My Fibro Friends and I often talk about how we feel like we are two different people.
On one side is the person who is working, participating in our children’s lives and travelling to see family & friends.We either work outside the home or at home taking care of the house while raising our children or grandchildren. This is the person that we let the outside world see. They may know that we have Fibromyalgia or some of our other illnesses but we put on a smile, a positive attitude and continue living our lives. We are wearing our mask.
On the other side (Exactly one day later) is the person who lives daily with the chronic pain, fatigue and depression. The person who is crying on the inside and behind closed doors. We fight daily to prove we can work or to prove we are no longer able to work.
We often feel we have lost who we were and have become the disease. Just like Two Face we have the 2 sides at war with each other. We want people to understand how it feels to live life with Fibromyalgia and at the same time we do not want to be thought of as FIBROMYALGIA.
It takes a lot of work to look like you are someone not sick. You have to force yourself to put on your makeup, do your hair, wear clothing that looks nice (not usually comfortable on your skin) and the hardest thing is to put on the face that hides the exhaustion and pain.
It isn’t just our appearance that has two sides but it is who we are inside and what we share with others.
I share different sides of myself with different people. I became unemployed 3 months ago and I am on the search of a new career. I started out during interviews when asked why I left my previous job telling “my story”. Now, I have started to just say that I want fewer hours and be closer to home.
I pride myself on being an Advocate. I believe in education. It is the only way Fibromites will know what possible things to expect and treatment options and non-Fibromites to understand what we are going through. When I get a job I feel like I will only be able to share most of my life with my new co-workers.
I sent a picture to one of my girlfriends yesterday to show her my new hair cut. Earlier in the day I had told her that I was feeling blah. When she received the picture she responded with “I like the hair cut but I can seen in your face that you are looking blah” I replied, “I didn’t put my mask on today”. It was true. I was feeling blah. I wasn’t in pain. I was tired and feeling down. She told me that I didn’t need to put on the mask for her – we are friends. I thought about it. I may not need to put my mask on for her but I need to put it on for myself.
I wrote everything that you just read a week ago. It was announced last night on the news that Actor/Comedian Robin Williams had committed suicide. Today while the story unfolds I have been reading everyone’s posts and TV reports. His family is asking that we not remember his Death but remember his Life. I agree.
Everyone has their favorite Robin Williams characters. I will always remember him first for Mork & Mindy. It was the era I grew up in. Whether dramatic or comedic he was an amazing Actor. Watching the news clips you would see how when asked a serious question he would begin to answer and then go into some amazing unscripted bit. He put on his mask.
I saw the picture posted this summer on Facebook when he had stopped by the Dairy Queen in Lindstrom, Minnesota after a stay at the Hazelden Addiction Treatment Centre. He wasn’t wearing his mask. I could see it in his eyes – there was no sparkle.
Mr. Williams was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, depression and addiction. He lived an amazing life, yet somehow that wasn’t enough for him. He was done fighting.
I read the stats on depression, fibromyalgia and suicide. I do not want to become one of the stats. The battle isn’t easy. Heck, life isn’t easy – add anything that will cause stress and it is going to be difficult to not become depressed.
Don’t wait until the darkness is closing in on you. Reach out and find a good support group. Find a Friend, develop a calling chain, keep the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) near your phone.
Warriors, it takes more than your own strength to LIVE the lives we LIVE.
Reach out and be someone’s strength and they will be yours.
Why? Because we CHOOSE to be FIBRO WARRIORS ~ LIVING LIFE
for not just ourselves but our Family, Friends and Fellow Warriors.
The number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/