This is part 2 of a 2 part article. Part 1 is here: Carrying Super Rachel – The Logistics of When Your Wife Is Chronically Ill
It’s tough to live your life with a chronic illness. Even with the best attitude and support system, you have bad days where you think futile thoughts. “I should be able to do this. . . anybody my age should!” When you can’t walk yourself across the room, it’s easy to become depressed.
Here are some of the ways I help my wife combat this mentality:
- I reinforce that she’s definitely worth something–in face, everything–to me.
- We both are an active part of our support group, the Texas Association for Dysautonomia Awareness.
- I encourage her to participate in things she can find joy in and so that she can stay mentally active and feeling useful while she’s at home. These include things like sewing projects, embroidering, and updating her web site. We laugh and make jokes. You must have a sense of humor.
- We make family time a priority, not just with each other, but with extended family too.
- We make time for friendships and reach out to others. We want to be able to offer assistance and help others whenever we can.
- She sees her illness as part of her ministry. With that said, if she becomes too inwardly focused, she is not “doing her part.”
Here are some ways we stay spiritually in touch:
- If you can’t get out of the house (or walk to the other side of it), it’s hard to feel like an important member of the body of Christ. We try to make sure Rachel maintains her relationship with Jesus and the rest of the church.
- We regularly attend church (this is a must since I’m the youth pastor!)
- Sometimes, when Rachel feels really bad, I let her skip church–or rather, if she is feeling really poorly, I “make her” skip church, (ie. I don’t make her feel guilty for taking care of herself.)
- We keep sermon podcasts from our favorite preachers on her iPod.
- We try to have a daily “Family Worship Time,” where we read some scripture, pray, and sing together.
Why do I do all of this? She is my wife, but more than that, she is my superhero. . . and I love her.
Matt Horne is the wife of Rachel, who lives with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and fibromyalgia, among other conditions. They have been married since December 2006 and Rachel is currently pregnant with her first child. Matt is the youth pastor at the First Baptist Church Hebron in Carrollton, Texas. You can visit his web site at http://www.matthorne.info .