It sounds like something from a TV game show...
"Tell them what they've won, Johnny!", but instead of hearing "A new car!", you hear "You have Fibromyalgia."
Ummm... can I just take the parting gift of a years supply of Purina Goat Chow?
This is a print from one of the FM boards to which I belong. It is not my work and some of it is paraphrased, but it is excellent. It's from a conversation about comparing oneself (with Fibromyalgia) to someone without it.
You have fibromyalgia. You cannot compare yourself to someone who does NOT have it. It's not logical and is like comparing apples to... red meat. Irrelevant.
Having fibromyalgia means that all the following (and much, much more) are possible:
-- you'll have incessant, unrelenting, NON-STOP pain;
-- your emotions will be out of whack;
-- you'll have to ask for help when God KNOWS you'd rather die than have to ask for help
-- you'll have symptoms that are ridiculous and make NO damn sense.. not even to the doctors.
-- you'll have brain/chemical imbalances
-- you'll have cognitive difficulties
-- you'll want out of this ridiculous life that you never chose
-- you'll question the universe and the very beliefs that you hold near and dear and that make up your very essence
-- you'll ask Why me? It's not fair. Why me?
-- you'll ask why CAN'T I do anything anymore? It's not fair.
-- you'll wonder if you can do it. You'll think there's no way I can do this. I cannot go on.
-- you'll be depressed in ways that you've never been before
-- your body will give out in ways you could've never imagined
-- your life will be completely messed up.
You have Fibromyalgia.
No two fibromyalgia patients present with the same set of symptoms... (thus, we have no concrete cause, treatment or cure). If no 2 FM patients present with the same symptom set, then it makes no sense to compare ourselves to each other. Of course, that doesn't mean you can't "share" what's going on in your life and find value in learning how it "compares" to others. That's how we learn that we aren't alone and we learn better ways to cope with our lives and find the best one we possibly can manage.
That said, I maintain, you cannot compare yourself to someone who does not have Fibromyalgia. YOU have Fibromyalgia. On an FM pain scale, "our 5 would be a normals 10 and their 5 would be good the days for us." That's Fibromyalgia.
And until you've had it, you cannot begin to imagine how horrid it is; how life-altering it is. While we may admire these people for the lives they've lived and the character of their souls, they cannot begin to understand what it's like to have FM unless they have some very similar illness.
But through each other we gain strength. Maybe we can quit comparing ourselves to normals and accept ourselves where we are, right here, right now -- and in the meantime, throw away those out-dated concepts of strength that not only hurt us and throw us on a very bad mental path but also tear us down physically because we get stuck in this whole concept of what courage and strength is or is not.
You HAVE Fibromyalgia.
Having fibromyalgia can also mean that any of the following (and much, much more) are possible:
-- you'll learn that you are stronger than you EVER thought possible
-- you'll learn to grieve your losses and will become stronger for it
-- you'll learn to realign your thinking and throw away the "values" and "beliefs" that worked for you when you were "normal" but no longer work for you as someone with FM
-- you'll learn to ask for help when God KNOWS you'd rather die than have to ask for help
-- you'll learn to deal with symptoms that are ridiculous and make NO sense.. not even to the doctors.
-- you'll learn techniques to deal with and make it through these stupid brain/chemical imbalances and cognitive difficulties... even if it just means you keep on keeping on
-- you'll learn that you CAN go on. You CAN do it.
-- you'll want out of this ridiculous life that you never chose.. but you'll learn to live DESPITE the illness
If you ask me, strength and courage is having some terrible disease like Fibromyalgia but continuing to put one foot in front of the other, every single day and doing the best you can in the here and now to find the best life for YOU. In my book, THAT'S courage.