I believe things happen for a reason. It might be a bad reason, not really thought completely through by the powers that be, or it may be a completely invisible one. But I do believe there is a reason for everything that happens in our lives. It's easy to believe that I got Fibromyalgia because life is unfair. I can be a victim and lay back in bed and cry away every day. I can wallow in my pain and let Life go on around me, watching and not participating
Or I can believe that I got Fibromyalgia for a reason. There were qualities and experiences in my life that I was lacking... that I never would have had if I hadn't gotten so sick. (If you have Fibromyalgia, you know the basic story of what we went through those first months/years. Someday I'll share the “how I got sick” story, but it's not really relevant to this one.)
When I hit a remission during my pregnancy, part of me hoped that I would be one of the few women that pregnancy cured. When the Fibro returned again about 6 weeks after giving birth, I had a major break down. This was NOT the way I wanted to be raising my son.
Desperation and depression drove me to begin utilizing the support groups on Facebook. I became extremely active in a particular group, and began to find friends that really understood what I was going through. My mom (a long time chronic pain sufferer) and I bonded in our pain. I read a book called “How to Be Sick,” which helped me finally accept that Fibromyalgia was just going to be a part of my life and I was going to be sharing my body with it for a long time.... the book made me realize I needed to learn to cope with my life TODAY, instead of worrying about what would greet me when I open my eyes tomorrow. I decided that if I was going to share my body with this syndrome, it was going to be on my terms.
I suppose it was natural that these terms blended into the experiment with positive thinking I started with the Facebook group a few months ago. I made a conscious effort to try to change the way I thought and felt about being sick. My life slowly improved from almost every angle. My relationship with my husband swiveled to “amazing.” Coping with a teething, crawling 6 month old was easier. I was able to let go of the things I couldn't change like the pile of dishes by the sink and the people who didn't really get that I was sick. As emotions became more stable, the Fibro did too. I'm still in physical pain each, but the emotional pain I had been under for the past several years was lifting and I began to co-exist with my illness instead of letting it run my life.
Then something wonderful happened. I didn't have to consciously implement the terms... they started to become natural to me.... and for the first time in my life external stressors and “what-ifs” didn't send me into a tailspin of emotions and anxiety attacks. I was coping with Life better than I ever had pre-Fibro. Part of me wants to wonder: “If I never had Fibromyalgia, would I have ever learned to chill out?”
But that would be against my terms, so I won't. I refuse to look this gift horse in the mouth.
Here my "Terms of Agreement for a Fibromite":
I will take all medications and supplements that may help me (and that I can afford.) I will take them as scheduled.
I will not be a martyr. If I need to sit, I will sit. If I need to go home and go to bed, I will go home and go to bed. If I need a pain pill, I will take it.
I will pace myself, even if it takes a week to clean one room of the house. If I overdo it, I will accept the consequences and allow my body time to heal.
If I can't do something I am asked to do, I will say “no” without guilt.
I will be grateful for what I can do, and not lament what I cannot.
I will not invest myself in the hope that the next thing I try will be a cure. I will not focus on a cure until there is one; instead I will focus on managing my symptoms.
I will not be ashamed of having Fibromyalgia OR taking any necessary medications. I will not let ignorance cause me additional pain and stress. Instead, I will take every opportunity I am given to spread awareness and erase ignorance.
If I can't make myself feel better, I will put my energy into helping someone else feel better. I may not be able to help their pain any more than I can help mine... but I can try to help them smile and cope.
I will not waste my time or energy on things that I cannot change, whether they are related to my illness or just a part of life. If I can't change something, then it is not worth fretting over.
And most importantly: I WILL find the Silver Lining to having Fibromyalgia. I will no longer make pain the focus of my thoughts, heart, and soul.