16 Things I've Learned From 22 Years With Fibromyalgia

For more than 20 years, I have had a daily relationship with the physical, mental and emotional difficulties of fibromyalgia. The crazy disease that doesn't fit into anyone's categories of health problems touches every aspect of your life, but it doesn't have to take over.

These are just a few of the things I've learned from living with chronic pain. It's not an exhaustive list, but it covers many of the things that are important to my well-being.

1. Chronic pain is not a curse or a punishment. Even Paul had a thorn in the flesh, but he left it in God's hands. So should you.

2. What you eat, whether you're having a good day or a bad day, will affect you. So eat as well as you can as much of the time as you can.

3. It's OK to say no. People who love you will understand, and people who don't love you will get over it.

4. Instead of overdoing it when you do feel good, work at a normal pace for as long as you can.

5. Understand that it's OK to take breaks. Pushing through will often make you feel worse than if you'd taken a quick nap or read a chapter of a book.

6. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was your life. You don't have to be perfect at everything today. This is especially true when fibromyalgia makes you feel like you have no control over anything.

7. It's OK to ask for help. It's not giving up and it's not being a baby. It's giving someone else an opportunity to be a blessing when you truly need it.

8. The hardest, most painful moments are best spent with the Lord. The times I can't even get out of my chair are the days I choose to spend in prayer and Bible study. When there's nothing I can do to stop the pain, I can still feed my soul.

9. Exercise is important, even when you hurt. Gentle stretching and a little light yoga can make all the different in your body.

10. Make sure your to-do list is God's to-do list. When I'm planning my week, I have myself running non-stop, and I'll probably pay for it later. But by listening to what God's plan is for my day, I'm sure to have just enough time to do everything He wants me to accomplish.

11. You don't have to give an excuse every time you don't feel well. If you can't do something, you can't do it.

12. When you don't look sick, there will always be people who question you. When they ask why you can't do something, if there's really something wrong with you or what's wrong with you this time, just be honest, polite and firm.

13. Don't cut yourself off from the world. It's easy to hide yourself away when you don't feel well, but that means you see the same four walls all day. Go see something different, even briefly, and interact with other people.

14. Be open-minded about new doctors, medications or ideas. When you're in a rut of thinking "this works for me and that doesn't," you might miss out on something wonderful that gives you some relief.

15. Other people want to help, they may just not know how. If someone asks if there's anything they can do, don't brush them off. Even if it's just asking them to pray with you, there's always something they can do for and with you.

16. Be honest about how you feel. We're taught to be strong and independent, but there's a point where that's just fake. If you hurt, say so. If you're having a good day, say that.

Comments

  1. Hey! Have you ever thought of using essential oils? I started using them 7 months ago and they have changed my life!!! I know people that have used them for fibromyalgia and other chronic pain issues. Let me know if you are interested in learning more and I can send you the info! Love your posts and I read them on a regular basis!!

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