A Success Story

Our Family Service clinician worked for two years with Mary, a 57-year-old woman with a neurological disease that was progressive and deteriorating. Mary’s loss of good health and independence angered and depressed her. She felt compelled to save her husband and adult children from worry by putting on a brave face. Self-employed for many years, Mary had enjoyed a successful profession in sales. Her charm, tact, and ability to engage customers and make sales were not affected. However, she could no longer travel, could work only 10-12 hours a week, and had difficulty organizing tasks and remembering what she needed to do. Our counselor and Mary worked together to put a plan in place to help Mary realize the inner strengths she still possessed and to restore Mary’s spirit and quality of life. Mary learned reminder techniques to keep herself on track with personal and business tasks. Our counselor helped Mary contact resources to supplement Mary’s own abilities (Social Security Disability financial assistance, an electric scooter, etc.). And she encouraged Mary to engage a partner to do some of the "leg work" involved in her job. Mary came to feel good about accepting help when she came to realize that many people feel good, rather than resentful, about helping. Mary began to communicate with her loved ones about how diffi-cult it was for her to deal with her disease and how fearful she was about the future, without worrying that they would distance themselves from her. With time, Mary came to overcome the grief she felt about the loss of the life she had known and came to value enjoying life with her family and each day’s accomplishments.