I’ve mentioned in a couple of my posts over the last few weeks that I’m not blogging as much as before for a number of reasons. Today, I’ll share one of them.
On Friday, I went to see a rheumatologist. It turns out that all the pain and fatigue I’ve had over (mostly) the last year is fibromyalgia. Surprisingly, just having it named has given me a sense of peace. When you don’t know exactly what something is, you can’t really manage it. This means I can have a plan for how to restructure my life.
The really fun (okay, more annoying than fun) thing is how people’s responses when they find out are pretty predictable. My family and close friends, of course, reacted as I had expected–with empathy and offers for help and with simply listening to me without saying much at all. Of course, that’s generally been a two-way street, so I wasn’t at all surprised. Much love to you all. M’wah!
Strangers and acquaintances have also had pretty predictable reactions: Everything from “Have you tried…” to weirdly personal questions to asking me for advice for family or friends. Seriously–I just found out three days ago. I don’t have any answers for you! (Note: This is not everyone. If you’re all worried I’m talking about you, the answer is, “I dunno. Maybe? Have you said one of those things to me? If not, then no, I’m not talking about you.)
I’ve always been a bit resistant to people telling me what to do. I’m sure that comes as a total shock to anyone who knows me (or has read my blog). Well-intentioned people often (mistakenly) believe that everyone wants the benefit of their wisdom, especially if they consider themselves to have knowledge or experience on a subject. The thing is, we can talk together about what has worked for us, but none of us should believe that translates to having it work for anyone else.
The biggest reason for that: I am not you. You are not me. Even our differing philosophies factor into what works and doesn’t. You may think I should try a particular strategy, but what if that’s not what my doctor recommends? Or what if your solution isn’t practical for my life? We should never try to be Pez dispensers of fibro wisdom for anyone else.
The truth about dealing with something chronic is that it doesn’t go away. Sometimes, I have a series of pretty good days–I’m productive, I feel pretty good, and no one would ever guess. Other times, I have a string of lousy days where my only goal is not to spend all day crying because it hurts so much. Most of the time, I’m somewhere in the middle. And for me, that’s okay. I’m surprisingly content to enjoy my good days, manage my less good days, and give myself permission to do absolutely nothing on my worst days. I’m fortunate to have people around me who give me that flexibility.
Because of the fatigue and mental fogginess that accompany fibro, I simply don’t have the physical or mental energy to write the way I did before. One of the things that triggers my symptoms is stress. Unfortunately, because I’m highly tuned into the emotions of others, I pick up their distress and add it to my own. That means that things that I once had fiery energy to write about literally make me sick. I can’t do constant anger, and that’s a struggle because every day, I see injustices that make my blood boil. I’m working on what that means to my writing. Some things are absolutely worth fighting for, and I need to make sure I’m not pouring unnecessary energy into things that are best left to someone else. Sadly, that means I might also not be able to read some of what others write due to their style of expression.
In the meantime, one of the things that has lifted me greatly while I’ve been working this out is writing fiction. If you’d like to, you can check out my other blog, where I post flash fiction, serial short stories, and bits of the novel I’ve been working on. I would also love to have guest posts on either blog, so feel free to drop me a message.
Thanks for all your patience with me as I sort this out. The single biggest thing that has helped me is knowing how much love and support I have. I really do have some pretty amazing people in my life, by chance and by choice.