Coping Strategies

Different people have different ways of coping. It is up to each individual to find out which strategies suit them best at that time. Be patient with yourself, you are living with a very difficult illness; it is natural to feel frustrated and angry sometimes. It is common to feel guilty for being or staying ill, but try not to blame yourself; it’s just bad luck. Sometimes it will be appropriate for you to grieve your losses and feel sorry for yourself. Have a good cry when you feel the need to. At other times it will be appropriate to try and pick yourself up emotionally, and distract yourself from your problems. It can help to remember that there are other people suffering too; people who are going through similar problems and people who are suffering due to other reasons such as hunger or war. Take one day at a time, and look after your emotional well-being. Remember that you are no more or less valuable than anyone else. Identify small pleasures and take time to do things that you enjoy (see Quality of Life). Where possible avoid situations which make you feel stressed or unhappy. Things which are difficult but necessary can sometimes be less stressful if you break them down into more manageable chunks and tackle them before they become urgent. Try to balance demoralising tasks with activities you will find enjoyable or relaxing. Although you can’t have a day off being ill, you might still be able to have regular breaks from ‘jobs’. It is difficult to express emotion with very limited energy. Here are some possibilities: Express it by talking to someone, in poetry, art or writing, or in prayer. Listen to music appropriate for your mood. Squish a whoopee cushion; pop bubble wrap; throw a soft toy on the floor; or play with Playdough. Tear up scrap paper (thin paper such as tissue paper takes less energy); scribble all over scrap paper or write down angry words and then rip them up. Watch a candle, use relaxation or meditation (see Resting).

Celebrations : Holidays : Nature : Pacing : Parenting : People : Quality of Life : Resting : Young People

InterAction 37; 2001; pages 35-37 Counselling – telephone service for M.E.; InterAction 22; 1996; pages 9-10 Counselling and Psychotherapy guide; InterAction 29; 1999; page 32 Depression and M.E.; InterAction 26; 1998; pages 26-27 Abuse, Trauma and M.E.; InterAction 24; 1997; pages 33-34 Loneliness; InterAction 34; 2000; pages 36-37 low self esteem; InterAction 38; 2001; pages 6-8 Recovery – making the adjustment; InterAction 36; 2001; pages 24-25 Stigma; InterAction 28; 1998; page 26, also issue 31; 1999; pages 28-30 Suicidal feelings