6 Things to Be Proud of If You Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Society today places ever increasing value on achievement. Getting a job promotion, starting a family and running a marathon are all things to be celebrated and praised.

But what happens if you have spent the last decade housebound and bedbound with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome?

What do you have to be proud of then?

Well, a lot, as it turns out.

You may not be able to benchmark your achievements against the rest of society. And you probably won’t get the recognition you deserve, but there are so many things you have to be proud of.

Here are some examples of things you can take pride in:

1. Some days you manage to shower and get dressed. You do this even though you won’t be going out and won’t be seeing anyone.

2. You reach out to your family and friends by text, email and phone to ask them how they are. You reach out, even if you, yourself, are feeling abysmal. You listen to everything that is going on in their lives, which only serves to highlight everything that you cannot do. But you don’t moan. You make appreciate noises and congratulate every success.

3. You listen with clenched teeth to your neighbor telling you how they’ve had a virus for two weeks, and how it’s just “so unfair.” And, whilst inside you are screaming, “What about me?! Try 10 years!!” You manage to express sorrow for them and wish them a speedy recovery.

4. Some days you feel so wretchedly ill that you would rather not be alive. And yet, you persevere. You somehow get through these days. And for this, more than anything, I applaud you. (Can you hear me? You probably can. I’m clapping loud.)

5. You keep positive. (OK, well not always. We’re not saints.) However, you learn to look for the silver linings and appreciate the smaller things in life. Who knew you could get such enjoyment from feathered friends visiting your garden?!

6. You unearth hidden talents. I’ve started a double act with my canine companion. She can now spin, high five and go through my legs in a figure of eight. The things you learn when you’re housebound!

Realizing how many wonderful things you do now? And, seeing as nobody else is going to recognize these unfortunately all-too-invisible achievements, it’s up to you to praise yourself. Now is the time to tell yourself, “I’m awesome!”

If, like me, your chronic illness has destroyed your feeling of self-worth, then you may not feel able to praise yourself. Don’t worry, it will come. And, in the meantime, print out this article or the picture and stick it on your wall.

That’s right, just there, by your bed or chair, where you will see it all the time. This is your recognition. This is me telling you how damn awesome you are.

Now, where on my wall shall I put this?

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

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