Phyllis Griffiths

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CFIDS and Self-Esteem

I think that the DD has done quite a job on what I could once call positive self-esteem. Heck, it wasn't enough for the DD to leave me with low self-esteem... no, it wasn't satisfied until it got me to a place of negative self-esteem. That is definatly not a nice place to be... a place where you regret ever being born... not so much for the unbearableness of the pain which you feel in every fiber of your being, but instead for the unbearable guilt that is borne from watching yourself become a burden to others. Then the unbearable guilt mutates into unbearable shame. If you aren't very lucky... this is when you give up and die. I know this place, and never wish to go there again.

For me, it wasn't a gradual downhill slide as much as it was a loss by chunks. It was like a monster suddenly bit away parts of my life... and some of these parts were those aspects of my life by which not just my self-esteem was anchored, but my self identity as well. In a snatch... there went my ability to be an all doing "SuperMom." In a snatch... there went my ability to hold down a job. In a snatch... there went my ability to understand complex materials... In a snatch... there went my ability to drive my car and keep my orientation on a bus. In a snatch... there went my ability to walk for miles on beaches and along forested trails. Just when I come to some sort of term with one more loss... just when I find internal equilibrium and the possiblity of patches of serenity once more... the shark quick jaws of the DD strike again and I lose something else.

It is a daily battle for me just to keep on some sort of footing, however shaky it may be that day. I find that I crave reinforcement... like a child or a pet... some confirmation that I did a good job at something. If I were just depressed, I wouldn't care. Nothing would matter. But in day to day life, everything has come to matter. If I can manage the strength to make a good meal from scratch, I relish in the exhaustion that follows because I earned it. What I once took for granted as things I just did without effort or thought have become isuues of great effort and concentration. And I need to have this effort validated in some way, in any way. I need to know that it is important for me to get up in the morning. I need to know that someone cares if I fell off the face of the earth. and if I can help someone out somehow with something then I have reason to get up and spend another day surviving.

Being online has given me many blessings of friends that I would otherwise never have had. My family has told me how much better I seem sice I've gotten online... and they don't mean physically as much as they mean psychologically.

© Phyllis Griffiths, 1997

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