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In search of support…

“CFIDS support groups come in many shapes and forms.  Some offer much-needed basic support, others provide education, while others take a more activist approach.  People with CFIDS sometimes find that their need for a particular type of group changes during the course of their illness….”

 Beth Huneycutt, CFIDS Support Network

Lisa describes her feelings after her first visit to a support group.  “I was searching for understanding; someone just to listen to my feelings, fears and concerns; someone to validate that I wasn’t crazy; someone to remind me that I wasn’t alone.  I was searching for reassurance, a role model of the optimism that so often eludes me.  I was searching for acceptance, someone to know and value me for who I am, since I am no longer what I do.  I was searching for a place to belong, somewhere I could be myself without pretending, without having to hide a part of myself.   And I was searching for a place to contribute, so that I might reach out to help others, and in so doing I might lift myself up as well.” 

 Lisa continued, “While our bodies (and for many of us even our minds) are sick, our hearts have the capacity to experience joy and love.  Most importantly, we have the ability to reach out to others, to give and receive support.  We can remind each other that we are not alone, that we have value and that ‘this too shall pass.’  When we are feeling a bit stronger, those who are weaker can lean on us.  And we can teach what we have learned to those who have not yet traveled that road.  We need not decide that the rest of the world is against us, but rather we can share ideas of how to connect and promote the understanding we long for and deserve.  We can express our rage and sadness at the limits CFS has placed upon our lives, but we can also share the daily blessings we may have come to appreciate.”

            Adapted from the  fall 1996 CFIDS Chronicle