I never thought a chronic illness would happen to me. I bet you know how I feel. All of the things we used to do and never thought twice about are nearly impossible now. I’d give anything to go back to those more carefree days. Sadly, there’s no going back. Fibromyalgia is our new normal. But that doesn’t mean we have to sit back and let it have its way.
If I had not been ill, I’m sure I would not have considered writing. I also would have missed out on some incredible friendships. We have time now that we may not have had when we were so busy. We can dabble in things we may not have previously considered. I know many people who have discovered new talents such as painting or quilting. We shouldn’t let fibromyalgia decide who we are now or who we’ll become in the future.
I never thought I would spend so much time in bed, but it gives me the chance to talk to others, pray for them, learn new things, read more books, and earn some extra money. I probably would not have had a book published or written so many book reviews if I was working or had a busier lifestyle.
Chronic illness also helps us reorganize our priorities. We change the way we eat, how long we take to shower, how we exercise, how we clean, and how we socialize. This is not a one-size-fits-all diagnosis. We need to do what works best for us and not give in to others’ expectations.
“No” becomes our new favorite word. When we have to say no to invitations, visits, shopping trips, or doctor’s appointments, we should do so without guilt. It’s not our fault that we can’t control when symptoms flare. We need to give ourselves grace.
We can begin to appreciate little things like gently falling snow, the smell of freshly cut grass, the shining sun, a haircut, or a really good book. It’s funny how the things we hadn’t paid much attention to are now the things that truly matter. We can become more compassionate, patient, caring, tenacious, and forgiving, not only toward others but also ourselves.
Fibromyalgia is what we have — it’s not who we are. But it does change us. We won’t let it make us bitter. Instead, we will use it to become better versions of ourselves.
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.