This is the time of year when many of us (and a lot of other people) are a little blue. The excitement of the holidays is over. We are all overtired. The days are shorter, and there is less sunlight. It’s cold. Many of us are experiencing various types of precipitation and there are consequences to deal with. Even here in “sunny” California, we are having cool temperatures, a great deal of rain, and power outages. Feeling depressed during this time of year is not unusual.
However, I have received a couple of letters from readers in the past few weeks which really disturbed me. While I have answered the letters, the concern remains. These letters have been from readers who are questioning their worth to their families based on their functional level due to CFS/FM. I expect many of us have asked ourselves the same questions at times.
Our value becomes more difficult to discern when we are no longer able to perform many of the tasks that seem to go with who we are. These tasks may be those involved in the performance of a job. Being able to work gives us not only personal satisfaction, but the pay from our work allows us to provide for the needs of our families. We also measure our worthiness in what we are able to do for our families in the form of caring for their physical needs, such as cooking, cleaning, taxi service. I think you understand what I am trying to say.
Frequently, this disease takes away our ability to work outside the home. We may also feel that we can no longer adequately meet the needs of our families, especially children in our care, due to our ability, or lack thereof, to function as we want to. We may see ourselves negatively because we have less patience, and shorter tempers due to pain and fatigue levels. We think that children are not able to understand these problems, and that we should protect them from the knowledge of how we are feeling.
But I think we should give children more credit. I think they can and will understand the difficulties we have if it is explained in terms they can grasp. It will be important for them to know that we are not going to die, and this question should be answered clearly.
It is also important that they know that they are not responsible in any way for a parent’s illness. But they will understand when we tell them that “Mommy is not having a good day today”. Sometimes they will figure this out for themselves.
Especially when children are little, they love to help Mommy do things around the house. They won’t do as good a job, but things will get done. As they get older, having some responsibility is good for them. It teaches them self-worth and self-discipline. If they understand how important their contributions are, they will take great pride in being able to help their parents and the whole family.
By allowing children knowledge of what is happening, you are showing them the one thing only you can give them: Your love. Only a mother can give her child its mothers love. Your love cannot be replaced by anyone else. Members of your family may get love from others, there is no substitute for the special love that can come only from you.
While I have been writing about a parent/child relationship, the same principles apply in any of your other relationships. We feel responsibility to do for others. When we can no longer do those things we feel are important, we feel unworthy. We can display our love in many ways that are not doing for others. In many cases, letting a loved one do for you is showing your love by allowing that person the pleasure of taking care of you.
As I frequently do, I’m going to share a message I got from a friend.
The Facts of Life:
1. At least 5 people in this world, love you so much they would die for you.
2. At least 15 people in this world love you, in some way.
3. The only reason anyone would ever hate you, is because they want to be just like you.
4. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don’t like you.
5. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.
6. You mean the world to someone.
7. Without you, someone may not be living.
8. You are special and unique in your own way.
9. Someone that you don’t know even exists, loves you.
10. Always tell someone how you feel about them, you will feel much better when they know.
We are all important to someone, and probably to many people. I know that sometimes it is difficult to cope with this disease and our lives. But we can find ways to do it. Your love is important to your families, friends, and to me. I would give each of you a hug whenever you need one, even if it is a cyber hug. Please take care of yourselves and each other. Have a good 2003 and be well.
Yours in health,
I welcome your comments and questions at: email@example.com. 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.