Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What's The 911

Last week a silly timing coincidence and liberal use of an urgent phrase left me gasping for breath, certain the world was coming to an end and the walls were about to come tumbling down around me. On Thursday morning I woke up to multiple missed calls and text messages. An "ASAP I love you" from my dad, "ASAP I need your help" from my mom. Immediately I knew something grave had gone terribly wrong. My parents split when I was two and I am the only thing they've had in common for the last three decades. What on earth could've happened while I was sleeping that kicked off both their radar? What could two people who haven't seen each other in at least seven years both be privy to and urgent to contact me about, and using the exact same terminology, to boot? I grasped my throat and sucked in breath through a rapidly closing windpipe, that feeling of cold adrenaline washing through my core as terror surged through the haziness of having just woken up. I called my dad and waited, my heartbeat thumping in my ears, as he asked me about a future trip to visit him. Extremely confused, I sat raptly waiting to be told of some earth shattering debacle that would forever alter my reality. But there wasn't any. And when I called my mom she just needed a favor. I put down my phone and looked at Yorkie & Porkie, asking them what the hell just happened as all my energy, now unneeded and not used, drained from my limbs and into the gutter of an over-reactive stress response. I stumbled around for the rest of the day dazed, confused and utterly incapable of accomplishing one darned thing. Needless to say this entire experience was extremely annoying.

For the next few days I mulled over this exchange. Something significant had been shown to me, but I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. And then yesterday I figured it out. I'd tried to resume living normal life. Normal life is complicated, demanding, met with many expectations. There are endless numbers of people to let down, balls to drop and opportunities to fall short. Normal life does not respect sleep, solitude or peacefulness. And normal life most certainly does not provide a safe respite for Fibromyalgia, no matter how managed it may be. But everyone I know lives there, and I used to, too. It's familiar, the place I thought I needed to return in order to trump this nasty illness. The life I have focused all my efforts on getting back. But what happened on Thursday morning made me realize with stumbling clarity I can't live in that world anymore.

It's a viscous cycle. I work really hard to take care of myself and will start feeling a bit better. So I reach out to friends and family because, quite frankly, this small little box of isolation my life has become is counteractive to my outgoing personality. But with relationships comes reciprocity, give and take, the needs of others to consider. And that is where I fall short. I can be involved with happy upbeat folks with no problems and no needs that want to put in all the effort into the relationship, don't expect me to actually call them back and don't care if I disappear for weeks at a time in Fibro-flare or moody-writer mode. But I don't know any of those people, and if I did probably wouldn't like them because I'd think they were fake. So I try to take care of myself and be an equal participant in the comings and goings of the affairs of the healthy. And then undoubtedly something happens to knock me down and I retreat back into myself, unsure of what place I can honestly occupy in the land of the living. I don't have an answer here, but at least a better understanding of my reality and the stumbling blocks I encounter on the road to return to the land of my living.

Thanks for joining,


  1. Leah,
    You nailed it! I am new to FMS and trying valiantly to return to my "normal" life. You so eloquently stated things in my heart & brain. I would like to thank you for being so good with words. Take care of yourself the best you can.

  2. Leah,
    I recently lost my job due to FM(Dx for 6 years) among other illnesses(kidney disease, migraines, conversion disorder). Also, right before(@4 months)I was injured at work. I'm still recovering from the surgery needed to fix the injury. I worked at the same place for 14 years! I felt like I had close bonds with many of the people. Exchanged texts, phone calls, spent time in hospitals when they or their close family were ill. Now 5 months later I have come to realize how fake, bogus, and PLASTIC they all were! I have spoken to 2 people from there since I was released from my job. I have been going thru quite a bit of depression realizing how that place became my life. Now that its gone I'm left with 2 people who really care about me and put forth the same amount of effort into the friendship as I do. They check on me daily. Have visited me in the hospital. and are the most genuine people i have ever met. I don't even get that from my family!! So this posting is just really hitting home with me and bringing on the tears for the things I've lost and for the people I allowed to consume my life without giving anything back.


  3. Hi Leah. Yep, I am with you on this one.

    For me, finding a new normal meant redefining what I want and what I can handle. No, I don't like that I have fibromyalgia and chronic myofascial pain- but I NEED a pace of life that won't kill me slowly.

    Part of my new normal is having to do things on my terms (based upon my body's shenanigans), as you mentioned. There is no shame in that, it's just a necessity.

    Yes, it is very difficult to try and maintain friendships when this is part of your deal. But- I am finding that what Poo Bear said is so true "those who mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind".

    Having an online connection with other who just get this has made all the difference in my world. I don't feel so isolated, and when I am in full flare and hermit mode I still can find connection and others who can relate.

    Be easy on yourself. Give yourself permission to have needs and work at honouring them- this is the hard part of creating a new normal.

    I am thinking of you, and will keep on sharing your journey. Many of us share this road...It's a good one, but takes a lot of figuring out.

    -Jazz @ http://fightinthefibro.blogspot.ca/

  4. Hi Leah! I came home in tears today feeling so alone after playing tennis. Its something I love doing and I only play once a week on a Friday. My fibro is really bad though and today I left early and could barely play. I have so far just refused to give up because its so good for me emotionally. I agree with fibrofacialgal, blogging has given me the connection with people who understand how I feel. I came home and looked at your blog and I am feeling better! So thanks everyone for the support!!