Celeste Cooper answered:
First, if you are willing to be supportive, bravo!
Managing stress in any situation is difficult, that is why we talk about crisis management in our book. Here are a few tips.
- Remember you are a team. Try to work together and remember, your FM partner and you are grieving a loss. There will be days when nothing seems to help, understand that is the unpredictability of FM. Acceptance of the disorder is key for both of you.
- Help him/her focus of the doable. It is important to have support, but equally important is maintain self-esteem. There are ways your partner can contribute and when he/she isn’t encouraged to do this, they can develop feelings of isolation. Don’t do for your partner what they can do for themselves. It might take them longer, for various reasons, but we all need to feel we are making a contribution. It might help for you and your partner to sit down and make a list of what they can do. Just being there to listen is important, you have needs too.
- Things take time. As my co-author, PhD in psychology has said on numerous occasions, “The Grand Canyon started as a run-off problem.” Learning to deal with FM, the common occurrences of other conditions and the primary symptoms is a process.
- Learn what you can about FM and join support groups. The internet is full of them and you might find one local to you.
- Help your partner understand that seeing a therapist does not mean it is all in his/her head. A therapist that specializes in treating people with chronic pain disorders can offer many treatments, such as biofeedback, hypnosis, meditation, and more to help manage the stress of chronic illness. Your participation in this might prove helpful too, if your partner wants you there. If not, don’t take it personally. My co-author started out as my therapist, and helped me understand I am more than my illness, and there are still ways that I can make a contribution, such as what I am doing right now.
All blogs, posts and answers are based on the work in Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myofascial Pain: The Mind-Body Connection by Celeste Cooper, RN, and Jeff Miller, PhD. 2010, Vermont: Healing Arts pressFind out more about this book: Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myofa...First, if you are willing to be supportive, bravo! Managing stress in any situation is difficult, that is why we talk about crisis management in our book. Here are a few tips. Remember you are a team. Try to work together and remember, your FM... More