• Sophe Ward

Support When It Is All So Overwhelming

We all want to feel worthy, wanted and needed.

We all know that life is short and we want to make the most of every minute. We do. When you battle chronic illness it is a never-ending fight between living and dying. We want to live because we know how beautiful life can be, how loved we are and how much our place here matters. It is a once in a life-time experience we shouldn't give up on and we know this. We try to be positive, pull ourselves out of bed, make our day productive and be proactive but there are days when everything becomes truly overwhelming. We can't see the good in life, we question the years and even days ahead. We are allowed to have these days when we are just ANGRY, angry at life and to have a good cry. It is often difficult to pull ourselves out of the darkness and into the light.

Although negativity is bad for our health, souls and mind. Like any infection, we aren't immune to negativity. We can always endeavour to seek out the positives, spin the circumstances and make light of the dark but we can't vanish the feelings or the 'curse.' I call it the curse because that is how I see it. I HATE the days when I feel like I want to give up, I am fearful for the years ahead, daunted by declining health and the hurdles to come. I forget how far I have come, the cherish memories I have made, the successes, the inspiring people I have met, the laughs and so on.

Pain is like poison, it can change us as people, taint memories, play and re-wire the mind and take over our emotions. Like waves we have to learn the vital lesson of allowing pain to wash over us. We can't stop the flow, we have little control over the speed and strength of the waves but its how we rise from the water once it has passed that really matters.

This time of year is HARD. Not just for chronic illness sufferers but for everyone. The festive season is so stressful and the change in season to dark days and freezing temperatures affects everyone naturally. It is hard to get into the spirit and relax. I often feel guilty for not feeling joyful and happy when everyone around me seems to be. I forget the amount of prep, energy and strength it has taken me to prepare gifts, sort gifts, cards, events, socialising, work schedules, health and so on. The cold affects many chronic sufferer's health in a number of ways and this added extra on top, tips some people over the edge.

I think it is important if you are a sufferer ( like myself ) to try and be as organised as possible!

- sort gifts out

- wrap gifts

- plan events and get them in the dairy - so you can prepare and get your head around them

- ensure you have enough med's over the holiday period

- ensure you see people you want / need to see. Make energy requirements so you can enjoy your outings and visits

- organise food and festive events

- keep warm!!

- keep up doctors and hospital appointments to ensure your health keeps stable

- block time out for 'ME' time and do calming exercises like mindful colouring, baking etc.

If you care for someone suffering, be prepared for emotional outbreaks, notice health differences and act accordingly, be an ear and offer your support when needed.

When we are feeling low, everything OVERWHELMS us. Someone asking us to do a simple task and just be ONE STEP too far and instant panic sets in.

We must remember that life is and will never be plain sailing. We have to experience hardships and pain to grow stronger. Like they always say the storm passes.

YES, I admittedly do have days I want to give up on life but then I think about all the things I have on my bucket list, my goals, my loved ones and so on..

My Mum always says you are longer dead than alive and she is SO right. In everyway. We experience some really dark lows but life is precious and we can make it beautiful. We hold the pens which colour in the pictures and we have a choice whether to use dull, dark colours or bright, charming colours.

We can kick and scream, and sometimes it is a fabulous stress relief, but it won't solve underlying issues. We have to look beyond the storm and rain showers we are caught in and see the sun on the horizon. Don't waste time feeding negativity and sadness, the clock is ticking! Spend your time productively and in ways YOU ENJOY. This is YOUR life, so live it how you wish to and how you want to be remembered by. If I can be remembered as a positive role model, then all the plans that got de-railed, the tragedies and pain I went through won't matter. They will have all been worth it.

The hearts I have touched, the smiles I have created and the motivation I have given is what I live most for.

I am thankful for my storms, even if at the times I am angry. They have shaped me into the person I am today and I have to be grateful to those times for the strength, determination and motivation they have given me.

I may wear a smile but sometimes I really am an emotional train wreck. I think its very important to be honest and open about that. I am human.


If you are worried or concerned for a loved one, family member, friend or if you yourself need support because you are feeling deeply low. PLEASE, reach out for help. I will leave helplines, below.

Remember you are all loved dearly, so reach out to friends and family too. Sometimes just talking and realising you have that support goes such a long way and makes so much difference.

Don't get stuck in a cloudy, snow storm. Wrap yourself in tinsel, laugh with friends and make memories.

Sneaky tip; FREE GIFTS are the best, so if you are stuck in hospital and can't go out shopping or bedridden, you can still put MASSIVE smiles on people's faces and make their Christmas, simply by being YOU.


The Samaritans: Samaritans: Helpline: 116 123 (free of charge from a landline or mobile) Email jo@samaritans.org www.samaritans.org 24 hr helpline offering emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which may lead to suicide

Calm: 0800 585858, www.thecalmzone.net - Campaign Against Living Miserably Help and support for young men aged 15-35 on issues which include depression and suicide.

HopeLine UK – 0800 068 4141 – for practical advice on suicide prevention www.papyrus-uk.org

Useful websites:

  • www.cwmt.org In memory of Charlie Waller - awareness, information and resources for those who are depressed

  • http://www.healthtalk.org/ Others who have been bereaved by suicide share their experiences

  • www.olagola.org Day to day support service and crisis support to help reduce suicide, depression and other stress related illnesses to service users who are in need of emotional support and encouragement. Instant online support for any person who may be experiencing something in their life which they may be finding difficult to cope with. Also peer to peer support facilitated and monitored through facebook by trained admins where service users support each other through discussion, topics and open forums https://www.facebook.com/olagola

  • www.metanoia.org/suicide

  • www.theblackdog.net - Supportive site for men who suffer from depression and/or suicidal thoughts.

How can I help someone who is suicidal?

If someone tells you they are suicidal do not dismiss their feelings but take what you are being told seriously. If someone puts enough trust in you to confide his/her innermost feelings you really need to listen to what is being said.

A person contemplating suicide is often in enormous turmoil inside - perhaps at one moment wanting to die and the next to live. He/she needs to know that someone has listened to and heard their pain, that someone can recognise that he/she is in pain and hurting so try and empathise with the person and repeat back, acknowledge the pain and hurt they are in so the person knows you are trying to understand what they are feeling.

If the suicidal person gives you a reason for feeling this way don't dismiss it that it isn't serious enough to kill himself/herself over. The fact that the person is feeling suicidal means that in his/her mind it is serious enough to not want to live anymore.

Allow the person to talk openly about how they are feeling, how long they have been feeling this way, have they made a plan as to how they will commit suicide, what do they think will happen to them when they die, etc.

Try to encourage the person to seek professional help in order that they are giving someone the chance to explore with them what is happening for them and to see whether they can help the person to see alternatives to suicide.

Show the person you genuinely care - this can often be enough in itself to prevent the person from taking their life at that moment in time.

Remember that you can give a person caring, support, time, patience, empathy but that person may at some stage still make the choice to end their life. If you try to help someone who is suicidal and they take their life it is their responsibility and choice to do that. If someone is that determined and set on killing themselves there is not a lot anyone could do to prevent that and you must never take the guilt or blame on your shoulders. All you can do is do your best for that person but some people can have all the counselling, medical intervention, support from family, friends etc. but still make a choice to end their life.

If you are providing support to someone who is suicidal do not forget to get support for yourself as well.


FINALLY, remember you are NOT ALONE, we fight together and you are loved.



#chronicillness #Chronichealth #lymedisease #Support #Christmastime


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