Phyllis Griffiths

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The Value of Connection

[Ed. note: this essay was originally posted on a CFIDS support email list.]

I have found that the simple chatter on how to go about coping with everyday life with other PWC's is often more valuable to me than all the scientific and medical postings combined. When I see that others share the same hopes, dreams, problems, and quandries I feel less alone, less isolated. The depression of the day lifts ever so noticably. I think it is not so much of the old addage that misery loves company, but more along the lines of the equally old adage of a burden shared is a burden halved.

When I feel useless, to myself and others, I find that it is much harder to get through the black-purple funk that decends upon me like a heavy blanket and keeps all light form reaching me. When I can brighten someone elses day, my own is also brightened. If I have some coping idea to pass along to someone else... no matter how small or routine it seems to me, I feel that maybe I am less useless than I thought. The black begins to fade to gray and allow light in.

Somedays the black-purple funk becomes suffocating. I become overwhelmed by the burdens and worries, and crisis, and know only fear and panic. When I can reach out and tell someone that I hurt.. and they reach out by just caring to listen and say... "yes, I have felt that pain too, and it is terrible"... then I am strengthened. I can stop beating myself up for not being tougher and more resourceful, I can stop trying to minimize my problems as the rest of the world seems to do.

To talk about how we go about our days, how we manage those everyday tasks that are now unrelenting challenges is one way that we help each other to get through another day. We can't gather around the kitchen tables of our friends homes... but we can meet here, via the computer.

It is all so very, very important.

I don't think that I could manage to keep on going if I did not have my e-mail friends and places like this to talk, and listen... to feel connected, welcomed, useful and active.

© Phyllis Griffiths, 1997

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