By: Rachel O.
When I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia I didn’t want anyone to
know. I wasn’t proud of it. I wanted it hidden from any possible
judgment, so no one would think I was incapable, less than or different.
It didn’t take me long too long to come to terms with letting my
inner crowd know. Having a diagnosis gave authenticity to all of my
ongoing complaints. I truly wasn’t a hypochondriac or dying of some unknown illness! It had a name! Letting everyone else know was a different story…
I realized at the moment I was told I had fibromyalgia, I would never
be the same person with the same health I longed for. In a sense,
that person was dead. I would become something else and it was my choice what I wanted that to be.
I gave myself time to accept the diagnosis. After months of mourning
the loss of my old self, because oh boy, did I mourn it – all seven steps of
grieving included! – I came to acceptance and wanted to stop hiding. It
felt bizarre that I was going through something that impacted my daily
life, but I was hiding every single aspect of it to seem normal. It felt
false and inauthentic, and that wasn’t who I wanted to be.
The moment I chose to post a few things on social media about my
struggle, a shocking thing happened. I got various DMs from friends I
had known for ages, telling me that they too were quietly dealing with
chronic illnesses and others offering heartfelt support! All this time
I had wasted energy worrying about what other people might think and
offering up my struggle gave others the key to sharing theirs.
“You can’t heal what you never reveal.” – Jay Z
There is an innate power in sharing our stories. It helps avoid the
path of isolation and loneliness that can go hand-in-hand with having a
chronic illness. It’s not all roses and sunshine though, sharing can
leave us up for possible negative judgment and critical ignorant
comments, but the way I see it, that only helps us weed out toxicity
from our lives!
To anyone quietly struggling, when you’re ready, come and find us. Your tribe is here and waiting.