I am an uptight control freak. As much as I try to relax and let go that's just who I am. I spent years self-medicating it away, hoping I could dull the intense distraction of noticing every little thing that happens. Figuring maybe if I numbed myself enough I could find peace, but it didn't work. They say it's the type "A" personality who are prone to getting Fibromyalgia. The over-achievers, the doers, the perfectionists, the driven. I certainly fall into that category. I believe now if I'd listened to my body and not pushed through CFS/ME I would not have developed Fibromyalgia. But that's not how I was raised, isn't the society we live in and simply doesn't pay the bills! I see many of you out there doubted by those you love the most who have no grasp, no concept of what you are going through. They tell you to tough it out, get up off the couch and go live your life, exercise the pain away, go focus on something else, and it breaks my heart! I want to grab them by the shoulders and shake some sense into them. Fibromyalgia hurts so freakin' bad you really can't believe it unless you have it, and it's not just going to go away. It is real and until it's addressed it pounds the body relentlessly and soaks up every thought every minute of every hour of every day. It is a real physical condition that must be treated or will continue to get worse.
One of the hardest lessons learned throughout my journey with chronic illness was how to let go, be it simple house cleaning or complicated life isues. How to let stuff roll off my back, not internalize stress and anger and frustration because the consequence would be immediate and catastrophic to my mental and physical well being. I would get sick in a matter of minutes, feverish, sore throat, throbbing sinuses, aching body. There were many injustices that happened when I was too sick to fight I had to let go because the ramifications on my health were so severe. There was a car accident where a man ran a stop sign and plowed into us and then lied and said WE ran the stop sign. Oh that one was hard! There was the hospital bill I was paying down and with no warning whatsoever was sent to collections. Then there was my job, cutting my hours and squeezing me into a nighttime position after the years of profitable management I gave them. But I had to let that one go, too. There were others I had to consciously decide to release back into the universe and trust that everything works itself out in the end. I was one sick woman and simply couldn't take it on and recover from this illness at the same time.
Fibromyalgia has softened me. It has reduced my expectations and presumptions of life. It has taught me how to laugh at the absurdly painful and truly not sweat the small stuff. On my good days. It has taught me acceptance, acquiescence, compliance. Allowing what is to just be. In other words, taking that stuff that happens in life that ram-rods your spine straight against your back and sends shooting, radiating flashes of tension and stress right into your brain and letting it R-O-L-L off the slope of your curved vertabrae and drop into the ocean of I can't do anything about it. It's hard to get to that place, difficult to accept you cannot do what was once accomplished with ease. Extremely frustrating to not be able to fight for your rights because you just get sicker. But it is completely necessary as well. My parents are going through a divorce and on my last trip home I saw this same evolution transpire with my step-mother for entirely different reasons. I was worried about Yorkie's wet paw prints all over the hardwood floor and followed him nervously around on my hands and knees cleaning up each mark. It's what was expected of me back in the days of 'yore when I was growing up in that house. Well my step-mom, she too has come a long way, and told me to stop, she didn't care. Her exact words, "Who cares if the house is clean if there is no one here to share it with." By golly folks, I think she's got it!
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This blog was originally published on 9/29/10.