In honor of May 12 Fibromyalgia awareness day here’s a few things I try to remember when I’m in a flare:
1. There is an ending to a flare, even if it is not in sight
We never know how long a flare will last, but the good news is it is called a flare for a reason. It will eventually pass. It is difficult to transition from feeling better to feeling terrible so keep in mind that no matter how difficult it is you will eventually transition to a better place. Having a chronic illness is like being on a roller coaster that never ends. It’s unending ups and downs, but every time you go down you know that you will eventually go up again. Hold onto that.
2. Don’t blame yourself
As soon as we enter a flare we all start blaming ourselves for what we did to cause it. We ate too much junk food, we partied too much with our friends, we exercised too hard, we spent too much time working, etc. etc. There is no point in blaming ourselves, we did what we did so we just need to learn from our mistake and resolve to do better next time. Our bodies just didn’t want to cooperate with us.
Guilt is the hallmark of chronic illness, but at the end of the day it doesn’t do anyone any good. Feeling guilty will not help you feel better. What will help you get better is going back on your healthy diet, spending time resting, and doing easier exercise. Focus on the positive steps you’ve made instead of the mistakes.
3. Engage in self preservation
When you have a chronic illness you have to learn to be selfish. It’s similar to when you’re on an airplane and you are supposed to put your oxygen mask on first before you assist someone else. With chronic illness you can’t be there for somebody else until you take care of your own health. Take time to practice some self care. Make sure your boundaries are followed, don’t let anyone pressure you into doing something you can’t do. Find something that makes you happy and will help you to feel mentally better even if you aren’t feeling good physically. Granted, this advice doesn’t always work for me because I’m a parent and I always have someone I need to take care of. So when I’m not feeling well I focus on mine and my children’s needs and nobody else. Sometimes that means I have to drop the ball somewhere else, but if I don’t take care of myself I will be useful to no one. At the end of the day you have to make yourself a priority.
*See this post at Friday Linkup