Relationships can be difficult for healthy individuals.
They are even harder when you add the complications of being in constant pain, severe fatigue, anxiety/depression and cognitive impairment.
There are many types of interpersonal relationships. Some of the various types are friendship, family, and work.
Fibromyalgia has changed all of my relationships. I have little energy to do the things that I used to do. I loved to go out and socialize. Now, I prefer to stay home in my comfy chair.
Fibromyalgia caused me to lose my career of 20 years. I have a wonderful job but the pay is 1/2 of what I was making previously leaving my spouse mostly financially responsible.
Being married to someone with fibromyalgia is not easy. It is common that the spouse feels stress, fatigue & loneliness. Couples are more likely to be at risk for divorce when one of them have a chronic pain illness.
27 years ago we agreed to “in sickness & in health” I don’t think that we really consider what that means when you say “I do”.
Prior to being ill my husband and I split the chores. He would take care of the outside and I would take care of the inside. I loved to cook new recipes, make breakfast in the morning and keep the house clean and decorated.
Not only does the spouse take on the financial burden, housekeeper but also as caregiver. reminding me to take medications, go to sleep, ice packs, etc…..
I am too tired or in too much pain to want to be intimate which puts a strain on my marriage.
I don’t have the energy so he goes without me. I can’t blame him. Why should he stop going to see movies because the lights are too bright, the noise too loud and it is painful sitting in the theater seats.
It is difficult enough taking care of yourself and your relationship with your spouse when you have fibromyalgia. Try being a “normal” parent. I became sick when our daughter was 9 years old. She was old enough to understand that mom was sick but still too young to have to grow up so fast.
It is hard for a child to see their parent crying, not able to walk without help and needing the child to be the caregiver. I am filled with more than the normal “parent guilt”. She just successfully completed her first year of college and has returned home for the summer. She immediately began to clean the house, grocery shop and be there for me again.
This past Mother’s Day, I received a lecture from my 19 year old that I needed to get out of the house more, needed to head back to swimming and start doing things with my friends. Most people would react that a child should not talk to their parent in this matter. It hurt but more because she is right. I have closed myself off more and more over the past few years.
Although, my pain is under control I find myself hiding from doing things scared that it will affect my health. It has affected me more emotionally/mentally.
I was the co-worker that planned the after work activities. I made sure that everyone had a birthday card and treats. They didn’t get just any treat. It would be their favorite. I took the time to learn what their favorite treat was and often made the treat myself.
I have a great group of co-workers but usually do not accept invitations to do things outside of work. The exhaustion of working is so extreme that I do not allow myself the enjoyment I feel when I am with others. I may text a couple of friends or facebook message them but that is the extent of my socializing. I actually try and avoid talking on the phone.
Outside of work my life consists of coming home, changing into my pajamas and sitting in my chair until it is time to go to bed. Once I was no longer a leader to a support group I stopped participating. I lost the reason for me to go, I was helping others. A few weeks ago, I realized that for 2 1/2 days I sat in my chair watching Netflix and playing solitaire.
Reading this over, I know I am doing wrong, what I should be doing but I can not seem to motivate myself to do it. How easy it is to help others and how hard it is to help ourselves. A lot of relationships have been destroyed because of my illnesses but probably none as bad as with myself.
After completing the above post I asked my daughter to read if for me. She said, “it’s good, but you need another paragraph”, “?” “Aren’t you Fibro Warriors ~ Living Life still? Where is your plan? How are you going to get out of this? You always have a plan, write it down and make yourself accountable”. I picked up my phone, texted my friend telling her I would go swimming after work on Tuesday.
Each night this week after work I will pick one of my to-do’s that I have promised others I would do and complete the task. I will post my to do’s on the kitchen counter and allow my family to check on my status.
I will do these things because as my daughter reminded me I have been able to manage my pain and continue working because I balance movement & rest, socializing and solitude but most of all I am and will continue to be a Fibro Warriors ~ Living Life.