Helping women with chronic illnesses

The Importance Of Support: Lean On Me

Fifteen years ago today, my husband and I went on our first date.

This song played on the radio that night:

Lean On Me ~ Bill Withers

Here is a site with some more information about this song:

Anyone with chronic illness values the importance of having someone to lean on. Whether it is having someone to lean on physically, emotionally, or both… it is very important for all people to have support from others. This is especially true when chronic illness and pain are part of the picture.

Whether or not you have a spouse, partner, or significant other isn’t as important as whether you have people you can count on, people you trust, and people who love and support you. So whatever your personal situation, those friends and loved ones who support you really help with navigating the especially rough patches. As the song says, “we all need somebody to lean on”.

Thank you, Hubby, for your love and support! I know it hasn’t always been easy!

I love you!

This post was written by Jeanne at Copyright Β© Jeanne β€” All rights reserved.

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Reading: The Importance Of Support: Lean On Me


1 AnnieNo Gravatar { 03.09.11 at 12:05 am }

Congrats on helping each other through 15 years together, especially since there have been a lot of tough times along the way – that’s REAL love. Here’s to many more happy (and as healthy as possible!) years!

2 JeanneNo Gravatar { 03.09.11 at 12:42 am }


Thank you! We have certainly had some very rough times. When we said “in sickness and in health”, we really meant it! Little did we know then how many additional illnesses I would develop and be diagnosed with subsequent to getting married!! I am very fortunate to have Hubby. πŸ˜‰


3 LeighNo Gravatar { 03.09.11 at 10:21 am }

Hi Jeanne,

Yup, it is important. As a single woman, with no partner, no family, and whose close friends left the city years ago, I am quite isolated, and frankly, suffer more from that than the illness even. There are days when I can barely function, and it would be so nice to have a hug, or a familiar voice to connect to.
It’s very hard to find support when ill. Our society doesn’t like people with problems, and a person with CFIDS has so many problems, its not funny. Add to that the fact that many people cannot understand the illness, and finding support is nigh impossible.
I hope and pray one day to find somebody willing to share their life with me, or maybe some people willing to share a meal with me, come over regularly for a cup of tea. It is daunting facing each day by oneself.
Count your blessings, as you seem to do.


4 JeanneNo Gravatar { 03.09.11 at 12:57 pm }

Welcome Leigh!

Thank you very much for for your feedback. I am really sorry you are feeling isolated. πŸ™

Many of my chronically ill online friends are living in situations where they are feeling isolation such as you described. I’ve had many conversations with online friends in various locations around the world about how very difficult it is when in-person support is simply not available. While distance support is not interchangeable for in-person support, I have seen many situations where mutual support between patients (even when it’s strictly online) can have a powerful, supportive, meaningful impact.

I don’t pretend to know what it feels like to be in your shoes because I’m not in them. The only person who knows your experience is you. There are many other chronically ill patients I interact with online who are living in isolated conditions of various degrees. I know because I talk with many of them regularly. You are right that our society doesn’t provide anywhere near the level of the support that is needed by so many patients. This needs to change.

I appreciate you taking the time and effort to reach out and share your thoughts here. I attended support groups monthly from 1992 through 2008. The last 7 years of that I was a support group leader. (So I have met lots of patients online and off). I started writing a blog before the support group stopped meeting. So, I have been in regular support with fellow chronically ill patients since 1992 and it has made all the difference in the world for me!

Long before I met my husband, the mutual support I gained from finding support group members who understood my symptoms was invaluable. Not to take anything away from the value of the support I get from my husband but the support I get from fellow patients who have the same illnesses I do is just so, so valuable. Some of my online friends are very ill and housebound. Online support is crucial to them.

I’m sorry you are feeling isolated. I’m glad that you left a comment. I hope that you’ll find stopping by here a “safe place” when you feel like talking to other chronically ill patients. I just sent you an email with some information that might interest you – as far as getting connected with people with whom you may have things in common.

I know it’s daunting. I have regular conversations with online friends whose situations sound very similar to yours. Hang in there and please stop by if you need an ear! πŸ˜‰


5 Jannie FunsterNo Gravatar { 03.09.11 at 6:37 pm }

Ahhhhhhh, 15 years.

Whooooooo Hooooo.

I’m not always easy to live with but my guy sticks around too.

You are a nice person, Jeanne. That was a very kind comment to Leigh.


6 DarleneNo Gravatar { 03.09.11 at 7:40 pm }

I am always so happy to hear when someone with many chronic illnesses that are so painful, has the love and support of their significant other. To me, that is half of the battle. I am especially pleased that you and your hubby have a loving and supportive marriage. Sometimes when one partner becomes ill, the other partner feels it is not what they signed up for, forgetting the “in sickness and in health part of the wedding vow”. I spent many years in a marriage, basically by myself, dealing with a bunch of chronic pain illnesses. I know first hand how it feels to be isolated and have a feeling that I was all alone.

I totally agree with you Jeanne. It is life saving to have online friends, dealing with similar if not the same issues. There just is nothing, like talking to a girlfriend with I.C., endo, C.F.S. or many of the other things we have in common.

Again, it is so awesome that you have a partner that understands. I am sure that you have been there for him too, in any issue or crisis he has been going through.

Love ya,

7 JasmineNo Gravatar { 03.09.11 at 8:29 pm }

Congratulations on 15 years together. I’m so glad you have such a wonderful man in your life. I know his love, support and humor help you be your best online as well as offline.

May we never take our amazing partners for granted πŸ™‚

8 JeanneNo Gravatar { 03.11.11 at 2:57 am }


Woo hoo. I’m definitely not always easy to live with… I daresay my husband would acknowledge that he’s not either. πŸ˜‰

You ought to know all about being a nice person since you are so very nice yourself! xoxo


Support definitely makes a big difference. Well, we try. Trust me, we have our moments! πŸ˜‰ You’re right that sometimes people lose sight of the “in sickness and in health” vow. I’m sorry that you went through the feelings of being alone and of isolation and, as your situation demonstrates, marital status doesn’t necessarily equate to support! I’ve met many chronically ill women who are married but who do not get much (or any) support from their husbands.

Yes, mutual support with fellow patients is so valuable.

Back to my husband… Truthfully, he understands some of it. Some illnesses are more difficult to deal with than others. For example, my husband has very little sense of smell. So, when I have an MCS reaction to something that has a very strong, obvious odor to me… he is often mystified as to what the big deal is because he can’t feel a reaction or smell the toxic substance that is triggering a reaction. MCS probably causes as much tension as any (or almost any) of my other illnesses… because there are potential MCS exposures all day, every day no matter how careful one tries to be. Yes, I’ve been there for him too. I certainly don’t like to think of it as a one-way street. At the same time, I do appreciate the many things he does to be supportive.

Love ya back…


Thank you. I’m glad too. His love, support, and humor really do help me in a multitude of ways.

Exactly. I really try not to take him for granted. When he was flat on his back recently with a very bad flu and I was doing more than I usually do plus trying to care for him while he was ill, I got a reminder of how much support he gives me – by physically feeling how much more I would be doing if he were not doing it. I am grateful. I know your husband is a major support to you too. πŸ˜‰



9 mandNo Gravatar { 03.17.11 at 2:53 pm }

Not much of a comment, but this touches something very deep in me. I could say, not much of a comment because this touches something very deep.

I’ve only just read this because I’m not keeping up, and my network is (very nearly) all online, and part of my condition makes it both difficult and dangerous to be online too much.

It really helps to ‘eavesdrop’ on a conversation that contains such warmth as this comment thread! πŸ™‚

10 JeanneNo Gravatar { 03.17.11 at 6:39 pm }

Welcome mand!

I’m glad this post touched you and I fully understand that online time can be limited by various conditions. So, please don’t feel like you need to explain. There are no timetables here. πŸ˜‰

I just took a peek at your blog and it sounds like you’ve had your share of challenges. I’m sending positive energy your way!


11 mandNo Gravatar { 03.18.11 at 8:47 am }

Thanx so much, and to you too {{hugz}} πŸ™‚

12 JeanneNo Gravatar { 03.18.11 at 1:29 pm }


Lots of positive energy coming your way! πŸ˜‰


13 AmandaNo Gravatar { 03.21.11 at 11:52 am }

I am way, way behind on blog commenting, so sorry this is so late!

I think that the only way we ever get through chronic illnesses is knowing that there is somebody (whoever that somebody is) who will always be there for us, no matter what. It makes such a difference when, for the most part, the world around you expects you to carry on as normal… knowing that even just one person will never truly hold it against you (even if they do moan from time to time – nobody is perfect!)

For me, my mum and my husband have been the most instrumental in helping me deal with Endometriosis. But I have been blessed also with many friends, both in real life and in the blog world, who have listened and understood, even if they couldn’t really understand exactly what I was going through!

What a perfect post for Endometriosis Awareness xx

14 JeanneNo Gravatar { 03.21.11 at 8:36 pm }


No worries! No one is timing you. πŸ˜‰

Yes, having someone… anyone… online or off who really cares means so much. The best of support people moan and groan from time to time. Like you said, nobody’s perfect!

I’m glad that your mother and husband have been so helpful to you in dealing with endometriosis… and that you have had support from friends too.


15 Endometriosis Awareness Month: Recap — { 03.30.11 at 11:33 am }

[…] After that, I wrote about the importance of support here: The Importance Of Support: Lean On Me […]

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