I had a pretty frustrating visit at the doctor last week. I’m naturally an optimistic person (my father insisted on it), but when it comes to doctors’ visits, the optimism doesn’t serve me well. Hope rises up in me each time that I go that something will click with the doctor during my visit that will help us find the key to “fixing” my fibromyalgia. Yet I usually end up in tears in the parking lot. I’m constantly in pain and the fact is that I can’t even remember what it’s like NOT to be in pain. I yearn for relief, to understand what’s going on with my body, and to feel strong again.
Every time I see a doctor, they always seem pretty confident and optimistic initially as well, but when my body doesn’t respond to treatment the way it should, you can tell that they get puzzled and frustrated too.
I’m learning to recognize the frustrated look on their faces. It’s not that they aren’t trying to help. It’s that we’re in a bit of uncharted territory. The things that should work, don’t, and one thing seems to negatively impact the other. It feels like my fibromyalgia is a complicated algebra problem with about 6 different variables that all affect each other.
So I’ve decided to adjust my strategy.
I’m going to give up the frustrating, disappointing optimism and embrace reality. Instead of constantly hoping and waiting for the day when we “figure this out”, I will just accept things the way they are. It’s been almost 10 years since the onset of my fibromyalgia and no matter what, I can’t go back to how things were when I was 30. (I’d really like to take back any of the complaining I used to do and griping about my weight.)
Tonight I found this article on The Spoon Theory from a link on Living on a Dime. It gives a wonderful way of explaining to other people what it’s like to have a chronic illness. As I read it, it helped me to realize that even though I know I have a more limited amount of “spoons” now, I’ve been waiting for years to find all of my old lost spoons.
And sometimes it’s about as realistic to think that I’m going to find those old spoons as it is for me to think I’m going to find every sock we’ve ever lost in the dryer. (Not likely!) Tonight was very liberating. The boys helped me go through our basket for wayward socks to find mates and this time instead of hanging on to the lone socks, we just threw them away.
Yep, I freed up space in my laundry room and now I’m ready to free up some space in my mind. I’m going to be thankful for the spoons I have each day, take good care of them, and quit expecting to have as many spoons as I used to.
It may not be the most optimistic attitude, but I think it’s going to help me be more content. Don’t worry, I’m not going to turn into a Negative Nelly. I’m just going to keep my focus on what is true (my current limitations) and what is right (God loves me and is with me in all of this).
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8
How do you balance your optimism with reality? What are your tips for making it through the hard times?