Nothing has made me sadder on my support group site than hearing about suffering from young people. I am thankful that I had so many years of freedom from chronic irritation and pain that currently rules my life.
A young girl in her early 20’s from the Netherlands (I’ll call her “H”) wrote these posts on the support group site:
H: How can you cope with the psychological results of horrible dry eyes? Even though my eyes don’t itch or burn terribly, I can’t focus on anything. I never feel myself, or ever good and healthy. I did some depression tests they all turned out that I might have severe depression and I must consult for help. I can’t use an antidepressant because of their side effects. I always think about my problems and get ill and shout at my family members because of fatigue and the mess in my head. I am emotionally destroyed. I live with my family, but they don’t support me. They even don’t understand me. I feel lonely, too.
This young girl’s post struck a chord with many of the other support group members. Many people offered support and suggestions.
L: Very sorry. Nobody gets it. I just want to crawl into bed. But mindfulness does help. We will find answers.
Judy: It is a tragedy that you are so young and suffering. This dry eye disease simply sucks! I’m so sorry! When this all started, I wished that a doctor would “rescue” me. How disappointed I was. Instead, I realized that I must rescue myself. Mindfulness is a perfect word.
L: I learned the 4 ” A’s”: ACKNOWLEDGE that the dry eye is a painful issue and very real. ALLOW that it isn’t great, that I am not pleased with it and it pretty much sucks…ACCEPT that I was dealt this hand in life…and ADAPT!!
How can I be as proactive as possible to make the best possible outcome from this…that I cannot wear makeup any more ( and was a make-up artist!?)…that maybe I have to find another source of income…that I can just ” be” with the sensation and not ” snowball” or catastrophize what WILL happen…a new ” normal”…and that through meditation I can control my pain levels. It took a long time…but there is a type of peace.
Unfortunately, too many doctors are simply ignorant of this very disabling and complex disease. Adapting is key.
Judy: “L,” I love what you wrote. That is so true – it actually applies to grief and this condition has been a grief process for me. I lost a child many years ago, so I know what it means to struggle for acceptance and adaptation. Here are some other “A” words that came into my mind. ALONE – Dry eyes have isolated me and this group keeps me from feeling alone with it. AGONY – the feeling that I can’t take it any longer and discouragement about living this way. ASTRONOMICAL – what this condition can cost over time. But your 4 “A’s” are a beautiful and upbeat way to turn it around.
I wish I could help you more, “H.” I know you suffer greatly, as many people on the site do. It is a horrible condition to live with.
H: Yes, it is horrible. I am so depressed now. Nothing or no one can help me.
Judy: It seems like everyone has to find their own personal remedy to help their eyes. Two things that have helped me with depression and my eyes are: taking a walk, swimming and music. Don’t give up! Find your motivation to search for something that will help you. It is resting at the moment because it is very hard to fight all the time. But I know you will get it back. And when you do, you will find relief somehow somewhere.
It’s that way for all of us.
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