“Never let the things you cannot do prevent you from doing the things you can.” – Coach John Wooden
I cannot find a word fitting enough to describe how indescribably challenging my journey to accepting life with Fibromyalgia has been, but at this point in my life I couldn’t be more grateful for the strength I’ve been graced with to come to peace with how my life has had to change.
If you’ve read my previous blog posts, you would already know that I was only 11 years old when my symptoms of Fibromyalgia had first surfaced. I remember waking up every day in agony, not knowing how to get rid of this aching, stabbing, electrocuting pain that I was experiencing. But one thing I did know was that I had to get up and get my mind and body to school. Having Fibromyalgia at such a young age meant that I had to grow up and I had to grow up and face things fast. Although I had the best memories at my secondary school, most of which I wouldn’t change for the world, I also had bad ones and the good ones were almost always tainted by chronic pain.
I am not ashamed to say that I became an angry person behind closed doors, I was angry at the world. I felt like my teenage years up until I was in my twenties was ruined. Fibromyalgia had taken so much away from me physically and mentally and I was constantly asking myself “why me?”. I would cry every day and night that this is what my life had become, I was sick of missing so much school, being sent to different hospitals, the pills, the therapies, the blood tests and all the treatments. I was determined in searching for a cure that didn’t exist and looking for answers that would never be found. Little did I know 12 years later I would be looking at this as a blessing in disguise.
Fortunately, with the support of some of my family, friends and loved ones as well as some of my teachers, medical professionals and inspirational friends I had met through having chronic pain, I was able to get through the hardest decade I could ever imagine experiencing. I had come to a realisation that if anyone was going to change the way I felt towards life it was going to be me. I have and had so much to be grateful for but allowed the Fibromyalgia to mask that for so many years of my life that I had forgotten how great the things I could still do was. We shouldn’t give such great power to the things we can’t do, and we shouldn’t let it stop us from doing all the things we can do and enjoy.
I can say changing my mindset towards Fibromyalgia was the best thing I could have ever done. When I came to accept that I was not like everyone else and there were things that I was unable to do but also come to the understanding there were still so many things that I was capable of doing and enjoying I became much happier. I began to let go of all the anger I had built up inside me (although that anger still makes an appearance on occasions). I have learnt ways of managing my pain and pacing myself whilst still achieving what I want and doing what I love. If you’re at the stage of anger and you’re not in a good place right now, that is okay! There is no time schedule on how you deal with your Fibromyalgia. But just know there will come a time where you get to the place of acceptance and peace I am at now. Just allow your journey to continue and as I would always say never give up, one day you could be writing your own amazing journey in hope of helping other people like I am!
Illustration by Chloe Smart: