30 May No. 2 – Why do I treat myself like sh!t
There are so many facets to this conversation that need to be had. There is the personal level, the guilt, the shame, the binge eating, and the feeling sorry for oneself. Then we have our level of acceptance. Why did this happen to me? I can’t believe that I am stuck in my bed AGAIN! This F*@king sucks! Then there is the anger. Fuck, I just want my old life back. I am fighting this until it is the last thing I do! I know that I am not the only one who has these thoughts. Let’s be real, most people have these thoughts on a daily basis WITHOUT having Fibromyalgia. Then I had the realization (really it was only a few ago) that I was an asshole to myself. If I had any other chronic illness, there is no way that I would be sulking around feeling sorry about it! Why was this any different? Working in the health and wellness sphere for a long time, I think of people who are diagnosed with cancer. I have seen so many people diagnosed with cancer – and they turn around and take every last minute to spend time with their family, nourish their body, they might dip into meditation, stop working, and probably reconnect with themselves and their lives as deeply as they can. So why am I not taking this as serious as cancer or another type of chronic condition? Is it because we know what cancer is, we know that there are actionable steps that we can take that have worked before in others? Is it because there are sometimes guaranteed methods of knowing it will either be cured or you will pass on?
I honestly think that it is because death could be inevitable with cancer. Either cancer patients are lucky enough to WANT to change their habits and help their body heal, or they’re going to die. So they are able to ask themselves” Why not live while finding out what the outcome ultimately is?” Fibromyalgia is different in a sense because we don’t know what causes it, we don’t have tried and true methods to solve the whole host of ailments that come along with the condition.
But what if we don’t need there to be? What if we just decide to look at this condition as something serious, just as one would most likely with cancer?
Why is it that when we find out we have cancer we can look at the body and go, “WOAH! I need to figure my shit out, I want to live, I need to start caring!” And it becomes possible to make the necessary changes without hesitation. “I want to LIVVVVEEEEE”.
I have spent the last 6 years digging into the research, trying medications, going to many doctors, having sleep tests done on me, visiting acupuncture doctors, osteopathic doctors, naturopaths, tried every diet, many supplements, and no matter what I did I still hated my life. I still couldn’t believe this was me. I wanted answers. In fact, I needed an answer, before I could start doing anything. I needed a plan and structure – a guide to making sure I was going to be better.
Step 1 and the only step that matters really:
Stop looking outside for answers. YOU are the guide.
Our bodies are a vast network of chemical reactions and energy transfers. It is so complicated. I think it will be a long time before we can fully comprehend the true nature of our body’s inner workings.
But, what is clear as day, are the signals that it is giving us on a daily basis. Some people get signals like a cancerous tumor (“It’s not a tumor!”), other people will get migraines, IBS, chronic pain, inflammation, weight gain, allergies, skin issues, diabetes, and so on. Oh wait, I just described a FEW of my many, symptoms.
But it is saying “DUDE, WAKE UP” and it will keep doing it until you listen.
If it was so simple, why haven’t I perfected it yet? Why didn’t I listen to these signals a long time ago?
Honestly, I was too busy feeling sorry for myself, feeling guilty, holding on to shame, eating and running away.
But I had a real heart to heart moment with myself in this realization and I accepted the fact that:
- My body keeps me breathing and my heart pumping every day without fail.
- My body keeps standing up for me.
- That regardless of how much shit I put my body through, it continues to show up for me
- That it has created life!
- It bares all my scars and pain (inside and out!)
- That I need to start treating my body with a lot more love
- That the mental “me” had a lot of work to do. A lot of respect give back in any way I could.
I am not saying that this is easy! I am still having hard days. The pain hasn’t magically disappeared, nor do I have energy to go rock climbing and weight lifting in one day like I used to – but I have decided to work with my body instead of against it all the time.
To trust that it has the ability to thrive. That I am not broken physically or mentally, it is just going to take some work.
Whatever is physiologically not working is capable of coming back into balance and when I say balance, I am not talking about a “cure” for fibromyalgia, but more of a way to LIVE AS ONE WITH FIBROMYALGIA.
We need to change the VOICE behind fibromyalgia. That means to say, the one in our head, the one we use when talking to others, the one we share and feel deep inside.
How we do this is going to look different for everyone. I understand that life has its limitations in terms of work, family, kids etc. but what we CAN change is the way we treat ourself. The way we project out into the world. Get ready for some cheese here….
HAPPINESS REALLY DOES START WITH YOU. NOTHING AND NO ONE CAN CHANGE THAT.
I am not perfect. I have just realized this actually -perfectionism – one of the many pitfalls of all humans. Why are we so hard on ourselves? Why do we treat ourselves as if we are garbage. I would never think of pushing someone as much as I push myself. I would respect them for where they are at and give them a break!!
So here is what I have been trying to practice in my every day life, to start changing the VOICE of my fibromyalgia.
RESPECT – Respect yourself enough to walk away from anyone or anything that is no longer serving you, that no longer inspires you to grow, or doesn’t fulfill your deepest desires. This includes your own MIND!
If you are having a hard time with the constant mind chatter, anxiety, guilt, shame that you might be feeling, try to garnish some respect for yourself. Look at the words you are using, the tone of voice you use with yourself, or how you listen to your body’s signals. When you need to rest, rest. When you need to be alone, in a dark room, do it. Do whatever you need to do to allow for some time to respect your body and what you need to grow and be happy.
“Loving yourself starts with likeing yourself, which starts with respecting yourself, which starts with thinking of yourself in positive ways.” – Jerry Corsten
It is time we start loving ourselves A LOT more! We compare ourselves to not only other people ALL the time, but if you are like me, you are comparing yourself to your OLD self and everything that USED to be. I was longing for something that is no longer there. It was making me miserable.
Until I allowed myself to believe that I am not a NEW person. I am still smart, strong, courageous, curious, quirky, and loveable. The only thing that was changing in my life was how I had to live it. I figured it was about time that I start to use what skills and positive traits I have learned in my past to my advantage. Before you can do that though, you need to sit with yourself. Define and write down at least 3 things you love about yourself in the following categories: Your body, your skills, your work habits, your strengths. I will explain what to do with these in a little bit.
NOURISH – “Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become reality” Earl Nightingale
Well shit, I thought NOURISHING was meant in regards to nutrition and food. I totally missed the ball on this one. Although food is a very important aspect of nourishment to the body, where it all starts is actually with nourishing our mind. Finding a way to learn, to grow, to stay positive, to take time for one self, to destress, to just be! Once we calm the chatter, the stress response, the fear mongering in our minds, we can really start to contemplate what we are really wanting out of this new life that we have been given. Let’s call it a REBIRTH. This rebirth so to speak, is a time to RECREATE who you are. Using all kinds of nourishment – food, rest, love, respect, challenges, learning and perspective shifts so you that eventually after small changes you now are LIVING a life where you want want nothing more than to continue living this way. Continuing to nourish your mind, body, and soul.
PERSPECTIVE – Nyctophilia (n). – love of darkness, finding relaxation or comfort in the darkness. Oh yes, fibromyalgia is shit. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It is definitely dark at times and we can’t change what it is. Even with a positive mindset, it can be a challenge. There is no wool being pulled over anyone’e eyes here.
But I will quote one of my favourite songs by Odeza:
“You know that story about the Russian cosmonaut?
He goes up in this big spaceship
And he’s got this portal window
And he’s looking out of it
And he sees the curvature of the Earth for the first time
And all of a sudden, there is this strange ticking
And it’s coming out of the dashboard
But he can’t find it, he can’t stop it
He keeps going
A few hours into this, it begins to feel like torture
What’s he gonna do?
He’s up in space!
So the cosmonaut decides
The only way to save his sanity
Is to fall in love with this sound”
Fall in love with Fibromyalgia.
Cry with it. Feel it and cherish it. Cherish the fact that you can recognize those feelings for what they are. Grief, sadness, anger, loss, pain or whatever it is that comes up for you. These are all normal feelings. When we don’t acknowledge them and work through them. They tend to stay stagnant and unmoving. Change the perspective from anger and disappointment to acceptance.
EMBRACE CHANGE – “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves” – Viktor Frankl
Embracing and accepting where you are is the only way you are going to have the motivation to change. It is acknowledging that you deserve to be happy, to feel better and that you need to start taking care of yourself.
This means that you are ALLOWING yourself to tap into your true desires. The ones at your very core. The ones you need to shine some goodness in your life. Remember those things that you said you loved about yourself? How can you tap into those on a daily basis and solidify that as a new habit? For example, if you love cooking, find a way to enjoy cooking in healthy and nourishing way each day. If you are too tired to get out of bed, find an online cooking show or class to up your game! You don’t have to be “doing” the actual thing. But perhaps find something the you CAN do to fill this need. This in turn allows you to enjoy the time you are in bed and it feeds your mind and soul. It becomes something of pleasure – something you realize you want to feel more of.
I know it sounds easier said than done. The old me would have said “fuck off, you don’t even know what I am going through” and I would have stopped reading right about here. Hear me out! I am not talking about going mountain biking, just because you should be able to. I am talking about those positive strengths you have, the things you love doing that fill your heart, that makes you feel happy, that allows you to feel positive about wherever you are in that moment.
Change really comes when you are comfortable with shifting how you spend your time. If we replace the things that make us feel lazy, upset, sad, bored, tired, guilty, shameful etc. and replace them with things that make us have the warm fuzzies (regardless of how brain dead we are), slowly after time, we will realize that the bad habits we have collected along the way are only reenforcing our misery. Accepting these poor habits of wallowing on instagram, searching for the never ending cure, thinking about pain (these pretty much are my rabbit holes of pity).. Whatever it is that you are doing that isn’t serving you, embrace it. Then think about how can you make it better for yourself. How can you make it feel like you have accomplished something in your day that will help you remove the negative speak that goes along with it.
Spend a few minutes looking at how you spend your time. Are you going in to work and are annoyed with traffic or the people on the bus? Are you having a bad pain day? Maybe you are laying in your bed or have managed to waddle to the couch.
How do you spend your time?
Now what would you rather be doing?
How does it make you feel? This may sound like this in your head: “I am laying in bed, in pain, scrolling the vast universe of the internet for the answers to make me better. I would way rather be living a normal life. I want to be normal, successful, and a better mom. I wish I had more time to spend on myself and do things I love.
Now if you are able to shift perspective and embrace where you are at for the present moment – Are you able to find a way to merge the two together – turn that shitty moment into one that feels fulfilling. One that gives you a sense of accomplishment to allow yourself to really nourish yourself?
My shifts started small, months ago. It literally started with making my bed every day. I promised myself I would do it and if that is all I did, then I WON the day. As time went on, I was able to add more in and this is slowly allowing me to recognize the following about my life.
“Everything is as it should be”
Sweet, so after that long rambling about change, you are now telling me that everything is just as it should be. I am confused.
This is a really good lesson about changing perspective.
I use this quote above as my daily mantra. It allows me a moment to check in with myself. To be present with who I am, where I am at, and what I need right then and there. Lynne’s thought process: Ugh I am in pain, now I can’t do what I had planning. It is ok. Everything is as it should be. By not getting to do “XYZ” I will be able to do “ABC” which is what I would way rather be doing anyways.
I know, that it sounds easier said than done. I am not pretending that this is a linear process. I am most certainly not selling this as miracle condition that just allows us to throw our social and familial life out the window.
But by recognizing every moment for what it is, it allows me to take responsibility for my own well being and how I show up for myself and others even in the hard times. It is allowing me to find the answers from within. I am learning to respect myself, to love myself, to flow and change perspective and embrace that I am exactly where I am meant to be.
I am tired of hiding in the darkness of fibromyalgia.
When we really start to look at what the “darkness” of fibromyalgia is teaching us, this is when we stop being warriors who are just surviving and we become fibromyalgia goddesses who are LIVING.
I am Lynne Faires, Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Fibromyalgia Goddess Sharing what science and Fibromyalgia have taught me while being RAW and AUTHENTIC through my work and writing. Through this, I hope to help change the VOICE of fibromyalgia for others!