Before my fibromyalgia, I easily joined in gossip, offered opinions based on speculation rather than fact, and judged and criticized others. Then it was my turn.
Doctors, friends and acquaintances—even complete strangers—raised their eyebrows when I limped, dragged my feet, and forgot names and details I should have remembered. I found it annoying when the students in my classroom rolled their eyes; and equally annoying was my integrity being questioned. How could others doubt the pain I felt? How could they question the illness that was destroying my life? I never understood their suspicions.
- Why would someone, who rarely took a sick day, be going on a medical leave?
- Why would I spend my pain-filled days and sleepless nights searching the Internet, for help that never came?
- Why would I try so many treatments—both medical and holistic?
- Why would anyone in their right mind, subject themselves to being thought a malingerer, a dead beat and a drain on the economy who dared to apply for disability?
- And for someone who loved control, security and accumulating money, why would I take an early retirement at the height of my earning potential?
Did they think I was crazy? Sometimes I even doubted myself. When the pain consumed me and the prescription medications blurred my thinking, I questioned my own sanity.
The best advice I can give you is to trust in yourself; you know your body better than anyone else. You know when something is wrong—really wrong. You know when the medications are not working and when their side effects far outweigh their benefits.
Trust in your intuition to guide you to find help from those who understand; instead of questioning your symptoms and your body’s reaction (or lack of response) to the treatments they have advised.
You are an integral part in your own wellbeing; you are the best advocate for your own healing. Search out what is best for you. Speak up. Ask questions. Research and never give up. You deserve the best treatment you can find.