Carly Simon's song always pops into my head when I think about anything that could be remotely attributed to conceit.
A recent letter reminded me of my experience, which I'll share in a moment. For now, here's the letter:
Dear FG: (Fibro Gin)
I'm forty-two years of age and look like my mother who is sixty. I have noticed my age increasing three years for every one that has passed for the last five years. I was diagnosed with Fibromylgia six years ago. Premature aging is not on your symptoms list but I know I'm not the only one who has this problem with Fibromylgia.
Despite the "Dear Abby" tone of this letter, it is one of my favorites so far. So thank you "PA"!
As a 34-year-old dating a 20-year-old, no one freaks out about premature aging more than me! I have the eye cream I rub underneath my eyes on bad days, and all the face masks at night. And I don't care what anyone says, my nightly rituals work.
But why did I go from not caring to freaking out? It has very little to do with the age difference between me and my present beau. It has nearly everything to do with the fact that I WAS looking old. My eyes were puffy and dark one day and I couldn't remember how they got that way. It was gradual sometimes but dramatic on others. What the heck was going on with me??
Then I caught some weird reality show which had a girl hopped up on oxycontin and pictures of her this year and the year before. WOW! What a difference. Pain relievers were her thing. She had an injury from a car accident (if memory serves) and she just couldn't get off of them. When her doctor stopped prescribing she mail-ordered them or bought them from friends who stole them from their parents, etc.
Duh! Fibromates for the most part, are not addicts. We feel pain, we take pain killers, anti-depressants, muscle relaxers etc. Taking these medications is legitimate for us, unlike junkies. But why do we think that because we're not junkies we won't start to look like junkies on the same or similar meds?
Natural products do not work for all Fibromates, so does that mean that those who are in too much pain without chemical treatments are doomed to look twice their age? No.
So what can be done?
When I asked "P.A" in a follow-up letter how much chemical vs natural treatment she has, she said she doesn't take any natural products because they "did nothing for her".
This is a common answer and a respectable one. We often get so frustrated when we try something that could possibly work for us (after all it works for "so and so") that we turn our back on it and think on it bitterly. (I'm a classic case of this. Anti-depressants and I are not kissing-cousins.)
But vitamins should not be used and then discarded when they don't show results. Why?
Or body needs vitamins. They don't harm us to take them, they can only help, even if not noticeably.
If you are a Fibro Patient, and you take a list of meds, chances are you might start losing some of that glossy shine on your face and skin.
What to do? Everyone has a few home remedies they could probably offer here. Oatmeal face masks, cucumbers on the eyes, avocado lotion applied twice or maybe a citric face peel. If you have something you use that works well feel free to share it! For me it is less about the natural age-fighting concoctions and more about getting into the habit of using them.
First: Take vitamins! Vitamin E in moderation is so good for the skin but having a healthy intake of all vitamins is a good way to keep your visual age down.
Second: Drink a TON of water. Nothing hydrates your skin more than keeping your body hydrated. (Do not become overly obsessive, just up the intake when you notice problems with your skin. Gaining a bladder problem by over imbibing water is counter-productive.)
Third: Wash your face at night and in the morning. Use creams and lotions to keep your face from drying out. Peels, microderm abrasion treatment...whatever you find makes you FEEL good. Part of looking good is feeling like you look good as well so do what you find appeals to you. It can be a texture or scent or...whatever. With Fibro we rarely feel good about anything. Train yourself to feel good about your outside even when your insides are "The Suck!".
Lastly: Use all of the above to create a routine. And know when you really need to get serious by the amount of drugs you take.
My Vanity Journey:
I was looking older than I felt on my good 98% days. I figured out they were around the time of month where I got my migraines due to menstruation. Yay..thank you mother nature! I have to take narcotics because nothing else takes them away. But I'd start to look awful by day four. Big bags under my eyes, dark circles...sallow appearance, dull skin.
So one day I went out and spent 100.00 at Sally's Beauty and one of those stinky stores with all the lotion products. For four months I tried a little bit of this and that until I noticed I was looking better than I had in years!
Talk about doing the happy dance.
This might sound selfish and vain to some people, but for me if I not only feel like crap but look like crap, I'll get more depressed. Once I get more depressed I lose my ambition. I stop exercising, I stop going outside, and I stop taking vitamins. I get in that rut of "what's it all for??" and that is a dangerous place for a Fibromate to be!
Though I tease and call my concern over how I look vanity, I truly think of it as self preservation. I don't need to look sick to be sick because I don't need to prove how I feel. I know it.
When I look better I have more confidence and that helps me when facing doctors, oddly enough. "I feel pain so you need to fix me and no it is NOT all in my head."
Looking good has so many benefits, so it is OKAY to worry over premature aging. It is also okay not to care! I figure I should throw that in there in case anyone is thinking I'm saying that everyone has to look hot every day.
The powers know that I look like crap on a cracker many days a month, and I'm not going to obsess about it, I'm going to wait until I feel better and then start the anti-aging battle again.
All my best, My Beautiful Friends.
Remember, there is more to beauty than just outside appearance, but there is nothing wrong with having a little bit of both!