To the Husband Whose Wife Has a Fibromyalgia & Chronic Illness

Steve Lotima

Well, Have we are,not only has life as i know it changed,unfortunately so has yours!we are now on a new journey,not a fun one,not an exciting one,but more of mountain climbing journey with many pit stops and detours ahead.so here are a few things you ahould know going into this journey that many make it easier for you to deal with me.as you know,I know a chronic illness and life will never be the same for either one of us.It’s not an illness you can see.but you see me struggling.It’s not an illness you can feel,but you see my pain.It’s not an illness you may understand,but you see my frustration.Things will never be the name but i can try to keep them as “normal” as possible for the sake of our family.so how do i fully explain the challenge that lie ahead? There are many aspects of chronic illness/pain that i want you to understand so we will start at the beginning and I’ll explain as best as i can so you know and can understand fully that this journey will be.There are a lot of different areas to cover so hold on.It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

So what is this  thing called fibromyalgia? well there are so many theories and definitions of what it is that they all kind of mesh together and some definitions sound utterly confusing and dont’s make sense while others make it sound like a bunch of symptoms with no real meaning or defined diagnosis so it must be all in our heads but let’s give it a name anyway.so first of all, i have this “condition” that affects how my body responds to pain,The “fun” part,everyday might be different so i may have pain in my joints one day, and shooting pains in my legs another day.So let’s start with pain.

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My pain may range from bothersome to extreme from one day to another and even one hours to next.Sometimes it may be hard for me to tell you exactly what hurts and how it hurts,but just know It’s very uncomfortable and it hurts.The :bothersome”day are theone that I try very hard to keep up with the day to day chores of keeping the house functional and clean.I also try to tackle the other project that keep adding up.These are typically the daythat  I push myself far beyond my limits so know that if I’ve had a busy day and lots of projects done.I may be down for count for a few days afterwards.The day I have extreme pain are they days I will spend most of it on the couch ,in bed or in the chair trying to get comfortable.

These are the days that the laundry ,the dishes,the house cleaning and cooking will have to wait,or I will need help.You will likely also find these are the day that many tears are shed.Tears of pain,tears of sorrow,tears of frustration and tears of knowing I’m letting myself and family down.But as I have learned,you know these tears and are always willing to comfort me.You know this is one of my most vulnerable times and you let me deal with it as best I can,even if it mean I have to miss yet another family get another.

These times/days of pain I may also have a lot of anxiety and stress,but from what I have learned,not all stress and anxiety are expressed the same way or the typical fashion many

people many of thing,mainly the anxiety part.For most people when they hear anxiety,or anxiety attacks,they picture people sitting in the corner,curled up in ball swaying back and forth while mumbling a bunch of gibberich.Well anxiety can be expressesd or demonstrated in many differet ways.must of which I have just learned of myself.For me the most common ways I demonstrate anxiety are anger and getting easily upset.Simple things just make me so frustrated,upset and crabby that no matter how hard I try to calm,collected,little things just seem to push my buttons and make me so upset.

Please know that i am trying so very hard to let these things roll off my back and not cause me stress or anxiety,I just can’t help it most of the time however and it’s because physically I am just so uncomfortable that sometimes it takes nothing more than a particular look to drive me crazy! I try so very hard to keep it together and not let things bother me but know that sometimes I just can’t keep it all in and it’s bound to eventually spew over like mount Vesuvius! You have also learned that when i have conversations with you, or  others,that sometimes not making much sense,this is also a way I experience and express anxiety.I try to take deep breaths.keep my responses in conversation even,calm and collected but yes,sometimes a simple conversation can send my anxiety into a tailspin.

It’s not the people I’m talking to necessarily that are causing me stress or anxiety but just the conversing in general that can send my anxiety meter flying.When I’m in the midst of this anxiety,sociallzing can be very difficult.Sometimes I will have to miss family gathering I  or parties due to increased anxiety and pain,but please know that is not something I make a deliberate choice in doing.I never want to feel sidelined by my symptoms or let all of this dictate my life ,however,this has a huge impact on my life now  and how i live it and yet you always seem to know when I truly need a “time-out” to collect and center myself and quiet all the chaos going on in my head.

Fatigue is the other major player in all of this.The best description of the fatigue I have is that its fatigue that no amount od sleep will EVER help.This is so very true.Pain in and of itself causes fatigue.Now add stress,anxiety,depression and chronic fatigue syndrome on top of all of that and sometimes even taking a shower is the biggest task I may accomplish all week long!

The fatigue from chronic illness can be summed up as being so tired that you felt like you haven’t slept in over a week yet you have to continue all the tasks you usually do on a regular basis.The fatigue alone can cause all of our other symptoms to be experienced in quadruple what it “normally” may be experienced.Then add the insomnia or varied sleeping habits of those with chronic illness,this is a recipe for suffering.You,we are tiredquit literally ALL of the time.When we say we are “tired” it’s not just saying we had a bad night’s sleep,it’s saying that on some days we are so tired that even the smallest task will drain every reserve we have ,And yet again,you seem to know when my last”spoom” has been dumped and encourage me to rest.

Unemployment is now part of our vocabulary and reality as well.Me not being able to contribute to our financial plan is also now a big issue in our lives.It causes both of us stress in looking at our future.Things are no longer as accsssible as they once were and priorities have changed.Yet with all of that added onto what we are dealing with,you continue to support me and reassure me that we will survive.We will have to say no to more things than we say yes to but we will make it work somehow.My future dreams,aspirations and career have had to be put on hold so sometimes when that becomes too much for me to bear,you hold me and let me know that i should still be proud of what i have accomplished but comfort me in knowing that as I see it,things will be so drastically different and there is nothing i can do to fix that

I may seem to  complain all the timeeeee about the things that bother me,the pain I have ,the fatigue that has taken over,but yet you are still here,holding my hand ,rubbing my shoulders,encouraging me to keep fighting.When we or a spouse and/or fa,ily member have this condition it seems to take everything we have to gibe ,but you supporting me is the greatest gift you have to offer.

Patience is a virtue:the ability to comfort is a gift, and understanding as well as as empathy is truly a rare thing.However,luckily for me you have all of these things. And no matter what our story ahead has planned, your ability to understand my condition,be patient with my limitation,and comfort me in my darkest times has given me the ability to continue to persevere.Day y day ,even hour by adapt to what we have now will be the greatest gift you can give me, and please continue to the patient,understanding and caring of what our new reality may be and most of all thank you for understanding that this a legitimate diagnosis/condition.Your love and support is what keeps me going in this crazy world.I will continue to do the best i can but appreciate your support in this endeavor!

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