Fibromyalgia – It’s Not Your Fault

Fibromyalgia or other Chronic Illness? Not Your Fault.Image Credit

This might seem obvious to some, but I know I very often forget this: Fibromyalgia, or [insert your Chronic Illness here], and all its related traits, behaviours and flaws, is not your fault.

I didn’t come to this conclusion by myself. Most days I hate my inability to focus, my lack of energy, or my seemingly narrow capacity for dealing with people. I kick myself while I am down because I can’t do enough volume of work or because I can’t do enough around the house. I feel bad because conversing with people is hard and I’m often spaced out because of the pain of Fibromyalgia or because of the drugs which are supposed to take the some of the pain away.

But at the end of it – the reality is that I am judging who I am by what I do. And I would be the first person to scould you for doing that to yourself. Hypocritical I know, shall I add that to my list of shortcomings? Best not.

“It’s Not Your Fault”

There’s a now famous scene in the movie Good Will Hunting. Will Hunting has been forced to speak with a counsellor to try and sort his anger issues. Skeptical at first, eventually their sessions fall to a pensive silence. The Counsellor, played by Robin Williams, finally gets breakthrough when he repeatedly tells Will that “it’s not your fault”.

Bring It Home To Yourself

So it was on the way back home from work one day this week, my other half was driving (as is normal now – I’m too tired before and after work to drive safely). I can’t remember the specifics of the conversation, but I think I was ranting about how frustrating this Fibro thing was, how incapable I am, and apologising for something or other. Her response almost mirrored the “It’s not your fault thing”.

When you’ve dealt with a chronic illness for so long it can be really hard to disassociate what your health condition enforces from who you are. I blame myself for not hitting targets, or for not cleaning the house enough. I can feel that my worth as a person in business, as a member of my church or as a husband depends on what I can do, make or achieve. In reality, my identity is deeper and more complex than that. If you measure your life in achievements, when the power to achieve is removed from you, you have nothing left. You have to find more self-worth, more reasons to be content, more value in yourself outside of productivity.

If that means you have to sit in front of a mirror and reminding yourself that it’s not your fault and you are of eternal value, over-and-over-and-over again until it finally hits home, then that’s what you have to do.

None of us voted for this. Very few would choose a life of constant (and often worsening) pain, depleted energy stores, isolationist and lethargic. If you have a chronic illness, you have to play the cards you are dealt. But you must, absolutely, find something better to measure yourself against. What you do just will not suffice.

You are far more valuable, far more complex and far more amazing than you realise. It’s not your fault you have your illness. It’s time we saw ourselves differently, and spoke positive words of truth to ourselves.

Be encouraged!


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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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Lila
Lila
31st October 2015 11:58 pm

Happy to land here by chance, I’m following you on Twitter. I’m Lila, Italian, 40.
I suffer from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome type 4 and docs recently suspected that I might have Fibro too.
You have a great blog!
Gentle hugs,

Lila

Ali Wade
Ali Wade
1st November 2015 12:01 am

I get so fed up of apologising, but I also feel I need to. I feel sorry for my hubby that his life has been affected by this horrible condition too

Ravanel Griffon
Ravanel Griffon
1st November 2015 1:13 am

Keeping this short because of it being a test, but wanted to say this was a beautiful post, hitting home hard. Missed 2 Halloween parties due to pain and no matter what my brain tells me I keep feeling sorry for each thing I cancel.

Rav

Andrew
Andrew
12th March 2016 8:15 pm

I blame myself for being alone. I blame myself for having so few friends that I earnestly believe any would-be funeral of mine would be a single-digit affair. And I’ve had the most difficult time not believing to the core that all my suffering is my fault. It’s immensely difficult to convince myself otherwise when I get stuck in the cycle of blame. Thank you for giving me a method to try and break out of it. As foolish as I may think it is, I hope someday, someone out there will be willing to stick with me through all… Read more »

ShadowsStorm
ShadowsStorm
30th March 2016 1:34 am

Very inspirational words, and it’s very true. Thing is though the world only cared about what we can produce and how fast we can produce it. The world has become so specialized that, when you stop being able to do your specialization, it can’t wait to dispose of you as fast as possible. I guess in the end, we only matter to those who matter to us