By David Spero | April 15, 2009 9:10 am
I hate to admit it, but I need some help. Actually, everyone needs support, and having a chronic condition doubles the need. But where do you go for help?
Your doctors can help in some ways, if you have good ones. They are the best source for diagnosis, testing, and medicines. In my experience, they don’t give much emotional or practical support, though. They may not be good at sharing information, either.
Other health-care workers, such as educators, nurses, and counselors, can give good information and sometimes let you know how you are doing. Physical and occupational therapists are full of ideas on how you can do things more easily and what kind of equipment might help you. That’s all good stuff.
But what about the need for contact? For someone who understands, who may share your feelings, who can actually help? Do you have someone (or ones) in your life like that?
For me, I’m finding that the career of a writer is kind of lonely. Being a disabled writer doubles the isolation. I am very lucky to have my wife, Aisha, but I could really use more social contact.
I think that one of the best sources of support is friends who share your condition. I have two or three people I talk with on the phone fairly often, and I’m glad I have them. I met them through an MS support group in San Francisco. But they are just as disabled as I am, or more so, so getting together in person is difficult.
So what can I do? I’m thinking about volunteering. It’s supposed to be good for you. Today I called an adult literacy program about volunteering as a tutor. Have you ever tried that?
I do get out occasionally. Yesterday, I participated in a demonstration against the bank bailouts and had a good experience. My mom came and we had lunch together afterward. But days go by where I don’t see anyone but Aisha, or nobody at all. It gets kind of lonely.
What do you do for support? Do you feel you get the help you need with housework or shopping or other tasks? What about emotional support? Is there someone you talk with about what you’re going through? If not, what else do you do to keep going?
I notice I’m asking an awful lot of questions here. Just a couple more…
What about diabetes? Do you have diabetes friends with whom you can share, who support each other? I think this part is extremely valuable. Nobody else understands what it’s like the way other people with diabetes understand. Not your spouse, not your doctor. Not your clergy, not Jesus. Have you ever gone to a support group?
Did you or do you find it helpful?
So I encourage you to find more support, and I would appreciate any ideas you have for me on finding support and connections. You can find a state-by-state listing of support groups here.
On another note, today is the day taxes are due. I sincerely hope you don’t have to pay any. Although some tax money is very well spent, I hate paying money for war. Maybe someday it will stop.
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