Even a couple of years ago, in these kind of tough days, I used to shut down immediately and get all somber (sometimes we can't help it, but...), quietly hoping and expecting that my partner would give me pity and sympathy and be next to me. That, in turn made my partner shy away from my symptoms and keep his distance because it wasn't like he could do anything to make me feel better. My negative mood and attitude acted as a repellent, and nothing else. What i realized recently, as i looked back, was that my somber attitude and the passive/aggressive expectations for "support" was exactly what made my relationships not work at the end (among other things, of course).
The last couple of years of my life, as things turned for the positive and I have learned a thing or two about taking care of myself, I distinctly started to remember my childhood. My mother has had her battles with her health - she always used her lack of health to draw our attention and demanded so much care and sympathy, and later it got so bad to a point where we were always guilted into doing things for her as she pleaded with her health, even when she wasn't as sick. Eventually, I got tired of it all and i just shut down on her every time she started blaming me for being a bad daughter because i didn't meet her expectations. I was on my way to being that same person, and that was the last thing i wanted to be to anyone! NO WAY.
The fact is, flare ups are both physically, mentally and emotionally challenging. Naturally, we want someone to understand what we're going through and make us feel better. Another fact is, however, that after a flare-up there is always relief, and I've been through it many times. People in our lives, unless they have it themselves, have no idea what it feels like to have fibromyalgia-related pain symptoms. We can spend hours explaining it to make them understand, but at the end, they have no idea. And to be honest, i don't even want anyone to know what it's really like. it's painful as it is for me. So anyway, I really started thinking about these things as my relationship has started getting deeper and I have come to the conclusion that I truly care about the person I have been with for the past several months.
Going back to this morning, when i saw that my partner (let's call him J for now) was awake, I just quietly said to him that I was achy - him, being the genuine sweetheart that he is, asked me where, and i said "just all over." we managed to fall back asleep as he held me. That was so really nice. However, as the time came we had to get up and start the day, I was really struggling, but i didn't want to show it without adding a positive color to it. I just said that this too shall pass and that i'm just grateful that my flareups are only happening once every other month or so vs. every week when i was at my worst. I was going to go home, and just rest for the rest of the day, eating vegetables and fruit and waiting for the symptoms to dissipate. J asked a couple of times how things hurt and what i was going to do today (he was off to work also going to be out of town), I just kept smiling and said I was going to be fine. He asked "so is it fibromyalgia?" i just smiled and said "yes." Then finally he asked so innocently "can you die from it?" to which i replied "no, thank god, no...it's all fine." And i managed to give a cheerful good-bye as we were parting. I felt good. Of course, the drive home was painful, and this day in its entirety has been awful. But i was so happy that i was able to communicate my situation without shutting J down and creating tension that would ultimately do no benefit.
Just about an hour ago, I got a txt from J asking me how I was feeling. To me, that was more than enough care. I know he cares and he doesn't like me being in pain. and I can take care of myself, so i don't have to expect him or want him to take care of me when i'm suffering. So mutually, we're at a great balance of caring for each other and taking care of ourselves. it is a very important thing.
If the person in your life is genuinely not caring at all, then obviously we need to realize we deserve better. However, i believe that we have to be very careful not to burden others with our own and expect them to do something about it to make us feel better. We're not entitled to some kind of special sympathy or attention because of what we have - we should remember to appreciate the people in our lives and always remember to take ownership and responsibility of our health. With our positive attitudes, we will burden others less and they will be more genuinely caring and respectful of our situation.
I'm frustrated right now and my left side is just in so much pain, but i'm still smiling. I'm grateful I have a great life when i'm not in pain. I'm grateful for my relationship, for that special person that makes me laugh at all times. The last thing i want to do is burden him with something he cannot fix.
I'm looking forward to feeling better tomorrow. There's a lot to do, so hopefully I will be able to do most of them once my pain level subsides.
Oh btw, I did manage to cut 5.5 minutes off last year's half marathon time at the Surf City half marathon last weekend. It wasn't quite the 15 minutes i wanted to improve, but given the lack of training I was ok with the results. Now i have to work on meeting that goal at the Great Race of Agoura Hills Chesebro half marathon on 3/27!
God bless, and keep smiling at all times!