Friday, February 8, 2013

Fibromyalgia: Life Changing, Not Life Stopping

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...
When life left me a single mother of two children under two, still in college, and struggling to make ends meet I didn’t bat an eye.  I rose to the challenge and pressed on as best as I could, sleeping sometimes only 3 or 4 hours a night.  It was hard.  I wanted to give up a thousand times.  And I many times questioned whether I was really meant to finish college.  But in the end, I made it through because I constantly reminded myself that sometimes sacrifices need to be made now to have the life we want for our families later.

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.


  1. Hang in there, and keep on writing. You're a great inspiration for others going through the same thing!

  2. I don't have fibro, but I do feel your pain. Press on, sistah!

  3. It sounds like you have the right attitude and know how to live with fibromyalgia.

  4. Congrats, maybe God's plan for you all along was to write and inspire others who are going through what you are.