Living with fibromyalgia is as frustrating as it is painful. After working through the pain all week and not feeling up to anything at home in the evenings, my weekends are most often spent playing catch up on my household chores. But come Monday, when one should return to work feeling rested and ready to take on a new week, I am more exhausted than ever and often in greater pain.
This weekend I finally managed to clean out my pantry. Not a huge task on the scale of physical demand, but one that required standing and raising my arms above my head a lot. My shoulders hate that motion. So today, I pay for it, waking in pain. With a typical fibromyalgia flare-up: muscle tension everywhere and a headache that just won’t subside. No matter what extra strength Tylenol and water I consume, hot shower and extra strength Voltaren I use… I find myself sitting half undressed in a lazyboy, overheating from the pain, with a magic bag wrapped around my neck & shoulders.
I know how it sounds when I call into work many Monday mornings saying I’ll be late. I know my staff and my supervisor begin questioning the validity of my condition. Most of the time people around me don’t even know what pain I am enduring. I tell those who do notice, that if they can actual tell that I am in pain, it has to be pretty bad, because the days that people think I’m doing just fine, inside I feel like I’m just barely coping. The fact is, I would be much better off with a part-time job, and even better off with work that I can do from home on a flexible schedule.
I think by speaking with other Fibro-sufferers, people would learn that my situation is not at all uncommon among those with fibromyalgia. There is nothing I wouldn’t give to be able to live day to day without pain, wake feeling rested and not feel fatigued all day long, and have a clear head to process thoughts with an ability to remain focused for more than 90 seconds. Today is one of those days. I don’t want your sympathy… Just a little compassion, instead of judgement. Patience,
instead of frustration. And maybe a few extra moments to process thoughts before giving a response…
We all live with challenges that others don’t know about. It’s time to start opening up and sharing, rather than assume these challenges somehow make us inferior or less than competent. What are your daily challenges that you keep hidden away?
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