I’ve come to realize and finally understand that nothing in life is a straight line. Everything we do is a journey that moves us along and we are just here for the ride. When I first became ill in 2006 with my mental health, I truly expected that I would access the treatment I needed and be back to normal in no time. Well guess what? I’m still working on that journey and I have yet to know where I will end up with it. There are times that I feel like I’ve got a handle on what’s happening and feel in control and then something will happen and it puts me back a few steps. I’ve certainly come a long way from where I was in 2006, but there’s still work to be done.
During my mental health journey, I was feeling pretty stable and had returned back to work full time. I felt I was at a turning point in my career and I was excited about where that journey would lead. And then, illness reared it’s ugly head again, only this time I was struck with an illness called Fibromyalgia. They really don’t seem to have an exact definition of what this is but I can tell you that it’s pain all over your body and an incredible sense of fatigue. There are days when I feel like I am encased in cement and can hardly move. There are times when the gentle pressure of a cats paw makes me scream out in pain. It’s a disease that strikes unexpectedly and swiftly. I found that I couldn’t perform the simplest of tasks without becoming extremely tired or sore. After deteriorating quickly, I soon found myself on disability leave full time. I could barely manage my household tasks and personal grooming, let alone find the energy to get to work and survive a work day. Fibromyalgia has robbed me of the person that I was and the person I was destined to become.
So you may think that I’m angry or bitter about my fate in life but actually I’m inspired. I work hard to overcome my mental illness by attending many therapy groups and being mindful of my medications and have spent a lot of time “turning my mind” to a healthier way of thinking. I manage my fibro the best I can and try to enjoy the good days when they happen and not let myself wallow in despair when the bad days come.
Having a chronic illness is difficult to live with. Having two of them is even more of a challenge. One of the side effects of battling constant pain is depression and I already have a major depressive disorder so staying on the good side of happy is challenging. But everyday that I wake up I’m thankful for. Someday this will all get better – I have to hold on to that hope to see me through the dark days.
If you are struggling with a chronic illness please know that you are not alone. Reach out for help whenever you can and surround yourself with the people who love you and don’t want to judge you. Don’t be afraid to tell someone when you are struggling and try to find a positive somewhere in your day.
I don’t know the rules of the universe or why I should struggle with these illnesses while others don’t but I found that dwelling on this was unhealthy. I only have my life to lead – and I’m doing it the best I can.