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Friday, September 7, 2012

Reviving a battered spirit

I have talked with others that suffer with fibromyalgia and I frequently find that these gentle, sensitive souls have been emotionally battered and bruised over the course of their illness.  I have been thinking about the many challenges that we must overcome and the tremendous toll that these difficult challenges can have over time.  I imagine that you, a person struggling with the challenges of chronic fibromyalgia, have endured many losses and harsh criticisms over the years.  Those losses in combination with the harsh criticisms of others, including family members and healthcare professionals, during the most vulnerable time of your life have most likely eroded your spirit and self esteem.  The grief and loss of losing your previously robust brain and body can be overwhelming as you struggle to maintain your identity and dignity.  At a time when you need a solid, supportive partner the most, is when none may exist or your partner may have taken flight and filed for divorce.  Friends frequently have difficulty understanding your limitations brought on by fibromyalgia and may make unkind remarks that further erodes your already battered spirit.  Those friends frequently disappear over time.  A fading support system coupled with the stuggle of searching for treatment where no definitive treatment currently exists, creates another layer of stressors and feelings of
isolation.  A downward spiral may begin when those feelings of isolation are magnified by attempting to keep up in a fast paced world that seems to be leaving you behind.  In addition to these stressors, you may be having financial difficulties and your energy depletion and being physically ill and in pain may make problem solving a nearly impossible task.  It's no wonder you may have become mentally depressed and your self esteem and spirit has sunk into a dark abyss.  I am inspired by the love and caring that you and all people with fibromyalgia show toward others when your life hangs in a desperate balance and all hope has begun to fade. 


But at the same time I see so much courage as we all get up each day to meet those challenges and it is evident that our spirits continue to shine with glimmers of life.  The power we have resides in the gift of our sensitivity and that is not a weakness, but a strength that many of us have never called upon before.  When your spirit and self esteem are battered beyond recognition it is a sign that you are overdue for some serious self-care.  Many people with fibromyalgia have fine qualities that include caring for others, feeling empathy for others, solving problems for others . . . do you see the recurring theme?  This recurring theme most likely includes ignoring your own needs while putting others' needs first.  The most courageous act you can perform is for you to call up the courage to care for you and to allow others to care for you too.  You know, sometimes it should be all about you!  The people that are able to show you the love and support you need to soothe your battered spirit and self esteem are the people in the trenches with you.  I didn't find those people for the first 19 years of my battle with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, but I was to a point where there was almost nothing left of me, but a hollow shell of my former self.  I know you understand what I am talking about, because you are either there or have been there before.  I am determined not to go back.  A fibromyalgia sufferer said to me the other day, "Why would any man want me when I am so sick?"  That probably sounds like a perfectly good question, but that is also negative self talk.  My thought 4 years ago was, "Even though I'm sick I deserve to be loved and adored too."  It was that positive thinking that connected me to the man I have waited for my whole life.  He found me after only 2 weeks of placing my profile and picture on PerfectMatch.com  He is such a blessing!  I also found precious friends at Fibro Haven, a support group in San Marcos, California, and online at Fibromyalgia.com  So I not only have nearby friends that understand me and are always ready to help problem solve, but I also have my online friends too.  I recently reconnected with my dear friend, Shirley, after being apart for 42 years.  She is a wonderful friend that shares her energy and love freely with others in a new career as a therapeutic massage therapist.  My husband Sid loves me unconditionally and he makes me laugh every day.  He adores me too!  And my new friends and I give unconditional love and support to one another.  My battered spirit has been renewed by the flow of positive energy around me.  I have learned to be highly selective of the people I allow to be close, because the negative energy of the past was so toxic to my soul.  It is critical to always move forward and to solve whatever barriers may stand in the way of your happiness and peace.  Your home needs to be your absolute safe haven, because that is where you will become renewed after each encounter with external negative energies.  Your safe haven will become your anchor that will help to neutralize toxic events.  It is so important for you to stop being your own harshest critic; that is not compatible with your home's safe haven.  Be good to yourself and treat yourself with love, compassion, kindness and understanding.  Most of all, treat yourself with respect.  Wonderful things will come to you if you keep moving forward and if you pay attention to what you need.  You know, life is full of surprises!

My intent for this blog site is to share my thoughts on issues surrounding fibromyalgia and those things that I ponder when alone with my thoughts.  It is my hope that my shared thoughts create an environment of introspection and provide a forum for dialogue.  It is also my hope that despite the difficult challenges this illness presents that a positive energy prevails.  It is our collective positive energy that will lift us up and keep us all moving forward despite life's most difficult challenges.  We all walk together every day.  Blessings to you and to those that stand bravely and unwavering by your side.
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