As the New Year Begins, Let’s All Seek Out Our Support Networks

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by Lori Dunham |

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Not long ago, my family traveled to San Francisco to visit our son and his new wife. It was our first chance to travel since our daughter Grace was diagnosed with Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS). One of the highlights of the trip, after seeing our son and daughter-in-law, was taking a ferry under the Golden Gate Bridge. 

I was amazed at the massive structure and the engineering behind it. I learned that the bridge has anchors on both ends and two towers that are embedded into the seafloor. Nearly 80,000 miles of cable wire run from one end of the bridge to the other, helping to maintain its structural integrity. Although the bridge looks as if it is hanging in midair, when you look closely enough, you can see the sheer amount of support holding up the bridge. 

As we enter a new year with both new challenges and the continuing struggles of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not a surprise that many people are experiencing loneliness and depression. For those of us in the rare disease community, another year of dealing with continuing health issues may cause increased anxiety and depression.

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This is a great time to take stock of our own support networks and shore up any weaknesses. We all need our tribe. People who show up in times of crisis. Like the Golden Gate Bridge, we need those anchors that hold us up when the storms rage. We need people in our lives who are willing to be stretcher-bearers — those willing to carry us off the battlefield of life when we lie wounded and unable to move. Who are these people in your life?

Support networks for LEMS and more

If you find yourself unable to answer that question, know there are abundant resources available to provide support when we need it. Within the LEMS community, we have numerous avenues of support, including the Lambert-Eaton News Forums and Facebook groups where you can find help in new friends. 

Beyond that, there are multiple types of assistance available for those struggling with depression and anxiety. No one needs to face their struggles alone. People are ready and willing to help. This help comes in many different forms, from veteran assistance programs to religious-based programs such as GriefShare. There are support networks available for anyone seeking help. 

Miraculously, the Golden Gate Bridge held firm during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that hit San Francisco. The earthquake toppled major freeways, left parts of the city on fire, and destroyed a portion of the Bay Bridge. Yet, the Golden Gate Bridge was firmly anchored and supported through the storm. My hope for all members of the rare disease community this year is that we are supported just as strongly as the Golden Gate Bridge. 

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Note: Lambert-Eaton News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lambert-Eaton News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Lambert-Eaton myasthenia syndrome.

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