Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fibro and Attitude

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!

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


1 comment:

Nikki Albert said...

I suppose I agree to a point. I was diagnosed with FM over ten years ago now and found different ways to cope and found a great deal of comfort in witing (creative or non-fiction... gets me out of my head or more into it depending on what I need). And that has all be just attitude and my own coping skills... but with very little knowledge or support from doctors regarding FM. As in, I had no treatment options presented, offered or discussed. So there were times the pain alone crippled me for random periods of time and I had no idea why. Likewise it seemed every single thing that every cropped up was shoved under the FM umbrella by a doctor and then promptly ignored. So if I had had more knowledge and an idea of what I was dealing with or would deal with I might have actually been able to make a fine plan of action rather than just a sort of hit a miss learning curve which can be insanely fustrating to some of us. But nevertheless coping with FM was only an issue for me when I was about 18-19 once I got a grip on it, it was just a matter of compramises and pacing. But no matter how well I have coped with FM with positive strategies and good humor I wouldn't say I always coped so well. Not every year. Some compramises took a little something from me and sometimes it was difficult to bounce back from it. Sometimes I had to learn how to fill a new void. Coping is a constant process. I will never cope perfectly. Plus some people are suffering far more FM related pain than I do and are on disability because of it... more pain is more suffering, which is a little bit harder to cope with effectively all the time, no matter how awesome your strategies are. Pain and suffering are not the same thing, but more of one leads to more of the other, even if we can do things to help control our suffering. So we need a positive attitute, we need laughter, distractions, hobbies, things to do to fill the gaps if we cannot work and positive coping strategies. The are necessary. But sometimes they are not enough. Sometimes the pain wins for a bit.

Or maybe I say that because I'm in acute pain most of the time...I later developed chronic migraines which are comorbid with FM, along with other comorbid things like most of us do. Now a certain level of pain I can cope with, but acute pain all the time for over a decade apparently is extremely different. Beyond my ability to even wrap my mind around because your just stuck in survival mode. All my coping and a week long status migraine with sleep deprivation would ruin it. I found I still struggled because I desperately wanted to pain to end. Frantically wanted it to end. I think I survived as long as I have because FM sort of gave me the experience I needed to cope to a certain degree. I think people can struggle with FM at any point, even after years or decades of coping quite well for any number of reasons and I wouldn't judge them for it; I totally get that sort of fluctuation, life changes, we adjust but FM can sometimes cause us to have to make more changes as we go along and these can be stressful and it can cause emotional, financial and mental stress along with the physical. But we get back up again. Cause we are fighters if nothing else.

JS-Kit Comments