Our Attitude sets the Playing Field
I once was asked by someone to ask my friends how they thought fibromyalgia had changed my life. I kind of thought I knew how my friends would respond, but honestly my health/fibromyalgia isn’t a topic my long-time, pre-fibromyalgia friends talk to me about much. I asked one of my good friends since 7th grade the question. She told me that, at first, she thought I “never did anything fun, anymore.” She followed it by admitting that she didn’t really understand what was going on with me or how my pain was effecting me. She said she still doesn’t feel like she really understands it. I was glad she was being so honest with me.
At first her response stung a little, for many reasons. One reason was because back then I feared my friends would think I wasn’t as fun anymore. Remember, my fibromyalgia started my freshmen year of college, when most people are vivacious and partying it up. My diagnosis came my sophomore year. The second reason her comment stung was because just as much as I wanted my pain to go away, I wanted to be out, having fun with my friends. I wanted to feel just as included, just as fun, just as free spirited, just as young. Lastly, I can’t help but be a little hurt by the fact that no matter how many times or different ways I talk about my fibromyalgia it seems to go right out my friend’s other ear. Keep in mind, I don’t do this often, so it isn’t like she is tuning me out because she is sick of hearing about it. When I started this website, I’d hoped she might read some of it, but I don’t think she has.
When I thought further about her response I realized one major point. Part of why she didn’t think I “did anything fun, anymore” was because of how I interacted with her about doing fun, physically demanding things. I was still getting my fibro-legs (you know, like sea legs?). Internally I was upset and aggravated that I no longer could do all the things my friends did, in the same way. Nowadays I am much more matter-of-fact about what I can and can’t do. Looking back, I wish that instead of sharing my worry about how my physical limits would impact an activity, I’d have talked to her in a positive manner. I didn’t know any types of solutions back then, but I could’ve suggested things I thought might’ve been easier. I could have made sure to express how much fun the activity sounded, declined and at the same time tried to make less physically demanding, fun plans for another time. Maybe if I had appeared more optimistic (instead of scared) about having fun, she would have thought I still did fun things.
Have you noticed how your attitude has effected how others respond to you?
*Image Credit: from www.wikipedia.org