Friday, April 1, 2011

If I Push Myself Until I Collapse, Is It Then Okay For Me To Be Sick?

I often feel this is the only time I get recognition and approval, respect that I am actually not just another person in the room of normal health. Suddenly, protest after protest ignored, the true nature of the Fibromyalgia beast shows its face on my face and all those demanding and self-absorbed people sweetly morph into concerned citizens wanting to know what they can do to help? LET ME GO WHEN I TELL YOU I NEED TO GO! I want to scream. BELIEVE ME, DON'T GUILT TRIP ME, WHEN I TELL YOU SOMETHING IS SIMPLY TOO MUCH! But I am to wiped to do much more than give a feeble smile, push myself into my automobile and get the hell out of there as fast as I can! I know many of my Fibro friends are givers, people pleasers, and don't take into account when making plans the reality of how difficult a situation can become once we are absorbed in it. That is something that is learned over time. Something that comes with the "management" of Fibro. I spent years crashing and burning after overdoing it, pissed off and resentful of both myself and those that demanded of me.

I still learn this lesson frequently, for I am stubborn and want to do it all. Fibromyalgia is much more prevalent in my life since my strokes last summer. Yet I still expect the same level of productivity from myself. And 6 months high on Predinsone's illusion of false energy did not help my mental comprehension of my diminished capacity. Now I sleep more, move slower, do less, crash harder and have much more pain than I did before last July. I really had my Fibromyalgia in a decent place. I had figured out my life passion, through this unpublished and unadvertised blog, surprisingly enough. I was making appointments to evaluate transcripts and applying for financial aid to obtain my Graduate degree in English Literature. I wanted to be a writer and craved a foundation in the classics. I had gone back to community college and taken Spanish and discovered my brain was capable of learning new information and retaining it! That opened doors and windows of possibility for me. 

But this was MY plan, not my life's destiny. For when those strokes hit and interrupted all my ambitions, the fear and anxiety of discovering what had happened stopped me cold. No, I did not have a brain tumor. No, I did not have an aneurysm ready to burst. But strokes? I was 33 years old. How had this happened? Yet I walked away from this more confident and sure of myself than I had ever been. For at some point during that hospital stay I laid down my life in surrender to my higher power, my God. I stopped making decisions for myself and let my life flow with the possibility of fulfilling the purpose of my creation. What has ensued is SO MUCH MORE than I could have ever imagined. And as the pain, anguish, anger, fear, anxiety, disappointment and guilt poured out of me and onto my computer screen, people started to identify with me. They started to pay attention. They began to rally around and wait for what I had to say. For in ripping my life wide open for all to see, exposing incredible vulnerability, others were able to identify with me. And look where we are now. And we are just getting started! So my dear friends, I give this advice to both you and me. When it gets to be too much, stop, assess if you are pushing yourself beyond your capacity, and if you are call it quits. Others may call you selfish, uncaring, self-obsessed and my favorite, you don't want to get better. Let 'em. Its your life, its short, its fraught with pain and guilt and frustration for most of us. But where you can, glean moments of clarity and control. You will be much happier with yourself and much less resentful of those around you. At least I think so, now all I have to do is actually do it.

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  1. Again with the tears! :) Good tears because you are so absolutely right. I'm learning this day by day and reading your blog, having these friendships you've helped funnel is life-changing in ways I cannot even express with our mere language, so instead I say BRAVO and thank you. <3

  2. Leah- I really admire what you are doing. You speak for all of us in one way or another. Thank you for your support. I can get on your site and know I have friends who understand even if we have never truly met. My last big crash was as a result of a fall on ice three years ago. Two hip replacements and several injections for coccyx pain and I am not back to where I was. Do not know if I ever will be but as you said life is not necessarily what we plan it to be. It can still be quite good much of the time. Marilyn

  3. Well put. I identify with what you just said; and I work on not letting others make me feel guilty when I just plain CAN'T do something because I am wiped out (though I still have to work on not feeling guilty myself, without anyone's else's help!). :)

  4. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! I am sitting at work right now feeling so overwhelmed and have been this way all week! Yet I have made it here everyday! Now its Friday and I will spend the weekend in bed trying to re-coop. My children won't get a mom who can do anything because I gave all I had to this place that puts food on our table. All I wanted to do this week was crawl in a hole and sleep. I am in so much pain and feel like everyone just figures I will just push through so I make myself causing great harm to myself not only physically but mentally. I have made numerous trips to the bathroom to just cry!

    It's time to go home!

  5. Aside from the obvious, I think, the next biggest challenge is actually stopping whatever it is you're doing to take care of yourself because of all the guilt we feel for not being able to keep up. Guilt, what a useless emotion, complete waste of time and destructive energy force, whether it's self-imposed or brought on by others. Now, if we could just rid ourselves of it, we'd be home-free. Well, not really ... but it would sure would be nice.

  6. Leah you are Beautiful on the outside and inside! I love your blog :) I hope your having a good day. And I hope everyone has better days. {{{{HUGS}}}} to all of you! XO Mary Deforge