My health has been a thorn in my side most of my life. Since fifth grade, I’ve been trying to get answers to health issues that have plagued me. I went from doctor to doctor, trying to get help for my many symptoms to no avail. Why wasn’t I having any success? What could I have done differently? Was I somehow holding myself back?
I recently started practicing mindfulness. Being a writer, I decided to jot down what came to mind. Here are the results:
- I didn’t follow up as well as I should have.
- I didn’t seek out second or third opinions.
- I believed physicians when they said there was nothing wrong, even though I knew deep down there was something very wrong!
- I doubted myself.
- I took myself for granted.
- I didn’t make my health the priority it should have been.
- I relied too much on people who didn’t care about me.
- I refused to open my mind to alternative treatments and natural products.
- I DIDN’T LOVE MYSELF ENOUGH TO FIGHT FOR MYSELF!
The last one was quite a revelation, but true. I hated myself for years and that hate destroyed me. It kept me from caring about my health. I found it much easier to hate myself than to love myself.
After writing down these thoughts, I realized something changed after my diagnosis. I became angry. Why didn’t any of the dozen or so doctors I’d seen figure this out? I’ve been diagnosed, so now what?
Anger can be productive if you use it correctly. I focused that anger into action. I have to do something about my health or I will only continue to deteriorate. What will I be like in 20 years? The thought of what could be caused me to focus on finding ways to better myself before it is way too late. I needed to change my negative attitude and find a way to love myself again.
I started seeing medical professionals whom I previously wouldn’t even consider. I found a whole new world of options. From physical therapy and massage to acupuncture and chiropractic care, there are a lot of resources that could have a positive impact on my health.
After three years of experimenting, changing my entire lifestyle and leaving my comfort zone again and again, I finally have a sense of direction and self-worth. I am losing weight (35 pounds in three months) and I feel better than I have in years. My pain has diminished considerably. I feel better at 52 than I did at 35. I also can proudly say that I do love myself, and I know that I deserve to have some peace and happiness in life.
Now I use these mantras to get me through any setbacks:
- I will not let others steal my joy or take away my self-esteem.
- I will not tolerate medical professionals who call me a liar or tell me that what I am going through is all in my head.
- I will put myself first. I cannot take care of others if I do not take care of myself.
- Life is what I make it. It is how I respond to the curve balls in life that defines who I am, not this illness.
- I am strong. I am tough. I have the battle scars to prove it.
- I am human. I cry and I am not ashamed of it.
- I am a fighter. I don’t give up.
- I am courageous.
All of us fibro warriors are tough, strong and courageous. Be proud of what you are able to accomplish instead of being depressed by what you can’t. Changing your attitude can also bring about big changes in your health and well-being. Keep up the good fight and don’t let anyone bring you down.
What mantras do you have that get you through tough times? How do you build yourself up? What advice do you have for others who can’t seem to find the courage to fight?
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 fibromyalgia.