Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Terms of Agreement for a Fibromite

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":

  1. I will take all medications and supplements that may help me (and that I can afford.) I will take them as scheduled.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. If I can't do something I am asked to do, I will say “no” without guilt.

  5. I will be grateful for what I can do, and not lament what I cannot.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.


  1. I totally agree and thank you for your well written words!

  2. Very good Erin. Good terms to live by...I am still trying to learn and live by those terms and I've been trying for 20 years! lol

    What an excellent point~if I didn't have Fibromyalgia, would I have ever learned to chill out? For me?...probably not.

  3. That's awesome E! As I read these terms I realized that I have been living by those same terms for over 30 years. I don't know but perhaps that's the very reason I'm still here and living a semi-normal life. Bless you Erin in your journey.