Just as the person with M.E or FM has to come to terms with their illness and limitations, so has the carer who also has to face their own limitations and learn how to cope. M.E or FM is one of the hardest illnesses there is to cope with, both for the sufferer and carer.
M.E or FM is a difficult and variable illness, therefore the problems you will face as a carer and the help and support you will need will also vary and be different for each carer. Caring is not just about giving physical help, it also involves emotional support and encouragement.
You as a Carer
A carer is someone who without payment, gives help and support to a partner, child, relative, friend, neighbour who could not manage without their help.
Taking on the role of carer can mean facing:
* loss of freedom and choice
* financial difficulties
All these things may leave you feeling as if your life is going to change forever. You may also find that your relationship with the person you are caring for has changed which can be difficult to come to terms with.
It will really help if you can try to:
* Keep your own personal networks going and take time out to enjoy them
* ask for help when you need it
* take each day as it comes - good or bad
* look locally for help &support services, such as support groups, social services & carers groups
* try to stay positive
The help and support available from local groups and services will mean you will be able to get or have access to:
* practical information and advice about services you might be entitled to
* emotional support
* a voice for your concerns
* training, education and up to date news on issues
* activities to maintain your health
* details of local groups or centres
It will also help if you can understand M.E or FM and how a person with the condition may be feeling. There is plenty if information readily available, including information on this site or just click on "useful links" on the home page.
The unknown future - The strain of not knowing how long the illness will last or when there will be some improvement or even knowing how much it will vary each day will be extremely difficult some days, so it really will help you by talking to other carers. You can share your feelings with them and exchange coping strategies. It will also help you to realise that you are not alone in this situation. Visiting your local support group will help you do this.
Finally - please remember to talk to each other and listen to each other. If each of you can say what you need and explain your difficulties in giving or accepting help - calmly and clearly - this will help you both. Remember too that although life can be difficult and different, there can still be happiness, sharing and laughter between you both