Monday, January 14, 2013

Fight And Flight

I've spent a lot of time reflecting on my Fibromyalgia journey lately. Obtaining a managed level of symptoms is no easy task, but I was actually doing well enough for long enough to gain some of that precious perspective called hindsight. The separation between super sick me and moderately managed me was large enough to gaze with startling clarity through the thickly webbed stills of history and see all it took to get me here. Each choice I made on a journey I didn't believe had choices when I was living it. The tremendous dose of a horrible reality I nursed on daily as I navigated my way through endless attempts to overcome this beast of burden. And the soaring joy I couldn't contain as my pain became managed and life became livable again. 

What jumps out the loudest is how many layers there are. Because for each triumph there was a thorn ripping my side apart. For every excruciating flare a day when the torture finally ended. Every heartache a win and achievement a price. But the biggest question I keep asking myself, reverberating around my cranial cavity day after day, is how do you accept and fight against something at the same time? We were designed with a flight or fight reflex. Fight or flight, not and, right? But had I abandoned either objective I don't believe I would've been successful in my venture. One simply cannot accept the hell of unmanaged Fibromyalgia as life forever, not if we want to get any better. Conversely one cannot even begin to address the underlying environmental and lifestyle breakdown exacerbating this illness if we don't stop fighting and accept it, and then learn how to live with it. 

Good vs. evil, yin vs. yang, success vs. failure. Time and culture are ripe with philosophies striving to balance oppositional forces. We chronic illness patients are not unique to this struggle. In fact it seems to be a theme richly intertwined with the human plight. I finally realized the way to not let the totality of my objective obliterate me was to utilize time. There is a time to lie down, and a time to rise up. A time to take a deep breath, and a time to let out a loud yell. Often these aren't choices but boil down to the necessity of survival. Breaking time into tiny capsules, even though I was often only able to deal with one at a time, gave me a holding place for the rest of my burden. I couldn't carry everything at once, and when I finally stopped expecting myself to, realized I'd gotten much further than I ever thought I could. 

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. 
A time to be born and a time to die... 
a time to weep and a time to laugh, 
a time to mourn and a time to dance, 
a time to search and a time to give up... 
a time to tear and a time to mend... 
a time to love and a time to hate, 
a time for war and a time for peace.
~Ecclesiastes 3:1,2,4,6,7,8

Thanks for joining,


  1. Thank you again Leah. I like your thoughts on managing your time(s). It makes sense to me. I know I spend way too much time worrying about all things I should be doing, if only I felt better. I am hoping some day I can get to a managing/functioning level such as yours and reclaim some of my life back!

  2. I really enjoy your blogs, and this one especially is so true. Each day is so different with fibromyalgia...sometimes each hour; and because of that, we just have to deal with it the best we can on any given day. Thanks for all your blogs! They encourage me.

    I started a blog on fibro if you want to read it. I'm new to blogging but I think the blogging has been another way to deal with the fibromyalgia on an emotional level. My blog address is:

  3. Leah, I appreciate your blog. I've had the symptoms of fibro for @ 30 plus years. The symptoms were milder for about half the time, except for the TMJ that I have. (And TMJ ended my career in music.) But, around 15 years ago I developed mononucleosis, and that was the end. I went from having about 80% of energy as a regular person, to about 15%. YIkes! Plus the pain worsened and I had it in my whole body all the time. I have done numerous things over the years. Now I take Flexeril and it helps. However, I'm trying pain management and may be getting a shot that will greatly reduce my pain for 6 months.

    I'm NOT bitter at all about my health. But, BUT watching my younger son get ALL of these symptoms at the age of 13...THAT makes me hurt. He got it sooner and worse than I had. I will be getting him to pain management too soon. I also found out I am related to people on both sides of my family who have it...definitely a genetic component!

    God bless you as you keep showing people the truth about fibro.