By Wendy Burnett
Have you lost friends because of your chronic physical or mental illness? I have. Actually, I’ve lost quite a few friends since I got sick, for a lot of different reasons, but the only ones I really regret are the ones I’ve lost to chronic illness burnout. Those, I could have prevented, if I’d known back then what I know now.
Chronic Disease (Photo credit: tamahaji)
I used to have a very small group of friends that I talked to, and everyone else got the “everything’s fine” act. There’s not anything wrong with giving people the act, if they’re only acquaintances or coworkers, and they don’t NEED to know what’s going on with you, the problem actually comes in with the people you really talk to. We all need someone to talk to when we’re having a high pain day, or the depression is so bad that all we want to do is curl up and die, but loading it all on just a few close friends can be a bad thing for them and for you.
Whether you have a physical illness, a mental illness, or some combination; if you only share your pain and negative feelings with a few people, there’s a danger that it will be too much for them. Overloading your support network can cause them to have to pull back so that they can take care of themselves, especially if that is all you ever talk to them about. This is not selfishness on their part, it’s self protection. You HAVE to deal with your chronic illness every day, but your friends can get burned out if you lean on them too heavily. (We can get burned out ourselves, too, but it belongs to us, and it’s a lot harder to step back from when it’s yours.)
Don’t freak out!
I’m not saying you can’t tell your friends how you feel, or that you’re having a hard time. What I AM saying is don’t depend only on one or two close friends for all of your emotional support. Everyone has their own crap to deal with, and sometimes they can’t deal with your stuff too; Continue reading How to Avoid Burning Out Your Support Network »
I’ve been seriously slacking lately. Between the router issues (see my previous post,) work stress, and depression; I haven’t been able to write nearly as much as I’d like in the last few weeks, and I’ve gotten really behind.
The new Graceful Agony Blog Carnival, Who Turned Out the Lights?, went live on the Sept. 20th. Not being able to get online much meant it took me over a week to read all the posts, but they were really worth the wait. Continue reading Graceful Agony Blog Carnival – Depression & Chronic Illness »
I’ve been pretty much offline for about two weeks now, since our router died and we were down to sharing the single network cable coming from the main house. Hubby gets super cranky when he doesn’t have the net, so when he was home, he was the one connected.
He kept telling me I could use it, but he’s not really good at keeping himself occupied without the net. If he’s home and I’m connected, there are constant interruptions and I don’t get anything accomplished anyway. It’s just easier for me to wait for him to go to sleep or work.
Anyway, to make a long story short(er), my online time was so limited that all I managed to do was sort of keep up with my email, and check in with the folks that worry if they don’t hear from me.
The couple of posts I did manage to publish were mostly written offline, then pasted in and touched up. It’s really hard for me to write offline though, because I nearly always need to look things up or refer to articles that inspired a post.
A dear friend sent us a “new” router, and I finally managed to get it set up and working Sunday, so I’ll be able to finish the posts that I’ve been working on, but it may take me a while since I’m dealing with some heavy stress and depression right now. (Both of which cause writer’s block for me . . .)
Depression has been a huge part of my life for so long that if it was suddenly taken away, I honestly wouldn’t know how to live. Even on the good days, it’s a constant, hovering just beneath the surface, waiting for the tiniest gap to escape through.
Peel an onion, and separate the layers. Take a good look at that delicate, transparent membrane between them; at how thin it is, how easily it’s torn. Something like that membrane is all that separates me from the depression that lives inside me like a monster, waiting its chance to tear through and eat every bit of happiness, every bit of hope, and every bit of energy I have.
Although I’ve been diagnosed as bipolar (accurately, I think;) my depressions tend to be situational depressions, not bipolar depressions. It may sound like semantics, or even denial, but there really is a major difference between the two. Continue reading Chronic Illness, Stress and Depression »
It’s National Suicide Prevention Week, and today is World Suicide Prevention Day. If you know someone who is suicidal, reach out, help them find help.
If YOU are suicidal, you need to know that you are not alone. There are many of us who have been where you are and come out on the other side. I’ve been there myself, more times than I can count, starting when I was 5 years old; and I’ve learned that if you can hold on, if you can reach out, it ALWAYS gets better.
Life is change, and EVERYTHING changes, even the misery you feel. There are people out there who can help, who WILL help. No matter what you think, your family and friends will NOT be better off without you, and your death will cause more pain and devastation in their lives than you could EVER cause by staying alive.
If you’re considering killing yourself, if you’ve started planning, even if you’re just thinking that things would be easier if you were dead, read this first. This article provides tons of ways to get help, and links to places you can connect with others that feel the way you do. Read the article, check out the links, maybe call one of the hotlines and actually talk to someone who understands what you’re going through.
The Suicide Project is another great place to connect with others who have been where you are, and read the stories of those who have been affected by the suicide of someone they love.
These two sites have saved my life more than once, by helping me find the resources I needed, and they can help you, too. Please, just check them out. It won’t take long, and death will always wait for you as it waits for all of us eventually.
on white sheets
or blue steel
and red blood
I fear it
and desire it
or continued suffering
or the pain
I wrote this in 2001, and it has been true for me many times, both before and since. I’m sure it will be true for me again, but I’m also sure that when it is, I will find the help I need to get me through, one more time. The help is out there, all you have to do is ask. Please give life one more chance, please ask.
There’s a new blog carnival in town, hosted by Jolene at Graceful Agony, and the topic of the first edition is, “Let Me Introduce Myself.” This is my least favorite topic in the entire world, since I am NOT good at telling people who I am.
I think a big part of the problem is simply that there’s just so much to say, and the connections aren’t very logical. (I’m a Pisces, logic just isn’t part of my makeup. Intuition, emotion, passion: yes; history: I’ve got tons; logic: not so much.)
I’m a mass of contradictions, a mess of chronic illnesses, a pile of insecurities; and very much a product of my past. Continue reading Introductions Again? Yikes! »
Jenni, over at ChronicBabe, has Blog Carnival #6 up! The topic this week is “passion” and there are plenty of different perspectives covered.
The new ChronicBabe Blog Carnival theme is favorite self-care tools and techniques, and will go live on Tuesday June 1.
I love this topic . . . self-care is a very important part of managing a chronic illness, and we all deserve to take good care of ourselves. I use a lot of non-medication methods to manage the symptoms of my multiple chronic illnesses (the short list is fibromyalgia and bipolar disorder, but if you’re really interested in the entire list, check my “Who Am I” page,) and I love sharing them with anyone they might help. I use a lot of aromatherapy and herbal teas for symptom control; and stress reduction techniques to minimize flares, anxiety, and bipolar cycling; so let’s get started. Continue reading You CAN Feel Better: Self-care Tips and Tricks for Fibromyalgia and Bipolar Disorder »
My personal idea of a good day is one where I don’t have to go to work, and I can spend some time just doing things that make me feel better. It does NOT mean that I’m not in pain (I haven’t had a day when the pain levels were below a 4 or 5 on the pain scale in at least 5 years.) It also doesn’t mean I’m not exhausted, or that I can actually remember all the things I need to take care of without lists, notes and reminders from the people around me.
What it does mean is that the pain levels are at a 6 or below, and that I can lay down with the hot pads when I need to, or take a nap. Continue reading What does a "good" day look like to you? »
Another bipolar man has died due to the lack of training in dealing with the mentally ill, and the family has filed suit against the police department as a result, according to JusticeNewsFlash.com.
These kinds of deaths are so totally unnecessary, and it pisses me off to know that any one of us could be killed by police, just because they are totally clueless about how to deal with mentally ill people who are in crisis. This seems to be a bit more than just ignorance though, since Mr. Cardall’s family claims that after tasing him twice on his bare chest, police officers left him laying face down in the dirt, totally ignoring his wife’s requests that they check and make sure he didn’t need medical attention. Continue reading Yet Another Mentally Ill Person Killed by Police »