I awoke from a light slumber this morning knowing that I had to try to reach out…to speak up about one of the big stressors that can weigh heavily on us. The unfortunate side of chronic illness…how it can destroy our finances. This thought was heavy on my mind as my body craved sleep.
In my situation, it has taken me out of the workforce. My husband had struggled to find employment…always coming in second when interviewed! Yet a door was opened for him to start his own business…which we see starting to grow.
In the meantime, as I am sure many of you can relate to, we have had to use credit more than we would normally. The medical bills (that will keep coming), groceries (especially when you add in those of us with special dietary needs), the high cost of insurance, house payments/rent, fuel costs, clothing, shoes for our ever growing kids, and on and on. Even with careful spending…being as stingy as possible…stretching every dollar as far as possible, we see our savings (if lucky enough to have any) disappearing quickly. We are forced to look at selling our homes, taking out a second mortgage, or worse…find ourselves homeless.
It is important to take advantage of all of the programs possible. Remember, when we were “healthy”, we were working, paying into those programs. Sign your children up for the reduced/free lunches at school if you qualify, apply for food stamps, seek out other possible assistance programs you may qualify for…this is not easy, I know. It requires a change in our mindset…to see these programs as an opportunity to receive some assistance during a rough spell. You may qualify for just a few…or you may qualify for all. Allow yourself to embrace this opportunity for some relief.
We put on a brave face for our children, our families, our friends. Yet this stress is one that we have little to no control over. It can increase our symptoms, resulting in Fibro Flares, IBS flares, bacterial infections, additional illnesses…causing us to go into a serious health spiral…as if we are not all ready dealing with enough!
Take time for yourself. Nap if you need to…find ways to relieve your stress. I use writing as my stress relief…I also spend much time praying and reading scripture. (Reading as best as one can with the Fibro Fog that is so variable…from a thin fog to a heavy veil.) I take advantage of the view out my window. I find a silly science fiction movie to watch…or work a puzzle on my iPad…distractions that are a huge help!
This is a very difficult path we walk…yet…we are not alone! We can build each other up…through the many on-line communities, whether we choose illness/condition specific or more generalized chronic illness/pain sites. Remember you are not alone…even if you are primarily home bound like me.