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I got together with friends and family for dinner tonight. We had gotten together to celebrate a birthday. We had a good meal and then hung around the dinner table for quite a while just catching up. If you have read my blog for some time, you know that I have Fibromyalgia. Well, tonight I was sitting back having a good time and my Fibromyalgia started acting up.
I had been sitting too long and got a horrible cramp in my lower back. My leg tightened up and I had to get up and stretch my leg to ease the discomfort. When I went back and sat down, I felt embarrassed. I don’t like a lot of attention put on me and having to get up felt like a spotlight had been placed in my direction.
One of the people at dinner has struggled with a variety of health problems of her own. She has Rheumatoid Arthritis and some of her symptoms are similar to what I deal with. We got to talking about are health issues and she brought up how she was okay dealing with her symptoms, but it’s people’s reactions that can be hard to face. I know just what she means and was so glad she had brought it up.
My friends and family really don’t understand what I’m going through which is understandable. The worst part of having these type of health issues is when you have to cancel plans or cut an evening short because of pain or just general exhaustion. My friend spoke of all of the times that her friends got upset when she wasn’t up to going out or made her feel bad by saying that if she could sit at home, she could sit at their house.
The most difficult thing to express to others is that when you are having a flare up, you are so tired and having a conversation is difficult. You don’t feel particularly coherent. There is a tremendous amount of guilt feelings about letting others down when friends say that you aren’t around as often as they would like to see you. The worst part is knowing that if you were to go, you would be a downer on the person because you would be sitting like a lump in pain feeling too exhausted to do much other than to stare into space.
I hope that people who know of someone with an autoimmune disease realize that you never mean to hurt feelings or disappoint anyone. That you are constantly trying to hide your symptoms in public and wish more than anything that what you were going through wasn’t a part of your life.
It was so nice to discuss this side effect with another person who was experiencing the same thing. I hope that if you know of anyone that is facing a health issue that you don’t take a cancellation or an evening cut short personally. Trust me when I say, that person is more disappointed and discouraged than you can imagine.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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