Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Coping With Chronic Illness - Talk. And Talk Some More.

Talking Is Important During Chronic Illness.
I am not a big talker.  I prefer to listen, to watch, and to work things out in my head.  But coping with illness involves many different emotions and I just can’t seem to sort through them all on my own.  

 Somehow, just speaking the words out loud to a trusted person clarifies things.  And because the person(s) is trusted I don’t have to worry whether I am right or wrong, betraying a flaw, being little or petulant or negative, whether I sound like a crazy person.  They will not form a negative opinion of me based on the wild talk of a grieving person, or the confusion of an overwhelmed one.  They will listen and they will help me find sanity again.

Now, because I tend to bottle things up, my inner circle often had a very, very difficult time getting me to talk about what was bothering me.  I mean extremely difficult.  It might take hours, days, or even months before I would open up.

I felt bad for them, even while I was clamming up.  I wanted to talk, I just couldn’t seem to get started.  I couldn't find the words.  And I somehow felt like it was weakness to need to talk about my problems.

But, no matter how long it took, they were infinitely patient and available and understanding.  I will always be so grateful for that.  (I am happy to say I have worked on it a lot and I talk easier now, to their profound relief I am sure. I do still struggle with this, but I'm not so bad as I used to be.)

Somehow talking about the feelings or problems can of itself lessen their depth.  It takes away some of their power.  It removes some of the overwhelming distress.  It clarifies my thinking.   When I am alone in my head things get jumbled, blown out of proportion, or dwelt on to an extreme.  The act of talking is an act of letting go, releasing.

Do not be deceived.  Living with an everyday illness, compounded by occasional emergencies, humiliations, set -backs, or further bodily mutiny’s is going to take a toll. We all need to be able to express ourselves, our emotions, our fears, our angers, our joys, to someone who cares and loves us.  If we don’t get the emotions out they eventually multiply and strangle who we really are.  Or, we become a tempest, or a volcano – blowing everyone else away with our anger.  Or we withdraw into an overwhelming depression.  Or we go crazy.  Really, don’t go crazy.  Just talk.

Other Coping with Chronic Illness posts:
It's OK to grieve your losses
Knowledge is power
Do not eat, breathe, and sleep your illness
Part 1 - Friendship is a basic human need (the dilemma)
Part 2 - Friendship is a basic human need (who can be a friend?)
Part 3 - Friendship is a basic human need (10 ways to be a good friend while chronically ill)
Part 4 - Friendship is a basic human need (How to be a friend to a friend who is chronically ill)
2 Reasons why lying keeps you sick
Let go of the dream, accept reality, and be happy (it breaks your heart and then rebuilds it)
Accepting reality - what it does NOT mean
3 Ways to advance in a new direction
18 Ways to ward off sadness
I Can't Do It Alone

Energy Economy posts:

How to get food into our mouths while chronically ill part 1
Food part 2
Food part 3
Grocery shopping and chronic illness
Wardrobe considerations for the chronically ill - part 1
Wardrobe considerations for the chronically ill - part 2
15 suggestions for Leaving the house while chronically ill
14 suggestions for cleaning the house while chronically ill
Personal hygiene and chronic illness
Dealing with people while chronically ill
12 Ways to simplify your grooming and dressing routines 
10 Ways to COPE with Cognitive Dysfunction (Brain Fog, Fibro Fog)  10 Ways to COMBAT Cognitive Dysfunction (Brain Fog, Fibro Fog)  


  1. Talking helps me know how I feel and why I feel that way. If I bottle things up too long, I get sick and my thinking gets distorted.

    1. Thanks for commenting. I agree, talking helps me figure things out. And not talking makes me very confused and my thinking gets distorted as well.

    2. Also Emily, I think you make a good point - bottling things up for too long can and very often does make us physically sick. Our minds, emotions, and bodies are all interdependent and they affect one another.

  2. So true. To talk is to release. It is very helpful in not going crazy.

    1. Thanks for commenting Martha. I'm glad you agree.