Don’t You Hate It When…?

It’s bad enough when you miss the birthday of someone close to you, but worse? When you miss your own birthday.

Yes, 7 March was my 1st blog birthday… and I missed it. I’m going to forgive myself though. It’s been one of those weeks. Actually it’s been worse than just one of those weeks, and when I look back it really doesn’t surprise me that I missed it.

So Happy Birthday, me… or at least Infinite Sadness… or hope?

If you want to know what I’ve been doing over the past year, there are 211 posts to choose from. More recent?  Read on.

I guess I’ve learnt lots in the past 10 days.  I wish there had been an easier, less painful (in more ways than one) ways to learn, but so often it seems I have to put myself through hell before I get the message.  Have I got the message yet?  Well, I’ve got some messages but I’m sure there is still more to gain from it all.

When I wrote The Black Mark Against Mental Illness a while ago, I wrote about the stigma of mental illness that people with fibromyalgia seem to both experience, and perhaps contribute to.  At that time I found that there was a big voice from fibro sufferers who were not willing to accept that there is an emotional and psychological aspect to fibro.  In my reading I found they were adamant that fibro is a solely physical illness and that the psychological realm just doesn’t come into it.  “This is not all in my head” was something I read over and over.

I disagree.  Should I say that I disagree as far as my own fibro is concerned.

I know full well that my emotional and psychological well-being has a direct impact on my physical health, particularly in terms of my fibro symptoms.  Disagree if you like, but the issue of whether fibro is ‘all in my head’ has direct relevance.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say all, but what goes on in my head definitely affects my fibro symptoms.  If your fibro doesn’t work that way, then I say lucky you.

This doesn’t at all mean that my fibro is not important.  It doesn’t mean that my suffering is not real.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t need doctors to take me seriously. Those symptoms still exist, but now I have some understanding of perhaps why I suffer more on some days than others.  For that fact, I am happy to accept that fibro, for me, is connected to my mental well-being.  I hasten to add thought, that isn’t the whole story.  I’m sure there are physiological issues going on too.  It is after all, a complex illness.

This past week has seen some big stressors in my life, most of which I am unable to go into the detail of out of respect for others.  Put it like this though, when I stood up for something I strongly believed in and got some serious opposition from people who matter a great deal to me?  Within hours, my body started to react with pain.  That night I could actually feel the pain growing up my body, and at that point was helpless to do much about it, other than prepare for the worst.  It was bad enough that I was emotionally upset by an argument, but now my body was reacting too.

The stress of the week continued with me trying to support and help someone else close to me, who really didn’t want to accept the help.  An independent person, it was too hard for her to accept help that she probably needed.  The crazy thing was that by now I was getting out of my bed to go support her, only returning home to climb back into bed.  Yeah, that is crazy isn’t it?

And even crazier?  In looking back actually, I suspect I was sicker than the person I was trying to help.  But as I ran around after her, I was frustrated that she couldn’t see I was sick.  What was I expecting?  Was she meant to be a mind reader?  I was setting myself up to be further stressed.

Ten days of this has done nothing for my fibro symptoms.  It also hasn’t helped my auto-immune symptoms which seem to be springing to life the more I go on.   My specialist told me this week that all of my symptoms are too many to indicate exactly to her what is going on in my body, and that I would just have to live with it.  At least until I return from England, anyway.

I didn’t really appreciate her “just live with it” approach but I am inclined to wonder whether the psychological stress I have been under is not also playing a part in my Graves’ symptoms.  I think it’s time to go back to bed.

As I wrote yesterday, in Invisibility, I was feeling invisible to so many people in my life, perhaps mostly because it seemed like no one had any comprehension of how sick I was feeling.  That’s not entirely accurate because I know there were friends who had some idea, but it is the reality of what I felt.  Apart from hanging a sign around my neck pronouncing me ‘sick and stressed’, what exactly was I expecting?

That’s why I realised that I needed to stop being invisible to me.  I need to listen to my body, and my mind.  It actually doesn’t matter that it was my blog birthday this week, and I missed it.  And if someone really wants to refuse the support I have offered, why do I fight it?  Just go back to bed.  Or better still, don’t get out of bed… until I’m ready (and my body is ready).

As for standing up for things I believe in, that hurts, but I’m not going to stop doing it.  It’s part of who I am.  Just as part of who I am is accepting that it’s not just my mind that reacts to external stressors.  My body does too.  Right now I’m stuck with that, so the sooner I accept it and adapt my life to allow for it, the better.  There is so much more important than a blog birthday.  Maybe I’ll do that one next year.

“Our minds are susceptible to the influence of external voices telling us what we require to be satisfied, voices that may drown out the faint sounds emitted by our souls and distract us from the careful, arduous task of accurately naming our priorities.” 

―    Alain de Botton,    Status Anxiety

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9 thoughts on “Don’t You Hate It When…?

  1. John Richardson

    I haven’t been here since the begining but I certainly have enjoyed your blog since I found it. Here’s to many more years of insightful messages and may you continue to touch the lives of those around you!

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