Dear Brynn and others here,
One of my greatest challenges of recent years has been isolation, how to connect with others in a positive and affirming environment on a consitent basis. As probably a lot of you may know already, having CFS and/or other energy depleting illnesses plays havoc on planning and committments at least it has for me now for over a decade.
Part of the problem in my case has been a persistent resistance to accepting myself as someone who really has a disabling health condition(s), and the feelings of failure and inadaquecy that this triggers for me. It has been a vicious cycle then of lowered self-esteem, and the feelings of loss and anger and inevitably depression that has really kept me imprisoned in my own private hell.
I only recently got on-line, and this has been the beginning of I hope a new chapter in my life, and learning to cope with CFS.I find that in order to feel good about myself I need to feel prductive,and why for me CFS has been so devastating.And I have a family(adult learining disabled son and a partner of 15 years). So, guilt from not being able to meet my own and others expectations of me has contributed greatly too to overall poor self-esteem.
In all honesty, I really never had solid self-esteem and I have always had problems with depression and anxiety.But my self-esteem came to an all time low last year, when I entered a partial care program for depression, after learning my partner had run up thousands in debts. The good news is that that is where I started to learn how to use a computer or at least become less afraid of one!
Since that time, I joined an on-line 12 program for myself and recently experienced there more and more difficulty with having others relate to me because more and more of my posts were around my chronic and persisitent and worsening health challenges.
So here I am. I started out this post by wanting to talk about isolation and I seem to have strayed off-topic.But trying to start talking in a group of others who have CFS is my way of trying to connect here.
I am also learning new ways of coping with illness:for me, trying to cultivate social connections whether here or in real time with individuals that like me for myself, not because of how I can problem-solve etc. is very important for my emotional well-being. As a former professional counselor, I think got stuck in a care-taker role, and have not been great about having relationships where I get my needs met for support in equal measure.
Not that I do not receive a wonderful lift from being of service to others. I do, yet I am learning that I need to be able to ask for and receive help equally. This has not been easy for me, as I think when I am feeling really needy, I tend to scare people away!So, please bear with me, as I am trying to learn that I need to ask as well as to give.
Sorry I am rambling here, I will wish you all a very happy 2004 for now. Wholebon