There are a lot of stereotypes connected to people with fibromyalgia or any chronic pain disorder. I don’t care about what people think of me on the whole. I’m doing the best I can, I’m employed, paying taxes, not getting featured on reality TV shows. But I do go home from work and lay down. I don’t spring out of bed in the morning. Housecleaning is just about last on my list of things to expend my very finite allotment of energy on, so my house is messy, but not infectious. I make very specific choices about what I’m going to do and when I’m going to do it because every time I do something, I am sacrificing something else. I don’t have the energy to do everything. I don’t have the energy to do half of what I would like to do. In my down times, my regeneration times, those stereotypes that I’m so sensitive about creep up. Lazy. That’s the worst one. I didn’t get out of bed on Saturday until 2:00 PM. I needed it to be able to rejuvenate, but that word “lazy” hissed through my brain. And I was telling myself I was lazy. I was stereotyping myself. When I judge myself, whether because of my own spontaneous negative thoughts or because of an offhand comment from someone I love, no matter how much I try to rejuvenate, it doesn’t happen. I can lay in bed all day for a week and energy just saps right out of me as soon as that word “lazy” starts to play hide and seek.
My therapist – yep, I have one, and I highly recommend it – once told me I had to be kinder to myself. I have to treat myself the way I treat other people, the way I want other people to treat me. I struggle with that every day. I make a mistake and condemn myself as stupid. I can’t do dishes when I get home from work and I condemn myself as lazy. That’s the voice that bothers me. My own stereotyping of myself.
Pretty soon I freeze up and stop functioning completely, except to go to work. Work isn’t a choice. It’s a necessity. Gotta earn the kitty litter.
I know what I have to do to feel better. Feeling “good” is probably out of the question, but I can feel better. I know what I have to do. I KNOW what I have to do. I’m not going to list the things I need to do to feel better. Those things are already on this site. The problem is the freeze. I can’t move, I can’t focus, I can’t be enthusiastic, I can’t push myself.
Has anyone ever had sleep paralysis? It’s scary. You wake up and you can’t move. Your eyes will open, but your arms and legs don’t move. You’re paralyzed, frozen in place. This has happened to me several times in the past. It’s scary, but it wears off after awhile. What I found can break the “spell” is to move just my little finger or to wiggle my toe. It’s like that one tiniest of motion allowed the rest of my muscles to let go of their position. It took concentration and determination to make that tiniest of motion, but it worked.
That’s where I am right now, willing my little finger to move. If I can move my little finger, maybe all the other things will fall into place. I’ll do everything I need to do to feel better. Then I’ll be able to move, focus, be enthusiastic, push myself further. I just need that tiniest of movement first. I’ll get there. Step 1 is acknowledging the stage I’m in. I’m acknowledging I’m frozen. The longer I stay like this, the harder it will be to feel better. Step 2 – come on little finger….