Grab a cup of coffee or tea and get ready because it is about to get REAL! I have my favorite coffee in my favorite cup and I’m ready to talk about Fibromyalgia and the effects it has on our relationships.
I don’t know how many times I have said to family members, “It’s not you, it’s me and I’m sorry for snapping.” This is especially true of my nine-year-old. I have tried explaining to him that I am sick and I’m in a lot of pain, but I’m not sure how much he really understands. Since he is the baby of the family, he has been spoiled (yes, I’m admitting it)! Needless to say, he is used to getting his way and when we try to lay down the law -he resists. It’s on my bad days that this resisting is not something I can handle or tolerate. These are the days I snap at him.
Maybe this is the part where you judge me, vocally or silently. Or maybe this is the part where you understand because the same thing happens in your house. Either way, I get it- I judge me too! I’m probably harder on myself than any other person could be (hence chronic illness brought on by stress). Before I was really “dealing” with my illness, I think I still snapped but didn’t really accept responsibility for my behavior. Now it’s different. I can (most of the time) recognize that I just said or did something that I wouldn’t normally, had I not been in so much pain or so exhausted. So, now I try to apologize. I don’t use my illness as an excuse though. This is why I say to my son, “It’s not you, It’s me”. I try to explain to him that his behavior needs to change but that was no excuse for me to (insert whatever I said or did).
This post is hard to write……although I am pretending you and I are friends just sitting at a coffee shop catching up. The truth is some of the people reading this I do not know at all. It is pretty scary to put yourself out there like that for all to see. I find it just as scary for the people I do know to read this because I haven’t told them any of this either. HOWEVER– as I said in my post Coming Out, I can’t hide from this anymore. This is just another way to remind me that what I am going through is REAL and not just going to go away. Fibromyalgia doesn’t give a F*** about my hopes, dreams, goals, or the people I love. It doesn’t care that I need to go to work, that I need to finish school, or that I had plans with someone special. When Fibromyalgia takes from you, it takes what it wants, when it wants.
This is why it is so important to manage stress and take time for yourself. I understand this now; even though it is still easier said than done. By letting everyone know what I’m going through, I’m no longer fighting this alone. I have learned so much from others already diagnosed. First, is that somedays you have to take it hour by hour or less if you need to. I learned that meditation can help center myself and keep my thoughts in check. Next, I learned that if I can stop living so much in the future I can manage my stress level better. Also, I have learned so much more than this, but most importantly – I learned that I am not the only one going through this. My invisible illness doesn’t have to be something I keep hidden.
I can’t really give any advice on the best way to deal with your personal relationships when you have Fibromyalgia. Why? Because I am still trying to figure it out. Really, I am pretty lucky! I have a supportive husband and family who understands my illness. That may not seem like much, but it really is everything. If they didn’t support me, I would be even more lost. So I acknowledge that daily and I am very appreciative for what I have, despite what the illness takes from me.
My last thought is that no one is perfect. You may snap at people and that isn’t ok no matter what you are going through. We have to take responsibility for our actions, even if our actions are driven by an illness that others can’t see. My goal is first to be upfront with what I am going through at the moment, especially with my husband. If he wants to have a stressful conversation, maybe it is something that can wait. Know your limits, meaning learn what pushes you over the edge so that you can stop the situation from getting that far. In my case, maybe I know I’m hurting, so I need to alter my day to only going to one store instead of the three I need to go to. I am hoping that by understanding my limits better, I can lessen the number of times I hurt my family’s feelings.
If we were friends at a coffee shop catching up, it would now be your turn to share. I would love to hear your thoughts and how you deal with relationships while in pain and exhausted. Please leave your story in the comments. Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter below so you can be the first to know when new content is published.
Fibro Women Blogs
Chronic Woman Blogs
Chronic Illness Blogs
Official Fibromyalgia Blogs