The Unpuzzled Flare
After nine years with this illness I'm well aware of what it does to me. It never became clearer than after I got "healthy." Exercise and nutrition got me to a really good place. I was no longer in pain every day, could sleep at night, and didn't feel like I was constantly on the verge of getting a terrible flu. Miraculously, once I didn't feel so awful all the time, living didn't seem like such a bad prospect after all. It took an exceptional amount of work to get there, and even more to stay, but my life started to stabilize. That's when I truly began to understand what Fibromyalgia does to my body.
The symptoms of a flare began to stand out with blaring consistency. Suddenly all those random, strange problems I whined and complained about to doctor after doctor when I first got sick happened in a predictable cycle. At every point before there were so many things wrong with me at any given time I couldn't tell east from west, down from up or white from black. I was just sick. But now I recognized nerve pain in my face, usually accompanied by a boil, and an inability to take a full breath, were the beginning of a flare. Within a few days I would hurt really bad all over, couldn't sleep, and spent my awake hours feeling like I got smacked into by a cement truck. By far the most consuming was what happened to my mood. Raging anxiety, certainty over my own imminent demise, panic over what getting sick at 28 did to my ability to support myself, the selfish behavior of other people, my unhappiness with my sub-par existence, it all became so much bigger than anything else in the whole wide world. I would cry as I rocked my broken body on the floor, wondering why God had forsaken me so, and why I had the misfortune of surviving all my near-death encounters. Life was never bleaker.
Once it would lift I'd run back to my mighty creator with penance and apology for daring to mentally squander my blessings. I would flog myself for my weakness and vow to ignore the evil forces threatening to take over my brain next time it happened. So why, after a year of clearly seeing the flare cycle for what it is, did I indulge it this morning? I knew when I couldn't breath last night a flare was on its way. Going back to work has been hard on my illness/life balance, but I knew it would be a big adjustment. My right mind knows I've done harder for longer, and will ultimately survive. But it's like no matter how much I prepare myself, engage my rational thought, practice mind over matter or simply try to ignore my negative perceptions, they're always so much bigger than me. They pierce my reality, invade my conscious, and leave me an obliterated puddle to sop up off the floor.
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