Chronic illness

Lessons from my constant companion fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a strict teacher. You adapt or you crash. It took me quite a long time to adapt. (I’m still adapting, to be honest.) I kept fighting and fighting, trying to will the pain and fatigue away. That obviously didn’t work. It might very well be the reason I’ve gotten even worse over the years. In fact, I got so ill that I had no other choice than to learn from my experiences.

These are my top 3 hard earned lessons.

1. Accept help

This has been a hard, but rewarding lesson. I used to feel like I had to manage everything on my own, and that asking for help was a sign of weakness and dependency. Fibromyalgia has taught me that accepting help is paramount. Without help I wouldn’t be able to live my day to day life. My family and friends have always been there for me, and now I also get the help I need in the home from the local health services.

2. Have patience

Oh, man, this is difficult! I want things to happen NOW, but with fibromyalgia it’s always one step forward, two steps back. Especially when it comes to exercise, which I love and miss a lot. I have learned to appreciate the things I can do when I can do them, and try not to expect¬† or even hope for the progress that healthy people get. Progress will come, but so painstakingly slow.

3. Never give up

There have been a few times over the years that I wanted to give up. There’s also a moment almost every morning when I wake up to the same pain, and I wonder if it’s all worth it. But then I think of my son who’s the light of my life. And the cats meet me when I go to the kitchen. Maybe the sun even shines. There’s always a reason to go on. Better days will come.


There are other lessons. So many lessons. Every day I learn something new, or am reminded of something I learned over the years. I think it’s a helpful exercise to think about what is gained, even though the loss can feel overwhelming.

I’ve lost the ability to work, but I’ve gained the ability to foster cats in need.

I’ve lost some friends, but I’ve gained new ones.

I’ve lost the person I was before, but I’ve become someone older, wiser and more relaxed.

It can be exhausting trying to look for the silver lining all the time, though. Sometimes you just have to mourn. 


Thanks to Lee at Fibro Blogger Directory for prompting a post about what we’ve learnt from living with fibromyalgia.