I’ve been a very, very bad blogger lately, and haven’t posted in forever. The short explanation is that work and the fibromyalgia have been playing hell with my body, and most of my non-work time has been spent doing the things that are absolutely necessary and sleeping. (Lots and LOTS of sleeping.) One of my blogging friends, Phylor, has posted a letter to the chronically ill part of herself, and it inspired me to start writing again (thanks, girl, I needed that!)
I owe you an apology . . . a big one. I know that many of the things I do make you worse, and I’m really sorry about that, but I don’t feel like I have a choice. I hear you telling me that my job is bad for you by screaming in pain when I work, and starting to feel better when I have a day off. I hear and understand that you’re telling me I’m doing too much when you are so tired it’s all I can do to drag you to the bathroom, and I force you to stand for hours at work anyway.
I have to work, or I can’t feed you, or provide a home for you. Without a job, there would be no herbs to ease your pain, no vitamins and minerals to support your attempts to keep going, no heat to soothe your muscles, no soft bed for you lay down in when you’re worn out and hurting.
It’s a vicious circle . . . I have to work to provide the things you need to treat the fibromyalgia, but the physical and emotional stress of the job makes the fibro worse. I don’t know how to fix it . . . I can’t quit working, but you aren’t capable of doing it, and you’re so exhausted from it that I don’t have the energy to find something else that you CAN do.
I used to feel like you had betrayed me, and I resented your inability to keep up with the things I wanted (and needed) to do. I’ve now come to understand that what I saw as betrayal was simply your attempt to cope with the stresses and strains my life has placed on you. Some of those stresses and strains were (and are) the results of choices I made; but many others were caused by the actions of others. Although I had no control over their actions at the time, there are things I can do now to minimize their continuing impact on you, and I’m learning more and more about that.
I promise, I’m going to find a way to take better care of you. You’ve taken so much pain and abuse, and you just keep going through it all. It’s time for me to figure out how to give you what you need without continuing to make things worse for you, it’s time for me to stop neglecting your needs, and it’s time to start appreciating your strength and endurance.
Chronic illness has taken so much from me, but it has also given much back. It’s given me friends like Phylor, who actually “get it” and a place I actually feel like I belong. It’s given me an appreciation of my own strength and abilities, and the little things in life like a beautiful day or the rare moments when the pain eases. There are days I hate my life; but there are many more when I feel this overwhelming gratitude for what I have, what I’ve learned, and the amazing people I’ve met because of my illness.
UPDATE: Here’s the link to phylor’s follow-up post, with links to all the letters inspired by her original post. And the winners are: thanks to those who wrote a letter to their bodies and minds | Phylor’s Blog
- Question of the Week: Are you struggling with making changes? (ohmyachesandpains.info)
- Transforming Myself Into Ms. Fibro-Friendly (ohmyachesandpains.info)