Chronic pain · Fibromyalgia

Stop Comparing Yourself

Here I am, fibro and all…

I tried desperately to work out the snooze function on my alarm as it sounded far too early on Tuesday morning. (Word of advice, if you’re too tired to remember how to hit snooze, it’s too early to wake up).  When I finally gave in and opened my eyes, I lay there asking “Why are you trying to keep up with everyone else?”

I made the committment last year to stop comparing my current life to pre-chronic life.  For some reason I had it stuck in my head that I needed to get back to my pre-Great Shutdown of 2013 self.  It was as though I was convinced that if I could get back to my old self, doing everything I had before I got sick, then it meant the fibro hadn’t won.  It would mean I was succesfully managing my illness.  Well, that was stupid.  Successfully managing my illness doesn’t mean getting back to the old-Elizabeth.  That’s not just possible.  Succesfully managing my illness means being the best version of the new-Elizabeth that I can be.  It means taking care of myself, pacing, resting, things I certaintly never did before I got sick.

Do I need to be at work so early just because everyone else is?  No.  What I do need is to ensure I get enough sleep each night.

So, while it seems part of me has accepted my new life, there is also a part of me (a part that, as it turns out, is much larger than I had realised) that still needs to be reminded that I can no longer keep up with everyone else.  And, more importantly, that I don’t need to.

I was much better at recognising and accepting this fact when I worked in an enviornment where everybody knew about my chronic life.  Having started at a new workplace where only a couple of people are aware of my limitations, I seemed to have regressed back. I know I look okay.  I know my new work colleagues can’t see my pain, my fatigue, my confusion.  Knowing this seems to have made me put the mask back on and pretend that I’m just like everyone else.

Well, today it stops.  Today, I’m reminding myself that to successfully manage my chronic life I may not need to take off the mask completely but I do need to do things my way, the way that is best for my body, and if that means revealing a little of my chronic life in the process than so be it.

10 thoughts on “Stop Comparing Yourself

  1. Great post Elizabeth! Isn’t it one of the hardest things we deal with, the fact that because we look and speak like we are not sick, people expect us to be ‘normal’ like they are. And the GUILT we feel! I just dealt with that yesterday when I was asked two times to commit to something in 2 weeks that would have unknown requirements on my time and energy. I kind of said ‘no’, but felt so guilty like I was dropping the ball, and being judged as someone who won’t ‘help out’. I don’t know how I’ll feel in 2 weeks let alone 2 hours from now! They know I have FMS, but because I seem like ‘everyone else’, they expect me to perform like it. Hang in there sister, sounds like your doing GREAT! I’ve been encouraged by your post 🙂

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  2. Okay, first, I hardcore love your sweatshirt. Genius. Second, we are constantly having to reevaluate and compensate according to our current situations, not what we used to be or how we used to live. I’m not sure I’ll ever feel great about everything I’ve given up, but push forward, we must. I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly taken a lot less for granted than I used to. Hugs and love to you.

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  3. This is a big part of what I am going through right now…at home but especially at work. Most of my co-workers don’t know that I even have this condition and the ones that do, don’t understand it. I’ve had so many comments made to me that have hurt so badly and make me feel that I can’t do my job like everyone else. I know it’s true that I can’t but no one there knows and just thinks I don’t want to do the work or that I’m just wanting attention which I hate attention on me in the first place. That might be why it really bothers me cause they’re all looking at me in bad way. Or some of them are at least can tell from the comments made to me. By the end of the week I’m so exhausted I come home and sleep till the weekend. Thank you for your post..its going to help me. Sorry such a long post but you gotta talk to someone…why not others that are going thru the same thing. Thank you for time

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    1. No worries at all, Danielle. I completely understand. I went through the sleeping all weekend phase last year before it dawned on me that everyone else at work was enjoying their weekends. Why was I busting my gut to keep up with them at work and then paying for it in my time when they weren’t? I really do hope my post helps you

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  4. I’ve had this since 07′ I’m 54′. I feel I’m at the end of my rope. I’m so tired of making people think I don’t care. Then judge me when they see me out with my wonderful man! He has to drag me out. It’s exhausting just getting a shower. I’ve tried everything. Drugs don’t work, excersize is a circle. If I can’t move just to get through a day’ how do I change. This leads to Great Depression! Just give up. The ones that judge me’ I can’t deal. I mean no harm. Just so sick all the time;(

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  5. Stop being mean to yourself, do what you need to do and be grateful that you get out of bed everyday and are able to do to work, it is enough. After spending a year in bed, grieving for my old life I decided to do something about it. I didn’t suddenly jump out of bed, it wasn’t possible, but I began knitting tiny bootees for the premature baby unit at the hospital, to get my hands moving again and I began to meditate daily for just a few minutes. I began listening to all the aches and pains, I began listening to myself. After two years of being gentle but determined with myself I get out of bed most days and have even been known to go out and socialise with others occasionally too.

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