Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Transforming Myself Into Ms. Fibro-Friendly

When I grow old I will have purple hair...?Image by Loving Earth via Flickr
Hello, my name is Ms. Fibro-Friendly and I am the queen of the workaround.

What is a workaround you ask?

Why it is figuring out how to do something in a new and novel way that respects both the limits my chronic illnesses impose and my desires to get things done.

The untold story here is the mental and emotional workarounds I needed to figure out to get myself to a place where I wanted to be Ms. Fibro-Friendly. Quite frankly, it's been a arduous journey to get to here:
  • First, I changed my thinking about my illnesses, from seeing them as short-term problems to solve to accepting that they are long-term fixtures in my life.
  • I started processing lots of emotions: anger, frustration, sadness, despair, doubt, self-pity, resignation and acceptance--not necessarily in that order.
  • Then I learned to stop comparing my current self with my past self, thus reducing the number of not nice things I said to myself on a daily basis.
  • After that, I bolstered my self-esteem to defend myself from comments, spoken and unspoken, by the nay-sayers, the fixers, the critics and the ones that just disappeared.
  • Finally, I realized I couldn't just keep waiting until I got better to start living again, so I embarked on a mission to live my life as best as I could despite my chronic illnesses.
Even with all this progress, there are still beastly days that make it almost impossible to hold onto my new-found identity as Ms. Fibro-Friendly. That's when I pull the big guns out:
  • When faced with something that seems impossible, I say to myself," I can do this, I just have to figure out how."
  • When totally overwhelmed, I pray, "Dear God, please help."
  • When caught up in a whirlwind of problems or emotions, I remind myself, "This too shall pass."
  • When disappointed and frustrated by how little I was able to accomplish today, I remember that, "Tomorrow is another day."
  • When I feel like cursing my fate over the size of my challenges, I repeat this quote: “God knows the age of every tree and the color of every flower. He knows just how wide your shoulders are and he'll never give you anything to carry that's bigger than you can handle."
Like I said, it's been a bumpy road with lots of challenges and small setbacks. But the more I practice mastering the workaround, physically, mentally and emotionally, the easier it becomes to carry my load.

And I think I'm getting so good at it that when adversity strikes, I just concentrate on growing bigger shoulders!

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Felicia Fibro said...

I love how you included the mental side of workarounds!

Migrainista said...

Ah, yes. The integration of the physical and mental is the best way for our whole selves to function at our best. Sounds like you have a great plan in place.

Emily said...

I wish I had as great a handle on my illnesses as you do, Selena!

I think acceptance of chronic illness comes w/age as any type of acceptance or wisdom does...and getting your disability!

Yeah, I definitely think I will be more accepting of my illnesses when I get my disability!

Barb said...

Acceptance of illness faces me everyday. Changing my plans for my life. Realizing that I'm not going to get well.
Thank you for your blog, I read it several times a week. It helps not to feel alone.

Kathy @ FibroDAZE said...

Acceptance is the hardest one for me, even almost 15 years after being dx'd w/ FM (but having it a lot longer.)

Rachel said...

Acceptance of self today is such an important side of feeling what Jenni calls, as well as possible, I think.