Friday, November 12, 2010

The Many Hats We Wear

As human beings living in today's complex and competitive world we are asked to wear many hats. We are asked to achieve and produce and accomplish constant output and productivity. As healthy normal people this is exhaustive. As Fibromyalgia patients this is what takes us down. I am sitting here feeling a bit bewildered with the sheer variety, cross section of responsibility I carry. I look at the dogs and they need a bath and did not get their walk this morning because I simply did NOT want to get out of bed. I did take them out, don't think I am that terrible, but not their full 30 minutes of exercise, so as puppy mom I must take them to the park. I look at the stack of bills I need to shuffle around and try to pay as the CPA. I look at the carpet that needs vacuuming and furniture that needs dusting and bed that needs to be made as the housewife. I look at the roast that needs to be prepped for the crock-pot and empty refrigerator that needs to be filled and dishes that need to be done as the chef. I look at the marriage that needs to be romanced and cared for and husband that needs to be tended to as the wife. I look at the business plan that needs to be written and grants that need to be applied for, t-shirts that need to be made and The Fibromyalgia Crusade that needs to be propelled forward as a businesswoman, no longer content to be someone else's employee. I look at the blog that needs to be written (ha ha) and The Fun House that needs to be nurtured as a Fibromyalgia activist. I look at the yoga I need to practice daily to keep my pain at bay and supplements and prescriptions that need to be ordered and organized as the patient. I look at the nails that need to be painted and hair that needs to be colored and makeup that needs to be put on as a woman. I look at the doctor appointments that need to be made and various correspondence that needs to be maintained as household manager. I look at the family and friends I need to commune with as the daughter and sister and friend. Then there is the simple fact that I am a person that needs to laugh and have fun and not always have to be "on". And I don't even have kids or own my home, and know those are an entirely deep and complex set of responsibilities in and of themselves. Okay back to bed I go!

But seriously folks, we ask a lot of ourselves. Each day I see us struggle to "keep that Lilac" while still accomplishing something, doing the bare minimum to maintain some standard of life, hold together some semblance of normal we so desperately need to not feel completely destroyed by this illness. It is a very hard balance to strike! A constant battle just to meet the bare minimum and not lose all control of the life we have worked so hard to create for ourselves. Learning how to pace oneself is akin to earning a bachelors degree, so much work is involved, the learning curve huge! Life itself is a push-pull of balance, yin and yang. Now throw in an ill-understood illness with limited treatment options and a vague point of origin that some are actually faulted by their doctor, friends and family for having and I have no idea how we get up each day and face life! But we do. Day in and day out we keep trying, struggling, striving for our own betterment and that of those we love. I have yet to meet a stronger group than those imprisoned by the invisible illness of Fibromyalgia.

As horrible as Fibromyalgia is, as much as it has screwed up my life and taken me off the course I was on, it has also blessed me in some very strange ways. I had to stop living life at top-speed, maximum output, and learn how to sit down for a while and think. I had to get to know myself in a deep and intimate way that I had been running from my entire life. I had to learn how to forgive others in order to move forward. I had to show generosity and humility and grace and strength that I did not know I possessed as part of the healing process. I had to surrender control and learn how to rely on others and not feel guilty, not feel bad about myself because of it (still really struggling with that one). I also had to learn now to be a nice person to be around even though I was in insurmountable pain. That was a hard one. I sure have had to turn my point of view into a "platinum lining" in the clouds kind of attitude. And I see so many of you struggling with and accomplishing the same things. I see the tussle, the similarity we all face. I see the many hats each of you pile on your head and try to balance. And I am so proud of you, each person with Fibromyalgia reading this. You have sought out a way to understand your illness. You have searched for a way to not feel so alone. You have found a place where you are not the "odd man out". Thank you for the blessings each of you have given me! I have found tremendous strength in your presence, just knowing I am not alone...and you are not either.

Thanks for joining,


  1. You have a real talent for words my friend!

  2. Leah, I must say "BRAVO"! You have described in an excellent way what I am sure most of us feel and would like to express.There was a sentence that really spoke to me personally that gave me some clarity about myself. It was when you said"I had to get to know myself in a deep and intimate way that I had been running from my entire life."I totally understand and can relate. Thank you for giving me some clarity and meaning of this painful life,that I can understand now and I am able to make lemon aid out of these lemons in my life and for knowing I am not alone in my struggles. You are an absolute Blessing.