Thursday, November 12, 2015

Faking It

A friend shared this article with me the other day and it really resonated with me. It is called 23 Truths People With Fibromyalgia Wish Others Understood and you can read the whole thing here.  

I always hesitate to talk about my fibromyalgia because, quite frankly, I know that nobody wants to hear about it.  For heaven's sake my own family doesn't even get it.  I've had it for over 20 years and when I am having a bad day I can say "I'm not feeling well today" and they say to me "Oh, what is going on?"  I've learned to just let that pass and not get upset about it because I can't change other people.  And I'll admit here that I can be the same way with other people and their issues.  Nobody really wants to hear us complain about our aches and pains. I get it.  And  I realize that is rich coming from someone who has made it her only topic of discussion for the past almost year to write about someone's health issues.  I guess I figured when it was my kid I got a pass. 

If you actually went and read the link that I posted you read some quotes from actual people suffering from fibromyalgia and they mostly all resonate with me.  But two of them really stood out to me:

3. “It’s always there. Even though I may act ‘normal,’ I still hurt.” — DeJarnett Sharon

6. “You think I’m faking being sick, but really I’m faking being well.” — Becky Buice

These two statements are true for people suffering from many autoimmune diseases so they don't just apply to me.  These two quotes really struck me because not only are we not feeling well but we have to act differently from what we are feeling all the time just so we don't make other people aware of what we are feeling.  Let me tell you, THAT is also exhausting.  

The statement by Becky Buice really hit home with me because I would venture to guess that most everybody I know has no idea that I'm "faking being well" most every day of my life. I'm not saying that to make anyone feel sorry for me, truly.  It's just that you never know what someone is going through.

There are many activities in life that I would love to be a part of to help others and to serve in ways that I probably will never be able to because of how my body feels.  I've learned to know my limitations and am finally learning how to let it go when I feel guilty for not doing something that I really, really want to do for someone.  

It is very possible that any internal voice that I hear telling me that I am a bad person for not signing up for some committee or doing something in my community is just my own guilt and has nothing to do with other people.  But I do wonder sometimes if people just think I am lazy.  I'm not.

I will say that I have felt so much better after changing a diet issue a couple years ago.  But stress is a huge factor in how the body feels with fibromyalgia so right now I've been having a pain and fatigue flare for more than a month.  This year has finally caught up with me now just when things are starting to settle down a bit.  (Our son is still living with us and we are still doing things to take care of him).

I hope that this has been informative for people who have others that they love or know who suffer in silence while they fake being well every day.  Cut them a little slack.  Encourage them to go lie down and rest. Or just say 'I'm sorry you are having a hard time' instead of asking them what is wrong if they say they don't feel well.  

I have a quote up on the cabinet above my desk and it is ascribed to someone but when I look it up there are many people listed who are credited with saying it so I'll just post it without an author:

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

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