One the most difficult aspects of having a chronic illness like fibromyalgia is the realization that I can’t do it all. Almost 10 years ago, I was fresh out of high school. I didn’t have everything figured out, but my optimism was high and my dreams even higher. There was so much I wanted to do with my life, and I was confident that with time and hard work, just about anything was possible.
|Like the butterfly our lives are full of mysterious change...|
Now, though, fibromyalgia has taught me all too well how fragile and limited a person actually can be. At first, I raged and fought against the chains fibromyalgia had placed on my life. I was furious and ashamed of what I was reduced to because of an invisible, cowardly condition. I was angry with God. How could he punish me like this? Didn’t I already have my share of problems already? If he is so good and loving, how could he put me through such suffering and pain?
And then I become enraged with myself. What had I done to deserve this? Why hadn’t I taken better care of my health? Why couldn’t I struggle harder and beat this thing? What was to become of my life now that I was nothing?
I went from being an honors student all my life to becoming a graduate school flunky. Once I prided myself in being a hard worker, always giving 100%, but I was reduced to a pathetic being that could hardly get out of bed. Except for my children, I felt like I no longer had any purpose in living. And I lied awake many a night begging and pleading to God for help because I knew I couldn’t possibly support my kids broken and shattered like this!
Years later, I thank God that I’m no longer in that dark place. No, I don’t have the life I had before back. I’m still in pain every day and must deal with intense fatigue and a multitude of other symptoms on a regular basis. What has changed is my attitude towards my fibromyalgia.
No matter how difficult my symptoms may get, I have vowed to NEVER give up! We only have a single life to live, and it is a precious gift. We can’t control what unfair hardships and struggles life hands out, but we CAN control how we handle those situations. When life knocks me down I get right up and push back harder! My fibromyalgia might set me back for a day, but I refuse to let it hold me back forever.
No longer do I reach for impossible dreams laying somewhere in the distance. Instead, I hold on to the here and now—whether it be today, this hour, or even this very second—and try to make the most of it. I still have some my life dreams, but I’ve had to become more realistic and a lot more creative.
If my fibromyalgia doesn’t improve anymore, I know a traditional job is out for me. However, my little hiatus has allowed me to rediscover my first love: writing. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, I had forgotten how happy and relaxed writing makes me feel. Part of me thrives only when I put my thoughts, feelings, and ideas down on paper. If I don’t write regularly, I just feel off balance and out of whack. Ultimately, I’m not myself when I’m not writing. So, in a sense, in the midst of this health crisis, I have re-discovered my true self…and that part feels amazing!
Yes, I get discouraged and wish I had my healthy self back. Yes, I have bad days when I’m stuck in bed and don’t get a single productive thing done all day. But I’ve come to realize that I will never truly lose my life to fibromyalgia as long as I pick my priorities carefully, regroup, and come back fighting another day.