Some people may wonder why talking with family and friends or a qualified counsellor can be helpful when they develop a traumatic illness such as M.E. “This illness has happened, I didn’t ask for it and what’s the point in talking about it?” Yet the same people may feel it appropriate to talk about their feelings, thoughts and behaviour when they suffer a bereavement, have a relationship difficulty or depression.
M.E. can feel like a bereavement when it’s no longer possible to do the things you used to do. Depression can result from the disabling nature of the illness, the frustration and isolation; this can be exacerbated when others do not understand M.E. It is important to try to acknowledge the anger which can be present, although for most of us this is very difficult; feeling guilty or ashamed of having what are perceived as negative feelings will lead to an increase in emotional suffering.
Of course not everyone who has ME will either want or need to talk to a counsellor. However, counselling can be a positive choice. It can provide support, help change the relationship between someone and their illness and allow for an exploration and understanding of all feelings and thoughts.
Wendy Meniru, Psychotherapist and Counsellor.