,
Eunice ------------------------------------------------- I welcome your comments and questions at: My articles and email responses are not being offered as those of a health care provider. The information and opinions included are intended to give you some information about your disease. It is very important that you empower yourself with knowledge and participate in your own search for care. Any advice given is not intended to take the place of advice of your physician or mental health care provider. Always follow your physician's advice, even if contradicted by something written here. You and your physician know your situation far better than I do. Thank you and be well.

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