This morning, I woke up with sharp pains in my lower back and glutes, and heavy feelings all around my body, especially my legs. I pushed myself to get up and moved around a bit, but it was impossible to loosen up my muscles. I went for a walk hoping to walk the tightness off, but instead I felt fatigued, which shortly after I fell hard into my bed and didn’t get up for the next five hours.
I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary this weekend when it comes to training. I ran 4 miles on Saturday followed by conditioning work, then on Sunday I was on the bike trainer for an hour at moderate intensity. I did yoga afterwards. I did have a few weeks of long work hours leading up to it, perhaps sitting for long hours for weeks did it for me at the end…but regardless of what the real reason was, I was frustrated.
I have been in a new relationship this past couple of months. I have to say, having fibromyalgia and managing a relationship is tougher than I thought. I have laid out my condition from the get go and I know he knows that I have it, but I know for sure he doesn’t have a clear idea as to what is entailed in it. I am so outgoing and energetic and active normally it is difficult for anyone to imagine me completely helpless in bed, completely shut down from my world. But that is the world that I have to face, and unfortunately the person in my life has to face it too...eventually. Now that, people, I have been having a really tough time with. I never want to expose myself to my significant other when I am weak, I only feel comfortable with my strong side. It is a silly kind of pride, I know. But to be blunt I have no idea how to deal with this kind of situation without making either myself or the other person potentially really uncomfortable.
So today, over the phone, I had to totally muster up all my energy to sound chirpy despite the pain and discomfort, as I was too worried about how he would feel about me being completely helpless and useless all day. He asked me if I needed anything – I said no, it’s just my every day thing, I’m used to it, bla bla bla… I could not get myself to say, yes, it would help me greatly if you could come by and help me have some water and eat some food, cuz I’ve been just starving all day long. But no, I had to sound in control and the last thing I wanted was for him to think that my condition could turn me into a weak person. Not that I think he would think that way, but it is my stupid ego to always wear the image of a strong person – because I am! Vulnerability is not my element…which ends up hurting me at the end.
But then I thought – why am I so cryptic and silent about the fact that I still have fibromyalgia symptoms, especially when I’m actually having them – am I ashamed? I am certainly proud of my accomplishments within the confines of my conditions – in fact I am grateful for being able to do more than I or anybody else had told me I could do. But what about my weaker side, am I proud of it? Perhaps I have been constantly touting my strong side and what I’ve accomplished, but been hiding my weak side, because, I was shameful of it? I am shameful of the weakness in me, when it was this very weakness that made me strong?
I know there is a balance in this life that I have to find – while pursuing my health by doing the things I do, I need to accept myself as someone that can be very weak and need others’ help from time to time. I only recently opened up to my closest friends to help me when I’m vulnerable, so I know it is going to take me some serious amount of time to let anyone new in my life to understand me and let that person see my vulnerable side. It is harder than I imagined. I really care about this person, so while I want to make sure I don’t overwhelm him with what I have, I would also be fooling him if I only showed my strong, energetic and strong side. But for now, I will admit I do still feel comfortable with my strong side…for now. In the mean time, I have to learn how to be vulnerable without feeling like I have to hide under my bed.
I shouldn’t have to feel shameful for my symptoms. It’s something I need to embrace, not merely cover up with my training and racing. I am not in denial of the fact that I have fibromyalgia, perhaps I never wanted it to rule my life anymore, but I do need to accept it a little more and embrace the fact that I have my condition…but be more proud of the fact that I’m working hard to overcome it.