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Shepherd encourages ME/CFS and CFIDS suffeerers

Dear Editor:

May 12th is awareness day for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (also known as ME/CFS and CFIDS). These illnesses can become a thief of dreams and the decision maker, for those living with them each and every day.  This is dedicated to all the courageous ones – living, surviving, and triumphing, while dealing with such debilitating illness.
Walking In Strength
For those of us who face chronic illness each day, thinking positive is not an easy task. It’s not as if we dwell on the negative, yet the negative finds us. We not only deal with daily pain and the many other symptoms – we also deal with all of life’s ups and downs.  I feel we do a grand job by enduring as many symptoms as we do, each and every day, while still surviving.  For we realize that the long list of symptoms is daunting.

Learning to live within our limitations is not a negative thing, yet a way to rearrange our life in order to live it. Finding new ways of doing daily tasks is a very creative thing. I find you amazing as to how you manage this. You find new ways of healing, new ways of coping, new ways to entertain yourself, new talents that you didn’t know you had.  

Our journey may be very difficult. It may be very long and tiresome, yet you do it with such grace – grace like I’ve never seen before. You’re learning an entire new way to live, a new way of thinking, and doing it soulfully. You’ve learned how to rethink what productive now means to you. Knowing that everyone’s productive isn’t the same, and that’s okay.  You’re still alive and moving ever forward as you learn to maneuver in this new way of life. You’ve accepted the challenge and looked it right in the face. I call that courageous.
You are a vital human being. This illness is not of your own making. It’s not who you are. It’s just where you are. You show your strength and courage with each breath you take, every obstacle you overcome, each time you learn new ways to cope. You are fearless, even in your pain.
Now I want you to take this truth into each day. Allow it to cover your entire being. There will be those in your life that don’t or won’t understand what you face each day. Chronic illness has taught me one very important thing: Some people will fill you up, while others will drain you, so choose wisely.
Know the reality is that you are wonderful just as you are. You have a type of bravery that’s seldom seen, for you live it in solitude. I see it – I know it’s there. Now believe it for yourself.  This strength, that is who you are is in you, beside you, in front of you. Know this and allow the light that’s shining ever so bright in you to guide you, hold you, and sustain you. I applaud this person that you are for you are the description of courage.

Clarissa Shepherd