I didn’t choose a life with fibromyalgia, it chose me. Many days I wish I was my old self, pain-free and full of energy. Yet, until a cure is found, this me has been the norm for close to 20 years now. I have learned to cope and live, and even thrive.
Scott Hamilton said, “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.”
And so I want to share my top 10 lessons from life as a fibro warrior.
- I am stronger than I thought. Living with the pain and fatigue on a daily basis has put things in perspective. I deal with more pain just getting out of bed in the morning than some people feel in a week, or a month, or maybe even in a year. Every. Single. Day. I can’t remember the last time I was truly pain free. So I recognize that it takes a lot of strength and courage to go about this fibro life of mine. I fight fibromyalgia, what’s your superpower?
- Sometimes a good cry is the best medicine. Let’s admit it. We’ve all been there. Tired, in pain, depressed, feeling like this flare will never end. I have been known break down and cry it out. I allow myself to cry for a bit, but then I put my big girl panties on, tell myself “This too shall pass.” Fibro warriors do not wallow in self pity.
- Go with your gut instinct. If you think something is wrong, it probably is. Even if the experts tell you nothing is wrong, you are entitled to a second or third opinion. Not everyone understands fibromyalgia, and there is no one treatment that works for everyone. Keep pushing until you get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan that works for you.
- It’s OK to say no or to ask for help. Sometimes I don’t feel like going to a party, volunteering at that function, or even going grocery shopping. Heck, some days my arms hurt too bad to do my hair. Give yourself permission to say no. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help carrying groceries, making dinner, or getting into bed. It’s a sign of strength that you care enough about yourself to ask for help.
- Everyone is different.Everyone experiences pain differently. I may not look like I am in pain, but I probably am. You may not think that simple touch of my skin should hurt me, but it does. So even if someone looks healthy and happy, there are many invisible illnesses out there, and you may not really know the private struggles people endure. Invisible, notimaginary.
- Self-care does not mean you are selfish. Face it. You have to put your own oxygen mask on first, before you can help others. If your fuel tank is on empty, you’re not going far. I may be mixing metaphors, but the bottom line is taking care of yourself should be a priority in your life. Pencil time in for you.
- If I eat crap, I feel like crap. I truly believe there is a connection between the food we eat and the way we feel. Again, everyone has different tolerances, reactions, allergies, so this is something everyone has to figure out for themselves. But my doctor tells me I am like a Cadillac that requires premium fuel to keep me running. So I avoid gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, peanuts, soy, corn, GMOs, etc. You can eat healthy foods that help your body heal.
- Lavender, epsom salt baths, and a cup of tea are must-haves for a good night’s sleep. I have written about all of these many times before. ‘Nuff said.
- It’s OK to eat a little bit of dark chocolate every day. I am talking about square or two of high-quality dark chocolate or a few chocolate covered almonds. Not a family sized bag of dark chocolate M&Ms. So go ahead and indulge in a little bit of anti-oxidants.
- I may have fibromyalgia, but it doesn’t have me. I refuse to let this condition stop me from enjoying life. Am I tired and in pain? Every single day. Some days are better than others. Some days I smile more than others. Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it. Attitude matters. I refuse to be a victim. I am a fibro warrior.