Fibromyalgia and You – Manage Your Relationships

What do you say to others when “Fibromyalgia” enters your vocabulary? Do you share with others that you now have a name for your chronic health issues? Or, do you keep the label to yourself? This article is not about defining fibromyalgia as so many articles available do. Nor, is it a list of answers so you can better manage the pain. Rather, the question is, what do you do to manage your relationships? Fibromyalgia, like many other chronic health conditions, stresses the relationships in your life.

You have three different kinds of relationships. You have relationships with other people. You have a relationship with yourself. You have a relationship with a higher power; the name you have for this higher power depends on the spiritual belief system you choose. Fibromyalgia exists in all of these relationships. The relationship you have with yourself is the one in which you have the greatest control. Depending on your spiritual belief system, varying degrees of control exist in the relationship you have with a higher power. The relationships you have with others you have what I call influence – in a healthy relationship you do not control some one else’s behavior. Rather, you have opportunities to shape the kind of relationship and interaction you want.

Interacting with all the people in your life takes energy. Some people require more of your energy than others. Some people give you energy. Managing your energy level is a primary concern when learning how to manage fibromyalgia. Different entities will recommend various products to help you have more energy. These products may or may not help and they can be a financial burden. So, consider the relationships you have with family, friends, and groups of people (such as those you may work with). Here are some suggestions:

List all the different people you interact with in your day. To keep this idea from being overwhelming, keep a list journal. At the end of the day, write down the names that you can remember with whom you interacted.
Highlight the people you experienced a positive energy when interacting with them.
Consider ways in which you can detach yourself from those who are more draining.

The suggestions above are only the beginning of learning how to manage your relationships with others. Try this for a minimum of three days. Consider if this activity helps you think about your interactions with others. How much time do you spend with others? Who do you seek out to spend time with? Do relationships exist that you may be able to let go of? Who do you want to share the word “fibromyalgia” with? After several days, look closely at how you are feeling about these relationships.

So, how do you manage your relationship with your higher power? Do you become angry? Do you blame? Do you run away? Do you spend more time focused on this particular relationship? Consider your behaviors. Here are four things I suggest doing when managing this relationship:

Clarify what you really believe. Go back to the basics or foundations of your spiritual belief system.
Make a decision, really you do have a choice, to use these core ideas to strengthen you or to weaken you.
Seek supporting resources for your spiritual life. Maybe you know of a spiritual guide or written material that you need to focus your energy upon.
Ask for help when you need it.

Some people may say, “I don’t have a relationship with a higher power.” I disagree. We are created beings. Many different beliefs exist as to how we came into being. This writing is not a debate about which belief system is the correct one. What is important is that every individual at least acknowledges that a higher power exists. And, you have some kind of relationship with this higher power, even if it is minimal in your life.

The relationship which affects the outcome of fibromyalgia the greatest is the relationship you have with yourself. You have the greatest control as to how you respond to the conditions of fibromyalgia. The medical profession provides options for managing the physical elements of this condition. As a human being, you have the option of how to interact with fibromyalgia. Changing the past or pretending that fibromyalgia does not exist are not options. “IT” has happened. A name has been given to the symptoms. Fibromyalgia is now in your vocabulary. So, what do you do? Here are my thoughts:

Forgive yourself. Get rid of the statements, “If I only…”
Listen to your body. Fibromyalgia is a unique condition. The medical profession can assist you in managing your health and medical specialists also rely on you to pay attention to the signals and messages your body gives.
Be proactive, not reactive. In other words, learn all you can about your specific needs so you can make good decisions.
Live. I don’t know how else to say it. Live! Know yourself and live each day, enjoying the moment.

I am not a medical specialist. I am not a psychologist. I am a woman who received the word “fibromyalgia” into her daily vocabulary. Fibromyalgia never goes away. It is always with me and that which I have shared are the actions I have consciously taken to manage my relationships. I am a learner and a certified life coach. I have learned that working harder to manage life issues is not the answer. Working smarter is a better way to live. BOLA TANGKAS