Living with
FM and other chronic illnesses
Resistance is futile

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Despite what the tile says, this is not about "giving in" to Fibromyalgia or any number of other chronic ailments. This is about what we all tend to do, which is resist the changes the disease demands. We all try and fight doing the things that we need to do, in order to "let the dragon sleep" on site link.

We totally HATE the fact that some disease now has control over our lives. The disease has no mind, despite how it often seems that it does. It is not out to "get us." It is what it is, period. And it has an often-long list of things that will set it off or make things worse for us. We either live our lives according to its "rules" for lack of a better term or, we suffer for it.

We tend to shove away this idea.. with force.This is not a bad thing, to a point. As this is the same drive that makes us try and find ways to make things better for ourselves. It is the things that we must give in on
, to avoid flare ups, and spirals that we do NOT want to do however, that we tend to have trouble with.

Example: If you are a diabetic and you find that you have to eat or not eat, according to whatever the numbers say you should. I know of no one with DB who does not cuss this idea. My husband being a prime example. We rail at the idea... because are not children. We do NOT like being told what to do, or how to do it. Especially if it means going hungry or stuffing ourselves with more food than we want, to counter the insulin we are required to take. (Insulin lowers your blood sugar, weather it needs lowering or not, so this is a real concern. )


For FM this means that we avoid things like:

Taking a break:
To a man, we resist this idea. Even if it means the infamous Push Crash, on site link. What we all tend to do on the "good" days, is to try and get everything done that we had to let go on the bad days. This is without a doubt, our worst mistake.  It is not just the idea that things need doing, it is also the fact that others will try and guilt trip us into doing more than is good for us. Which often happens, as society at large does not understand FM. But we even do it to ourselves as we are not going to " let FM win." We even call ourselves FM warriors, as for us, it is a fight every day of our lives. However, FM holds all the cards in this game. But we try, HARD, to game that system, often out of sheer stubbornness. This behavior comes at a cost.

Deferment:
Where we have to delay or outright delegate tasks to others. This one comes very hard. Most Fmers are and were, very strong minded and independent people, before Fibromyalgia struck. We are not used to asking for help. It feels like we are weak, helpless and a whole host of other adjectives, that make us want to scream. We fight tooth and nail, rather than accept this. Now, the facts are you are NOT weak, or helpless. You are NOT shirking your responsibilities. None of those negative words that ramble around your head, are true. But it is very hard to believe that, when everyone from your PCP or specialists are trying to put all the blame on you. But you need to delegate tasks anyway.

Not asking for help:
Life with FM is like having a clumsy roommate ... who talks too much. Who has to be brow beaten into doing their fair share, much less extending a hand to help you when you need it. But to persist we must ask for a hand.. and at times, outright demand it, if our life is to have any hope of being productive. This is a learning process. We, who were typically very independent, have to relearn how to rely on others. As that is what we are in fact, doing. It is not about, as it often seems, becoming co-dependent. This is the bug-a-bear we all are afraid of. No, it is a process whereby, we must give up control over every little thing and trust someone else... to do it. And at the same time, to NOT feel any guilt or shame for the fact that we cannot... do it all.

Guilt trips and loss of control:
Now, keep in mind, this... do it all ... with gusto, plays just fine in beer commercials. It does not work well in real life. We never did... do it all. We like to think so, boy...do we like to think so.  But the fact is, back when we thought we could do whatever we set our mind to, we felt perfectly in control. So, it did not matter if this thing or that, was farmed out to someone else. Truth be said, being able to do so is something we looked on as being powerful. As being so in control, that we even controlled the actions of others.  But now that we cannot do it all and must ask for...ugh... help we count this as shameful. Nonsense, on both counts.

To start with, the whole guilt trip thing is not only bad mentally... it is bad on the body. "Guilt is fueled by negative thinking. Studies show that thinking negative thoughts increases the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol and adrenaline can increase heart rate, blood pressure and inflammation throughout the body (Share care )"

Shame is another one that seems harmless enough right? No so: 
Frist off, let us clear up a little misunderstanding. Shame and embarrassment are not.. one in the same.

Embarrassment = feeling self-conscious and ill at ease as a result of something that happened. It can be a temporary result of a situation.

Shame = feeling of distress at having done something wrong or foolish. It can be caused by humiliation or guilt. ( Ouora  )

Note: Only in one of these situations, is there any chance of you having done something to create it.  The problem is with the words themselves. Words tend to mean, whatever we THINK they mean. Our "inner" understanding of the words Shame or Embrassment, can be considered one in the same thing. The proper term for this effect, is polysemy if your interested.

Guilt and humliation are things that are often.. grafted on to our brains. In short, we are taught that X situation equals time to feel shamed/guilty. It is a learned effect, nothing more. Which means you can UN learn it, the same way you learned it to start with. By realizeing that you have no need to feel shame or guilt, if you have done nothing to create the situation.

Endless round of guilt, shame can = Depression

It's estimated that up to one-third of people with a serious medical condition have symptoms of depression. LINK

With everything that goes on in our lives, this should come as no suprise, however, as noted above
"Guilt is fueled by negative thinking"  The longer you insist on.. feeling bad.. about what you can no longer do and or have to have help to do... the longer you will.. feel bad. Which sounds like an oxymoron to even say it. But, it happens to be true.  "Depression caused by chronic disease often makes the condition worse, especially if the illness causes pain and fatigue or it limits a person's ability to interact with others. Depression can intensify pain, as well as fatigue and sluggishness. The combination of chronic illness and depression might lead you to isolate yourself, which is likely to make the depression even worse."LINK

Which is why.. resistance is fuitle ... As resistance to what is our reality, just makes it all that much worse. Round we go and down, to more down, to down again. We all know this feeling. It is so tempting, as it seems so ...real. Aren't we suposssed to feel bad if we pawn off our "duties" to someone else? Answer,  if you are in fact "pawning" things off that you can in fact do .... without major costs in pain, then perhaps you DO have an issue.  But more often than not, the guilt trip just one of the many fears ( on site link ), that come with any major illness.

As let's face it, for most of us, we have "learned" to feel bad, anytime we cannot " take care of our own affairs" Be adult. Be responsible. Right? I mean, that is what "everybody" says.. isn't it ?............NOT!!! BIG FAT RASEBERRY ... on the whole thing. As that is not us. We did not ask for this and we are not to blame for any of it. 

FM holds the cards here, we just have to play the hand we are dealt, or suffer round after round of pain and debility. Feeling guilt over having to ask for help, a fact that we have NO control over, just because someone else is telling us that we are "being a whimp"( insert whatever hateful coment here ) for asking, is self inflicted torment. FM hands us quite enough torment on any given day of the week, thank you. We certainly do not need to reach out for ( or allow someone to heap) more misery on our heads than the disease itself, already creates.  

Limit contacts with the guilt train:

Anyone who "cares" about you, will understand an honest request for help. They will understand the need for the limits that the disease itself, comands. They will understand that guilt trips are pointless roads to nowhere. They will not lay down resentment as a track to run the train on. Nor, let you get on the guilt train, yourself.


Anyone in your life however, who persists in trying to make you feel bad, for asking for help, is perhaps someone that you need to limit contact with. As they are quite frankly, someone who cares more about themselves, than they do you.