1) It will not kill me, no matter how badly I want it to
2) It will take everything from me if I let it
3) There is a significant amount of self-pity, fear & depression I had to go through to begin to see clearly
4) This is absolutely something the 5 Stages of Grief applied to, but my order was a bit different:
- DENIAL- Doctor after doctor telling me there is nothing wrong with me and it's all in my head, and part of me believing them because this makes absolutely no sense.
- BARGAINING- With myself to just get over it already! And with those I love, work with & am friends with to understand what is happening is indeed real.
- DEPRESSION- Because this is real and I am no longer functioning like a normal person. The guilt, anger, frustration, panic, sorrow, anguish and pure unbearable pain take over. If that's not depressing I don't know what is.
- ACCEPTANCE- This is real, this is happening to me, and I have to do something about it. No doctor or drug or treatment will wave its magic wand and take it away. For whatever reason this is the course my life has taken and I can lay down and take it or fight to see another day.
- ANGER- (by far my most favorite) GO TO HELL FIBROMYALGIA! You have stripped me bare, destroyed my life, my light, my laughter, my security, my relationships and I am not giving you any more of me. So if it is the last thing I do on God's green earth I will get something close to a quality of life back...
And that is when it really got interesting. Without the fight, without the anger, I do not believe I ever would have recovered to the point of "managed". I could not comprehend how at the age of 28 the rest of my life was going to be spent a disabled invalid. But how does a person that is in so much pain find fight? How does someone who has been broken down, beaten and pulverized into mush re-construct their mental fortitude enough to insist on repairing their broken body, soul and psyche? Getting Fibromyalgia managed was without a doubt the hardest thing I have ever gone through in my entire life. The disease itself is bad enough, but the doubt and lack of compassion from the world at large creeps deep into the heart of a person and inflicts wounds so broad and scaring they are darn near impossible to recover from. As a person looses their ability to work and support themselves, parent their children, engage with their significant other, maintain friendships, perform basic duties (like showering and making the bed), participate in a social life, laugh, play or love, the despair and hopelessness can swallow you whole!
There were people who criticized me harshly for stepping outside the confines of modern medicine and embracing a holistic approach. Those same people would be sitting here doubting the validity of my illness today if I were still that crumbling, quivering, unable to function mess of a woman. But I am not. I charted my own course, forged ahead, learned how to stop giving a rats-woo-ha about what anyone else thought. I ceased to look for acceptance and approval where none was to be found and clung to strength and hope I did not know I possessed. I grabbed my life, shook it silly, believed in myself and forged on to build a better tomorrow. I kept "interviewing" doctors until I found one that believed me and listened to me. I let the world know I was hurting, but working on making it better. Projected a life of confused sanity, not sloppy despair. My worst doctor appointments were the desperate ones. The ones where I went in crying, needing, forlorn for help, only to be dismissed and turned away. See they don't know what to do with us, we are messy and complicated. Our diseases are too new to their scientific realm so therefore are dismissed. But let me ask you one question. Will medicine or science ever progress or discover anything new? Of course it will! And one day we will be understood. Till then, do the best you can, love yourself and believe in a better tomorrow, for if you don't it will never come.
Thanks for joining,
This blog was originally published on 8/27/10.