Chronic illness disrupts a family’s usual patterns and dynamics. This may become more obvious during the holiday season, when you might be spending more time with family than you do throughout the rest of the year. All families develop ways of coping with stress, but a chronic illness presents the unique, lingering stressor of continuing disruption. Families that are cohesive, flexible, resourceful, and adaptable cope most successfully.
Talk about what’s happening, even though you’d rather deny it. Discuss the shared problems of illness and its effects on the family as a whole and on an individual family members without assigning blame. All family members need to develop an understanding of the illness.
(Source: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Other Invisible Illnesses, by Katrina Berne, Ph.D.)