One of the most difficult things for someone with Fibro to navigate is processing emotions. When we become aware of what we are feeling, whether that is pain or pleasure, there are countless thoughts and emotions that are churned up in an instant, and then we are quickly swamped, overwhelmed, and paralyzed. For example, when my friend says, do you want to go take a walk? Instead of answering yes or no, these thoughts quickly fire:
- I do, but I’m so tired! What if I get tired along the way and can’t walk home?
- And if I say that, will she think I’m exaggerating? It just sounds so stupid!
- But if I just say yes, and I push through my pain and fatigue, then I’m not listening to my body.
- But can I really trust my body? It’s telling me I have pain but there’s no medical explanation for the pain, so maybe it’s not real.
- My quality of life depends on my ability to socialize and be normal, so maybe I should just go, even if it’s hard. And I should suffer in silence, because it’s not ok to constantly complain.
If you have ever identified with this list of thoughts/feelings, then you know it is not a simple matter of yes or no. thoughts and feelings whirl through our minds, sending a confusing mixture of messages. For the person with Fibro, this type of internal conversation takes place numerous times over the course of a day. It’s exhausting, that’s certain.
So, what can we do to resolve this debate? How can we disengage from this spiral conversation with ourselves? First, when you hear yourself getting pulled in to your noisy head, push your pause button. Take three long, slow breaths, close your eyes, just breathe. This calms your nervous system, allowing your thoughts to slow down and your body to relax a bit. Now comes the good part.
In that moment when you are faced with a decision, understand that you have choices. Any choice you make will be ok. They might lead to different paths, they might have different outcomes, but all choices are fine. They’re fine because they are yours. The important part is to own the choice you make, no matter what. So, if you choose to go walking with your friend and you end up very tired and achy, that’s ok, because you chose to spend time with a friend. If you choose to stay home and rest, that’s also ok, because you chose to conserve your energy for later. All good. My point is, it doesn’t matter what you choose. What matters is that you have choices; that you feel free in your mind to make a choice that’s right for you.