Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Exposing my weak spot.

I'm rather lucky to have supportive family and friends who treat me very well. Me, having ME can be hard for them because they only see me ill if they spend a lot of time with me. I avoid contact if I'm too ill. So I appreciate that they accept me for who I am. But so they should - ME does not define my personality, even though it's a big part of my life. I found this article exploring psychosomatic symptoms/illnesses and it reminded me of the complex mind issues that surround any illness. I have recently found counselling a really helpful tool in my quest for better health, but I am well aware that it will not cure me. Instead, it's helped me accept who I am and learn not to be ashamed of my illness.

Last week a group of my friends were talking about our weak spots. To give you an example, one friend hates it when people slag off Buffy, it gets her riled up. Mine, on a similarly shallow level, is probably litter (I don't know why?). But realistically, my weak spot is when strangers or new acquaintances try and suggest cures for ME. It gets me down when people say that I should try cognitive behavioural therapy or some other talking therapy, just because it cured their friend. I understand that they are trying to be helpful, but deep down I feel like screaming - "I've been ill for a long time, have I not tried so many 'cures' already? Would you suggest counselling as a cure for a person with MS or cancer? No, you'd be punched, because that is plain insensitive". But I smile and nod and thank them for their wisdom. Ultimately, they are trying to be helpful, trying to connect with a stranger by sharing knowledge, but they don't know that I have a large chip on my shoulder, weighing me down. I'd rather they got my ME confused with MS, that is always far more amusing.......


Blogger said...

I didn't have any idea you were suffering from an illness... Although, after a few posts, I have come to know this. First, I send you warm wishes for good pain free days. But, I firmly believe that we have no right to judge ailments or suggest uncertain "Cures." I think that only you know what you feel and that is reason enough for me to send you hugs and sunshine...Vanessa
ps: my sis has blogspot, and in her comment section, she just switched so that options for leaving a comment included "other" so that many more people who don't have a google account could post comments. she is delighted. Maybe you have it all figured out so I don't want to be annoying, but "Other" might be a place to explore???... Just a thought sweetie. xxo Vanessa I certainly do not want to come across as annoying stranger with all the answers. hee hee..

6:01 PM  
Blogger CatherineNiven said...

Thanks Vanessa - you certainly are not an annoying stranger! The kind thoughts are appreciated. I've changed the settings, but kept moderating, just in case....

7:12 PM  
Blogger Mo said...

Hi Catherine I remember seeing a film where Hugh Laurie uttered the line, "It's funny how, when you have an incurable illness, everyone you meet knows of a miracle cure." I get this too - other people seem to think you're ill because you can't be bothered finding a cure. My MIL frequently sends me articles on ME from the Sunday Post and other such illustrious journals of high quality research!

9:35 AM  
Blogger CatherineNiven said...

Mo - I agree, I am always receiving articles on ME. I suppose I am grateful that people are thinking of me, and appreciate that these are kind words/thoughts but deep down it is an irritant. It also keeps me up to date with what's going on in the medical ME world (on a trivial level) At least the articles are sympathetic these days! x

10:44 AM  
Blogger Gwen said...

Catherine - I came here via Moosh's blog. Nice to meet more Glasgwegian bloggers. I'm sorry to hear that you have ME. It's such a misunderstood condition but I have known people who have had it and it is certainly debilitating for them - of that there is no doubt. Best wishes for the future.

1:52 PM  
Blogger CatherineNiven said...

Thanks Gwen, your kind words are appreciated. x

3:05 PM  

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