Accepting My Limitations With Chronic Illness

Accepting my Limitations with FibromyalgiaI had an odd experience the other night. It was the first night that our baby girl was home from hospital. The wisdom of the medical profession in sending her home on that day was, let’s say, questionable. My wife was struggling because of being messed around by those who should have been providing care. And my brain hadn’t adjusted to the sudden return of my family home, at least a day early. The stage was set. I wanted to, and felt like I should, do things to help. Within a couple of hours, my pain skyrocketed and I crumpled on the floor and cried. My wife, in her (real) wisdom, had to remind me that my ability to father was not based on what I could do, but on who I am. I was finally faced with the reality that I needed to start accepting my limitations while fighting a chronic illness.

A History of Pushing Myself

As many of you may be aware, I am still working with Fibromyalgia. On top of that, historically, I did about half of the household chore – hoovering, dusting and cleaning the kitchen sides for example. While my wife was pregnant with our first child, I also had to do everything to care for our cat. Pregnant ladies shouldn’t handle cat waste (or be near it) and shouldn’t touch steroids. Yes my cat’s on steroids – not for some feline body-building competition, but for a skin condition! So I was carrying a lot of ‘weight’.

I ignored my physical limitations because of stuff that had to be done. That led to higher pain, worse sleep and made my chronic fatigue even worse. Feeling under pressure to do so many things also adds stress, which adds pain.

Accepting My Limitations: What this Actually Means

Realising I have less and less capacity to do stuff means I have to be happy doing less in life than I would otherwise choose to do. “Happy” is probably a superlative, I have to accept it, whether I like it or not. As life is…complicated for me, this has multiple knock-on effects:

  • Home Life: my priority needs to be demonstrating a father’s love to my wee daughter, and being an emotional support to my wife. This may or may not be doing something. It may just be holding her for a while. And that’s fine. I can also only clean one room in any 2 day interval. Much more and I become unable to do anything.
  • Maintaining this Blog: While I want to be on-the-button with developments for my SWTOR Blog Posts, the reality is that I should only write when I feel up to it. I started this blog as a fun diversion. I have been humbled by the hundreds of visits each day, but I need to not feel an obligation to write. This may mean my website traffic drops. As I don’t profit from it, any contribution I make the community is something I want to do, but I can’t continuously add to it. For one, my Fibromyalgia Hand Pain, won’t let me. I will do what I can, when I can. If that’s weeks after a newsworthy event, then so be it.
  • Work Life: we are having to ask serious questions about my work life. For now I will be working from home and just in the afternoon. If I can’t cope with that, then we may have to change our working arrangements entirely whereby I stay at home to look after NJ and my wife goes to work. That would free me up to do bits and pieces of paid work but without the pressure of having to do so.
  • Church Life: my church life has already been hit hard. I used to preach once a month at my church, but have been unable to for a very long time. This is because I don’t have energy in the evenings to prepare, and don’t have control of my pain in the mornings to deliver it. I’m only managing to get to church once a month at the moment, and then it’s a real struggle.

TL;DR – Accepting My Limitations

I have limits to what I can do. However I have been ignoring those for a very long time, which has probably been why I am now “crashing and burning”. Life is changing on multiple levels and I adjust to change very slowly. I hope to gain a level of understanding from you my readers and friends and simply ask that you bear with me through this really challenging time. Accepting my limitations does not mean liking them – but being at peace with them.

Thank you.


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Fibro Jedi

A 30-something Shadow Jedi, married and have a small daughter. By that I mean "young", not just "short". I have a chronic pain condition called Fibromyalgia andI play LOTRO, SWTOR and FFXIV and blog about two of them. Social Media has connected me with so many people and some of those have become amazing friends too! As a hobby I am relearning drawing, which you can see on my DeviantArt profile.

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Andri/Kaylen
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Andri/Kaylen

There was a time we went through when our daughter was still a baby when job loss turned my husband into a stay-at-home Dad for a while. His parents visited during this time and his Mom watched him with our daughter and said, “That company did you a favor, huh?” I think he still treasures those months where he was the full-time Daddy. =)

ethu
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ethu

That sounds really tough, but I’m glad that you seem to have regained a little peace of mind. All the best to you and your family. 🙂

Shintar
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Shintar

I suspect that this sort of thing is something that many of us without a chronic illness can relate to as well. Obviously your fibro ramps it up to 11, but even as a (fortunately relatively) healthy individual I’ve had times when I wanted to do too much – work full time, blog every day, do all the things, and I know how hard it can be to dial it down even as you’re becoming overwhelmed because you just feel like you have to do all the things. I’m sure you’ll manage to find a balance. Good luck to you… Read more »

Shintar
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Shintar

Well, what helped me last time was mainly to take a stern look at everything that takes up significant amounts of my time and energy and evaluate how important it really was. It’s easy to get trapped in a routine that makes you feel like you “have” to do something even if it isn’t really that important. There may also be things that you do enjoy but they cause you stress at the same time. Cutting back on just one or two of these can help a lot, but I get the impression that you are already working on that.… Read more »

Anndru
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Anndru

I warn you, I’m in a very lengthy, wordy mood. I’ll probably get a bit emotional too. “I have limits to what I can do. However I have been ignoring those for a very long time, which has probably been why I am now “crashing and burning”. Life is changing on multiple levels and I adjust to change very slowly. I hope to gain a level of understanding from you my readers and friends and simply ask that you bear with me through this really challenging time. Accepting my limitations does not mean liking them – but being at peace… Read more »

Ravanel Griffon
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Ravanel Griffon

Accepting limitations… something I struggle with every day. My friends are young and successful, they are all finishing PhDs and getting titles; I’m still ploughing through my master and I’m nearing level 30. It feels like I’m behind. It’s going so slow and then I get angry at myself. But then something bad happens to my health, I’m literally unable to move my limbs and get reminded that I’m not lazy, there’s actually something going on and if I push myself too much, bad things *will* happen. Accepting my limitations? That would probably be the best for my mental health.… Read more »