Who Cares?

Originally posted on Prohealth.com on October 8, 2016

whocaresWe have all done it. We have lied or told half truths when asked the question, “How are you?”.

How many people in our lives do we share our true level of pain we are feeling every day, physically and emotionally?

As I walk down the school hallways every day to refill my water bottle I pass a Teacher who always says “Hi!” and asks “How’s it going?

I smile (a forced smile), replying “Hi!, Good.”

I caught myself in my head the other day saying “Liar, Liar Pants on Fire”. I am anything but good.

When asked how are you by a co-worker or a store clerk it’s more of a common courtesy question. Am I being rude by not responding when asked how I am doing? Or is it okay, since they are not asking for real because “How are you?”, is simply a greeting not an invitation to unload your daily list of complaints.

Can you imagine if I replied, “My neck and back are causing me a new intense pain. It hurts to turn my head. It is causing headaches. I can’t get the right balance between not able to go to the bathroom or having to go to the bathroom ASAP. My right hand has started hurting when using scissors, etc. My knee feels like it is going out every time I try to stand. I had to be helped into the bathtub this weekend.”

If we began answering the truth how long would it take for that person to stop asking?

I get it. I have known people who tell everyone absolutely every negative detail in their lives. It gets old.

What about our family or the people that live with us?

Eventually for many of us those that we live with stop asking. Maybe they just assume they know the answer already. It doesn’t mean they have stopped caring.

My daughter is 16, she is busy surviving high school. I don’t expect it of her.

I mentioned to my husband awhile ago that he doesn’t ask me how I am feeling any more. He said, “I don’t have to, I can tell by how you get out of the chair and how you are walking.”

Ok, so he sees it but that really isn’t what is needed.

The past few weeks I have acquired new health problems and a very high level of pain. It has kept me from doing things that I would normally push through and has brought me to tears daily.

Then just this weekend we were hosting a cross country bon-fire and I was asked, “What do you need help with?” I muttered under my breath, “Just end it.”

It has crossed over the line of just physical pain and is now affecting my emotional well-being.
I am to the point where I have to let the truth out because if I keep answering “fine,” I will find myself on the road to depression.

Are we more likely to open up about physical pain than when we are feeling depressed?

I think it is easier or more acceptable for someone to comment “my knee has been killing me” than “emotionally/mentally I am …”

What if someone asked, “How are you today?”, and we replied, “I want to jump.”

Can you imagine how others would react? Instead, we answer fine, good or in my case on crummy days, “peachy”.

What if there is no one you can tell the whole truth? No one to listen to you cry? Crying alone is one thing but crying in a room with others without any reaction is being alone.

Often we stop sharing the truth when we answer because it is easier for us. It’s much harder to share our long list of ailments. We want to be polite. We don’t want to ruin the other person’s day. We don’t want to be “a downer” or “negative.”

Those living with chronic pain such as fibromyalgia often become isolated. It is so easy to focus on our pain. It’s easy to feeling alone when you can’t talk about how you are really doing.

Thank goodness for support groups where we can share the truth of how we’re really feeling.

Everyone needs someone in their lives where they can share the truth to the question…

“How are you.”

A year in review…

Facebook shows us everyday what we posted in previous years.

I have enjoyed reading the past posts and started to notice a pattern in my posts from 3 years ago. They were not the same as the posts of 2015.

My posts on my personal Facebook page from 2012 are so negative.  It is common to see one word posts in the middle of the night such as “up” or “migraine”. Day after Day,  I have been reading how I was not able to sleep, was suffering from migraines and had unmanageable fatigue & pain.

Three years ago, I was working a high stress job with lots of responsibilities. My pain and fatigue levels were averaging an 8 and I was doing what I could do just to make it througImage result for work stressh the day.  It had become such a stressful environment that it was harming my health.

My hours had been changed to a start time of 10:00 a.m. so that I could work within my FMLA guidelines of working under 7 hours. I would wake up each morning take my medicine and either crawl out of bed to go swimming or go back to sleep for 2 hours before going to work. I had no choice. My body & mind would not work unless I did one of them.

I was attending water classes 3-4 times a week. I would see both my acupuncturist and chiropractor once a month. I had ice packs, a heating pad, a sunlight lamp, sunglasses, a foot rest, pain pills, apple cider vinegar and my water bottle in my office to help me while at work.

We were understaffed and had experienced quite a few personnel changes. I was trying to do the job of 2 in a 6-7 hour day. The fatigue and brain fog would strike and it became such a struggle to stay at work past 6 hours. It was like I hit a wall at 3:00 p.m. every day. I was often afraid I would fall asleep while driving home.

During the week I was worthless to my family. However, no matter how much pain I was in I refused to miss any of our Daughter’s activities.  So weekends were filled with volleyball tournaments, household chores and trying to get as much recovery as possible before the start of the new week.

It has been proven that stress can not only aggravate Fibromyalgia symptoms but cause Fibromyalgia. I lost my job of 21 years in April 2014 and started my new job that September.

Starting a new job in a completely different industry should have caused enough stress to put and keep me in a tremendous flare. Instead, it was the best thing for me. The job was challenging but in a fun, exciting and positive environment.  There has been so many benefits. The job is only 10 minutes from home. I am able to spend school days off with our Daughter and it is an extremely rewarding job.  I find myself excited to tell my family about all the great things that happened instead of needing to tell someone how tough my day had been.

Image result for time for changeMy health slowly began to improve. My flares became less often and not as severe. I was able to reduce some of my medications and doctor appointments. In addition, I found a PT who helped eliminate a lot of my pain using the myofasical strain-counterstrain technique.  I learned new techniques to manage my diagnosed 20 diseases/syndromes. I still suffer from severe fatigue but my pain is at a manageable level.

I am confident that I would not have had felt well enough to attempt any of the amazing experiences that I had in 2015 if I had still been working at such a stressful job.

In the past year,  I began volunteering with the NFMCPA as a Leader Against Pain, was hired as a writer by ProHealth.com and began taking a course to become a Fibromyalgia Health Coach.

Never being a traveler in the past I traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico (climbed 2 volcanoes), went to Boston, MA to conduct an Interview and go whale watching, attended the TAP conference working with the NFMCPA in Washington, D.C,  and so much more!

I have met the most amazing people this year.

I have made lifetime friends and family.

It is wonderful what a difference a year can make in your life and the environment that you spend it!

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