“It can’t be that bad…”

You obviously don’t suffer as much as me.

You obviously don’t have FM/CFS/etc. since you can exercise.

You’re taking advantage of the system.

You’re not that sick!

These are all said to me over the past week (mostly by the same person.) Let me tell you, this has nothing to do with who I (or you) am. This has everything to do with the person who spoke these hurtful words. For years I allowed myself to live an unhealthy lifestyle because I falsely believed that my condition was to blame for this. After all, every time I tried to go for a walk I would end up in pain. If exercise causes you to flare, you obviously can’t do it, right? Therefore, since I exercise, I must not be in pain or it must not be that bad.

Wrong. DEAD wrong. I decided to do an experiment on myself. I decided that attempting to live healthily was a good goal to try and achieve. I never expected to exercise without pain. I knew from the onset that this would be a long, painful and difficult journey. When I first began to workout, I was often in a lot of pain afterwards. I kept my head up and hoped that as time went on, it would pass and the flares would diminish. Well, they didn’t.. not really. What did happen, however, was that my “normal” periods, my non flare periods, became wonderful. I began to feel normal for small amounts of time. The healthier I become in terms of weight, diet (the food I eat, not the calorie deficit) and muscle tone, the happier and better I feel. This makes it so much easier to mentally deal with the pain and sorrow of a pain flare. This helps me remember that, despite how crappy I might feel in the moment, I KNOW that it will get better and I CAN wait it out.

Fibromyalgia does not make a healthy lifestyle impossible. It does make it more difficult, but life with FM is already difficult, so what’s the point in not trying? You’re already in pain. You’re already suffering. Don’t you think you deserve to be happy and pain free when you’re not flaring? Don’t you think you deserve some hope, to know that when you finally come out of the flare, you feel fantastic? Don’t lie to yourself and tell yourself you can’t do it, that it hurts too much or that you don’t have the willpower. You absolutely do, you just have to believe it.

Love your body. Yes, it hurts, and fibromyalgia has taken from you not only your ability to move normally, but to do it pain free. I get it because I’ve been there and, in times of flare, I still am. I still walk into walls, bang into corners and cry in agony as the pain shoots up and down my body. I still drop things, I still have trouble getting up from a sitting position and I still hurt every single morning getting out of bed. I love myself enough to take care of me and the vessel I live in, despite its obvious flaws. I have learned to take care of me, even when nobody else would. You owe it to yourself to make some positive changes in your life.

The words said to me this past weekend hurt. They hurt because they had come from a person I once considered a friend. Yet I know deep down that these words have nothing to do with who I am, and everything to do with the person’s own denial. They have the power to change their life but refuse to, and my success causes them to face their own lies.

I am not successful because I’m not sick, I am successful because I fucking worked for it!

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7 Responses to “It can’t be that bad…”

  1. Celeste says:

    That’s incredible. Most days, I wake up and just go on existing as best I can. I’ve only recently started to really change my lifestyle to not include gluten, and then switched it out for sugar. I’m not doing anything else with my day because I can’t, so why not just try the 5 minutes of yoga? Why not do it even though I can’t get up off the ground afterwards?

    I’m not doing anything else.

    Thank you so much for working to find a (small yet very significant) painfree way of living your life. Reading this post has given me hope and I’d like to sincerely thank you for that. πŸ™‚
    So Thank you. πŸ˜€

    • Amber J says:

      Oh I’m so glad you found it inspiring!! I was worried that it maybe came across as harsh or judgy, thank you so much for your positive comment! I’ll be updating the site more often (if I can, if the kids let me…) with some short and easy ideas to get moving, little by little.

  2. Megan S says:

    Reblogged this on my chronic life journey and commented:
    This is why I’m trying to keep up with an exercise regime even though it hurts to do it. I am trying to reduce it down to a level that doesn’t increase the pain too much.

  3. Great post! Some people try to make you feel guilty for getting better, and try to make it seem like you weren’t even sick in the first place, when really they should be seeing your improvements as a source of inspiration! Keep it up!

  4. This post is fantastic! You have hit the proverbial nail on the head. I’ve encountered people who’ve said similar things. I don’t let it bother me anymore, if they can’t be bothered trying to understand my illness, I can’t be bothered trying to explain that everything I do is an attempt at maintaining my ability to function. I think people expect us to be writhing around on the floor screaming in pain non-stop, if we aren’t then we must be faking. Fuck them.

  5. Fantastic post. I’ve been frustrated by the fibro-related pain that most repetitive motion exercise causes or the times when MS makes things like walking difficult. I’ve put on a lot of weight since being diagnosed with MS in 2005. I do yoga and have had to modify from the start to adjust for that day’s energy, pain and mobility levels. When I’m consistent with yoga, my eating habits are healthier than when I don’t. I recently did a post that asked, “what would happen if we truly took to heart yoga’s idea that we are inherently good and are made from divine stuff (however you define that)? How would that change what we do for ourselves?” Well, I’ve been really keeping that in mind and its kept me from taking the easy (and often unhealthy) eating option even when I’m exhausted.

    Your post is a great inspiration to get back on my recumbent bike, even if it’s only for short periods of time. And even if it hurts like heck for a while afterwards. Keep rockin’ the great attitude.

  6. It can be really hard to deal with judgemental comments like the ones in your post, especially when they come from other sufferers who you would expect to understand more than healthy friends. I’m glad these comments haven’t knocked your resolve to do everything you can to manage your health.

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