Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Losing Loved Ones

I've heard a lot of stories from friends and strangers alike that has distressed me.

I talk often about staying positive and upbeat, which is a challenge when we have Fibromyalgia. The constant spikes of pain, fatigue, random strange symptoms...through all of that it takes a lot of strength to smile and push on. There are some days where we just can't push through it. We have a bad day and we crawl into bed, lament and cry and hope for a reboot of our system that has us feeling better come the next day.

Sometimes we have to break engagements. During flare-ups we sometimes break a lot more. It makes it hard to maintain relationships of any sort.

Friends stop calling because they're tired of being told "I'm not feeling up to it today". Family gets mad because maybe you're not as reliable as you once were. Spouses get mad...because you change, future dreams have to be lost and replaced and that doesn't always go over well.

Unfortunately, we're all human. Spouses are not infallible and they don't always take their vows literal. They love you, but as you were, not as what you've become. With Fibromyalgia, our personalities can change. Depression can bring us down and shape us into unhappy, bitter people if we're not careful.

There aren't many men or women who can handle constant negativity all the time. Which is why you hear me "preach" about being positive often.

I'm not 100% positive all the time. I get angry and mad. I'm human and that's what humans do. But I'm more positive than negative and the more bad something is the more determined I am to find the good in it.

I have Fibromyalgia and it is unfun. But I have a new appreciation for good days, life, and the world around me. I have a determination to become more than what I was to make every day a mission. Before I knew I had Fibro, I didn't have that. I just thought I was lazy and a complainer. Maybe it was normal to feel pain and I was just a big wuss.

I have Fibromyalgia, but I'm not dying from it, I'm living with it.

These positive thoughts can give you new goals, and these new goals can give you a healthier perception and disposition. A healthier disposition can only be a good thing.

If you've lost a spouse or a family members support or a friend, I'm not lying the blame at your feet. I want to make that very...very clear. I have zero respect for spouses who did not go the extra mile to try to help before they gave up, or friends who get mad and stop calling because you can't be there when THEY need you. The same with family members who roll their eyes every time someone talks about you and your condition.

There is no way in hell I am defending these types of turn-about supporters. However, I think it is our responsibility to recognize where we can fall short in these relationships and become better, healthier-minded people.

Fibromates don't always know when we're acting differently. We live in a world of pain and snap without realizing it often. So let me put some thoughts out there. Maybe they'll help.

-Try to keep track of your reactions to people. Are you getting an attitude at specific times of the day? When your pain is at its worse or right after a pain spike? Knowing when you get cranky can help you to better avoid an argument or make you more mindful of what you say at these times.

- Are you on medication that has mood swing side-effects that might enhance your irritation. Is there another alternative you can try? Or something that will off set the cranky-factor? Are you on a withdrawal from Narcotics? Knowing what is going on with your medication and why you feel the way you do (i.e. wanting to rip someone's arm off and beat them with it) can help you maintain control over your temper (to a degree).

-Get in the habit of apologizing and explaining. When you jump on someone. Say a boyfriend or girlfriend and you know you're wrong, don't just walk away mad. Explain. Even if you're still ticked off and screaming. "I know I'm being irrational right now but this is out of my control so if you could just give me some time I won't kill you!" Not that I've uh...said that or anything. But I have found that when I take just a second to let my boyfriend know that I know I'm being irrational it makes him feel better and he is more able to chalk it up to Fibro than think I'm just being mean. Later, once the wave of anger passes, I talk to him more calmly and apologize for the mood swing.

-Take part of the blame. "My Fibro made me do it" isn't always going to fly with the guy....or gal. Take some responsibility. "I get so tired and cranky and I don't always handle it well. I hope you know that I don't mean to drive you so crazy." Your other half or friend or family already know you have Fibro. When you say your Fibro did it all the time, they just start thinking it is an excuse you use to hide behind. You actually lose ground. So yes.. Fibro makes you cranky but you're the one they want to hear an apology from.

-Show that you are actively trying to take care of yourself. Vitamins are good for this too. It's a show of health consciousness that your friends/family/spouse need from you. When I lost the respect and support of my husband, I think a big part of it had to do with the lack of effort on my part. I was in pain! I was rolling around wanting to catch a break, complaining a lot, laying in bed a lot, getting a ton of headaches and we had no idea what was wrong with me. My doctors just treated me for migraines and told me to relax. That's what I did. And I did it too well. Eventually, he lost respect and we've been separated ever since. So no matter how horrible you feel, how bad and how hard it is to push...show some effort. Even if it is just swallowing a Vitamin D every day or some magnesium.

-No one likes a negative Nancy. Not even negative Nancies. We can't be positive all the time. Myself included. Some of my views and posts are not positive even though that is what I tout. There is a lot of negative about Fibromyalgia. (Conflicting opinions on healthcare, the constant pain and misconceptions, bad advice from those who are "Fibro Experts") I'm a big fan of being negative on negativity. LOL. It often gets me the most hate mail. HOWEVER, if you hear yourself saying what you can't do, what will never happen, and that you're trying the best you can (in defense) often and several times a day...you may be growing into a negative nancy. Don't panic! Just try and insert a little bit of positivity. "This too, shall pass."

We all can do something to better ourselves. Fibromates and Normals alike. There needs to be changes on BOTH sides in any relationship. If you can't do something because it hurts you, well the Normals in your life have to change and come to terms with that.

You're not the only one that will have to go through change and sometimes, that draws those we truly love and want to spend time with ... away from us. It is a horrible outcome...but one that if it happens, we have to face down and rise up again!!

Losing a husband or a best friend or a family member puts you in a state of mourning. And mourning takes time to heal. I would never suggest that the next day you get out of bed and sing with the birds near your window. Take some time to heal but always, always in the back of your head you have to tell yourself that you can make another life. A happy one, once the pain begins to dull.

It can happen, and in the next few weeks I plan to prove it to you with my story, and the story of a few others who suffered a devastating loss, only to recover and reclaim happiness.

As always, My Friends, I care so much about you and dearly hope you can take comfort and find inspiration in what you have read and will read here.

All my best wishes for 98% days every day,

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