Acceptance Is a Choice

Acceptance Is a Choice

Through the Fog

I think one of the hardest things we ever have to do is to recognize that, for our diagnosis, acceptance is a choice. Would you agree?

I know we are in denial for a while, we may even put off going to the doctor to be diagnosed. No one wants to believe that they have a chronic illness. No one wants to think about rearranging their world to accommodate illness. We want our life to go on as normal, and this illness throws a monkey wrench into those plans.

Of course, especially on good days, you might start to think that maybe you don’t really have FMS after all. Maybe it was something else. That way, we can set aside the “chronic” part of our illness. No one wants to just accept that what they have is a lifelong challenge, never to go away. Get better? Always a possibility, but once you have it, well, you have it for life.

As hard as it is for us to accept, it’s particularly difficult for those who love us. Because, let’s face it, your friends and family will find it hard to know what to say and how to continue in this relationship going forward. There are those who will not be able to accept your diagnosis, and will just walk away. Perhaps that’s because they’re no longer on familiar territory and don’t know how treat you. Perhaps it’s because they are afraid of catching it. Or perhaps they tire of us canceling plans when we appear to be “OK.”

I believe we need to go through a grieving process, because with our diagnosis, we have experienced a profound loss! We’ve lost who we were, and are expected to just embrace who we are now. Allow yourself the time to grieve.

There are 5 stages of grief:

Denial: It helps us in the beginning stages of grieving the loss of who we were
Anger: Allow yourself to feel it; underneath it is pain, it will pass
Bargaining: Often we bargain with God, if He will only heal us
Depression: It’s an appropriate response to great loss; it won’t last forever
Acceptance: It’s not about feeling OK with our diagnosis, it’s about accepting our new “normal”

These are just tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling and experiencing. They are NOT stops on some linear timeline of grief. You will go through them in your own way, at your own pace. You may go through each stage more than once on this journey, but I promise you, if you stay the course, you will arrive at acceptance.

Just remember that acceptance IS a choice. Don’t stay stuck in denial.

Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Fibrosis.

10 comments

  1. Nicoletta says:

    I do not agree. It still is too much easy for doctors to diagnose fibro, I have been diagnosed after pressing few tender points and doing few blood checks, but I don’t think it’s enough. You go to the doctor and say “I have pain here and here” and they say “Oh, it’s fibro, take these zombiefying drugs and do some exercise!”. But after few years you came to know that you have plantar fasciitis and disc hernias, and that the pain on the shoulder is due to gastritis (yes, Gastritis!) etc… so it was not fibro after all… You should never accept a diagnosis like that without excluding all the other options. One day, hopefully soon, there will be diagnostics markers, and than I will agree with you, but you will see that a lot of people have been misdiagnosed.

    • Robin Dix says:

      Nicoletta, I’m sorry for your experience. There are doctors who will diagnose in that manner unfortunately. I always suggest people see a rheumatologist or neurologist who specializes in fibromyalgia. I was personally tested for lots of things over the course of a year before seeing a rheumatologist. I am hoping with you for better and clearer diagnostic markers.

  2. Denise Bault says:

    It took me many years to “accept” that I have this bizarre illness. I would recommend to those who have not to try. Then you can start the mental healing process of moving forward, knowing your life will never be the same. You will still have a life that can be filled with beautiful new moments. Yes, you will lose friends and family. THAT IS THEIR LOSS! I have made new friends who were much more loving and accepting than the old and have developed a deep, meaningful relationship with a sibling that might not have developed otherwise. I too question each new pain or weird symptom, I recommend getting those things checked out, just in case it’s not fibomyalgia…”the gift that just keeps giving!” God bless and keep on keepin’ on!

  3. April says:

    I am dealing with a very similar illness, and I still don’t have an official diagnosis. However, I have had to walk through these stages this year, as this was the year I could not get rid of it and it finally sank in that this is for the rest of my life. I’m still in the depressed stage. Acceptance coming soon, I’m hoping. 🙂

  4. DONNA JO EDMONDSON says:

    I am still depressed. I’m on new antidepressants but my heart is wrenched,y soul is bruised.yindeed is,gone. I do not want this disease. I want my old life back. I want to go 90 to nothing everyday. I’ve never been a laid back person. Fibroyalgia is evil and vile. I hate it

  5. Jacqueline hogg says:

    I was diagnosed with fibro in 2014, also I have osteoarthritis degenerative disc, compressed nerve in c5-7
    But I’m not happy with my diagnosis as I’m sure I have rheumatoid arthritis in my shoulders. Everyone tells me your having a flare but I must be flaring for a year now! Everything is getting worse all my joints all my muscles I just want to ????
    My life is pointless, I read about people coming to terms and making something of their life I look ahead and see nothing emptiness more pain! Sorry for being so negative but this is how I feel x

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