I was in a conversation with a friend of mine the other day and the topic was about attitude. She compared me to another friend of hers who had Fibromyalgia and said, "Kim, don't take this the wrong way, but you just seem to have a better attitude about your illness. My friend gets too caught up in what she can't do and can't eat and she just seems miserable all the time."
Being the person I am, I tried to brush off the compliment. I'm not one for accepting them well. I'm me, a human being and I may do some things well, but I've been known to screw up too. And when I screw up it's usually bad so compliments are not something that I've gotten used to.
But something else was hard about that compliment and that was the fact that someone else was suffering. They were feeling down and out about their disease, possibly even overwhelmed. We've all been there. We've felt bad about having to change our lifestyles from a fast-paced type A personality to a B. That can make anyone feel down but if you add the long list of foods that should be avoided into the mix it can make people discouraged and depressed.
My friend who complimented me stumbled upon something that I had forgotten in my years of battling this beast. Newly diagnosed people will mourn their old life. They will mourn for minutes, months, or possibly years. And it all depends upon their attitude.
If someone is generally a positive person in life, mourning what was lost might not take very long at all. The reason being is because a positive person will tend to find creative ways to incorporate their old life with their new one. They may make substitutes in their diet by making homemade pasta and avoiding processed ones, or they may even try to continue their favorite activity, like gardening, but at a slower pace.
A person who can't see the silver linings may take a lot longer to mourn their old life. This is sad but I honestly don't believe they do this because they are negative. I truly believe that they need more time to process what is going on and they learn differently. It might even have a lot to do with the fact that no one has ever shown them how to look for silver! I know I have that problem when it comes to compliments.
So the next time you come across a person with Fibromyalgia who seems to be negative, try helping them find their lining. For all you know they could lead you to a pot of gold!
Love and friendship,