Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Coping Strategies

I've been reading a blog by someone with a brand-new diagnosis of ME. His struggle to understand what is happening to him, and the strategies he is adopting to cope with it all got me thinking about my attitude to my illness.

I don't have the energy to waste on unproductive emotion, so rage and anger are not options.I have a history of depression, though, so it is important that I keep myself motivated and optimistic. I am only patchily successful in this, maintaining a good attitude remains a work in progress. My study of Buddhist thought is a great help in this goal.

Like alcoholism, ME is a big problem best dealt with a day at a time, and Reinhold Niebuhr's prayer, as adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous, is a highly apposite one for people with ME:

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things that I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.

I don't dream of mountains climbed or mile cycled any more, much as I mourn my cycling. My hope now lies in the little patch of land behind the cottage we are moving to next month. Vegetables will be grown, a polytunnel erected. Poultry will be bred. I'll try bee-keeping. I hope to make myself generally self sufficient, living in peace and quiet in the country. I'll adopt as many Permaculture principals as I can and look at low input methods to make my personal energy go as far as possible.


  1. Yes, fortunately, those early periods of anger and other destructive emotions don't typically last too long. Since stress makes ME so much worse, most of us learn early on to adopt a more accepting attitude, though those early days are difficult indeed. Fortunately, I have always been an optimistic and mostly happy person so I came back to that natural attitude after the first couple of years of illness. Sure, there are still moments of frustration or depression, but thankfully they don't last long.

    Your cottage plan sounds absolutely perfect!!


  2. My cottage plan is what keeps me going right now.