Fear in chronic illness is normal.
Fear and fibromyalgia go together like Pam Poovey and bear claws (don’t worry if you don’t get the reference, it means you’re far more cultured than I am…and probably a better person). Fear is a normal response when facing a possible lifetime of dealing with this ‘chronic’ condition.
Fear itself is not the problem. Everyone feels fear (except maybe for psychopaths…don’t be a psychopath). It is when fear is allowed to take control for a prolonged period of time that you begin to have issues. Our goal as Spoonies is to manage our condition to the best of our ability. When fear rules the day, symptoms intensify and add to an already difficult ‘life situation’.'Fear' in itself is not the biggest issue. Fear in 'control' is where the problems begin... Click To Tweet
Please believe I am not trying to make light of your fear. I get afraid too. Fear can start a vicious cycle inside my mind and body that digs a hole so deep I feel like I’m losing my mind a little:
- Fear that the ‘really bad pain’ will become the new ‘normal’, and I will have to live with it for the rest of my life~
- Fear that my condition will worsen, and take its toll on my appearance (which as I rapidly approach 50, I would like to hang on to for as long as possible!)~
- Fear I will develop even more serious, possibly fatal co-morbidities ~
- Fear my most intimate relationship will suffer the consequences of chronic pain and illness even more than it already has….and the list goes on and on…
I can’t offer any guarantees. No one can. Life could get worse. Hell, it can always be worse! But you know what? Sometimes it doesn’t. In fact, my personal experience has taught me this: ‘Reality’ is never half as bad as the horrific places my imagination can take me.'Reality' is never half as bad as the horrific places my imagination can take me... Click To Tweet
Fear and Fibromyalgia ~ How To Overcome Fear’s Death Grip
It’s never as bad as I imagined: There are times when ‘the worse’ did happen, but most of the time it did not. And even when it did, I found my way through it to the other side, just as with every problem I’ve had to face.
The ‘what if’s’ are generally far worse than the ‘what is’: Try OH SO HARD not to let your mind seek out and explore all the horrible possibilities (a techinique I have mastered, my young ‘Padawan’…). Those scenarios will more than likely never be, and all you’ve done is waste your precious time & limited energies on ‘things of the imagination’.
Quit ’tilting at windmills‘: This has been a biggie for me lately. Don’t fight battles that aren’t real. So before going into ‘300’ mode, ask yourself: “Is this a real war I need to fight? Is this person/doctor/group ect. truly going to have the negative impact on my life I’m thinking they will? Or is this just another ‘mountain out of mole hills’ situation?”…Some things are worth fighting for, some are not, and some don’t even really exist.
Finally, stop trying so desperately to swim against the ‘current of hardships’. I have done this all my life. I have spent so much time and energy in controlling (or trying my damnedest to) situations to avoid: pain/trial/conflict. Guess what? Right behind the difficulty you just went through, is another one making its way down the pike.
I’m not saying I’m ‘making friends with my pain’, or some other nonsensical platitude. What I have decided to do, is ‘flow with the current’. Learning to relax on the journey. Knowing I am not alone. Giving and receiving courage from others who are experiencing the same trouble I am. Accepting the waters when they are calm, and mastering navigation techniques I will need when they inevitably turn to the churning, turbulent rapids we all end up riding.
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