One of the first bridges I had to cross on my fibro journey happened when I had my initial diagnosis. You can probably relate: after days and weeks and months of consultations, you finally got a letter in the post. It isn’t anything special, in particular. Just a white envelope, stamped as usual and containing a message from the doctor. For me, it was what that message said which caused a problem.
My family and I had expected, if not hoped, that I would have fibromyalgia; not because it was the easy route, but because it meant that I didn’t have to worry any longer. What we weren’t expecting, however, was the impact that it would have on my mental state. Funnily enough, getting a diagnosis of a lifelong illness (and a painful one, at that) is a nasty experience.
I had a whirlwind of emotions that day; relief, regret, resignation, but most of all, it was the churning sensation in the pit of my stomach that hit me hardest. In the time it took for me to read that letter, my life had changed. I wasn’t the same person as I had been two minutes earlier. The bubbly, motivated, fast-paced girl everyone once knew and loved had been replaced by a walking misery.
Because how can you be happy when you have to spend the rest of your life in pain? What’s left to live for when laying in bed takes effort, and getting out of it is even worse? Why would anybody choose to spend the rest of their life suffering, knowing that there is no cure? It took me a long time to figure it out.
The answer is this: there is more to life than your own body and mind.
It’s selfish, I know, but as an 18 year old girl I only really knew what it meant to push onwards and upwards, to “achieve” and “progress”. For me, that had always meant a good career, a wealth of knowledge, and a secure home in which to build my empire. That was my future. What I now realise is that, as wonderful as all this sounds, there is more to life than the future. There is the now. Like that cheesy saying goes, “today is a gift, that’s why it is called the present”. It might sound silly, but it’s true. Don’t take what you have for granted and, likewise, don’t knock it. What you have is beautiful- the people, the places, and the sea of memories that you collect as you go. Most importantly, make the most of it. Don’t waste your time worrying about that thing you’ve forgotten, or why your fibro fog made you leave your keys in the fridge, instead, laugh about it and use it as an excuse to call your friend up.
So then, what does all this mean?
Well, at the end of the day, we’re all stuck here on this earth, and nobody really has it easy. Yeah, you might feel depressed, and yeah, you might not be able to make it downstairs today, but why let that get you down? Why be miserable when you can change that?
My advice to you? Change your today so you can achieve the tomorrow you’ve always dreamed of. But in the meantime, enjoy what you have, even if it’s only a handful of painkillers and a season or two of your favourite Netflix binge.