Have you ever worried something you meant for good, would give the wrong impression? Or have you ever thought people you know might actually think you were self-centered or even worse, a hypochondriac? The reason I ask this is most of us, who have Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, deal with the fact that we don't look sick. That is where the term invisible illness comes in. And as I am sure most of you know, there are other illnesses that also fit this category. I want to suggest that we should not worry so much about what other people think, because we cannot control their thoughts. Nor, do we really know what they are thinking unless they tell us.
For instance, I deleted my blog post, because I saw that only nine people had viewed it. So I decided that people did not like it. I began to feel embarrassed that I had tried to encourage people by two methods: writing and photographs. I don't actually know what anybody thought. Not one person left a comment, which is not uncommon in the world of Blogdom. Many people read blog posts, which they may like or not, and do not leave comments. However, maybe I was just embarrassed to have put all those photographs there -- it sounds kind of silly, when I think of my intentions for having put them there in the first place. I put them there, because I want to encourage other people with chronic illnesses to know several things:
- Our lives may feel like they're on hold when we are sick, but they are not. We can live with our illnesses, even though our lives have changed. If you haven't gotten to this point in your life, where you can really believe this -- give it time.
- Sometimes, when I am feeling down or depressed, I have a hard time believing number one in this list, but I know it is true. This is my life and I am finding my way with God's help.
- If I could delete my illness totally, I might not be the person I am today. I might not understand what people with chronic illnesses go through: the frustrations, the pain, the loneliness, the depressions, or the joy and understanding that has entered my life through pain.
- You are special and there is no perfect way to get through this illness.
- Give yourself a break: quit being self-critical, because you cannot do all the things you used to do.
- Listen to your body, and don't be angry with yourself over your lack of energy. In my experience with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, it is not mind over matter that gets me where I want to go. Sometimes, my body does not cooperate: accepting this has helped me not spend my life in constant depression. However, sometimes I still get mildly depressed; but, it was worse when I did not understand why I get the ups and downs in energy level.
- When you do feel better, take baby steps back. It is true that we lose muscle-tone when we are too sedentary. I notice this every time I come back from a flare-up.