Fibromyalgia has changed my outlook on life.  I suppose any long-term physical or mental condition would have that effect on a person. But as I’ve reflected on my condition and how it has effected my life, I have realized I have two basic choices.

The first choice would be to feel sorry for myself and wallow in self-pity. I could lament the fact that I’m plagued by something I can’t fully control or overcome. I could bemoan the fact that I will never feel completely well or be free from pain. I could really let my symptoms get me down. There are times when I’m exhausted, in pain, and sick of always feeling this way and never seeming to be able to ignore my condition. Those times, I find it very easy to wallow.

The second option does not come naturally or easily to me, but I am striving to make it my main attitude choice when it comes to dealing with my symptoms. That choice is to accept my condition, be grateful things are not worse, and grin and bear my way through the fatigue and pain in order to maintain a semblance of a life. It requires me to acknowledge that I will have flare ups and bad days, weeks, or even months… while remembering that there are good days, too, and another good day is bound to come along sooner or later.

Now that I have a child, I sometimes feel like I’m forced to push through barriers in my pain and fatigue I never knew I could overcome. I’m also more aware than ever that I have to respect myself enough to know when I’m at my limit and to ask for help. I have long ago let go of the notion of being a perfect mother. It’s not possible. But there are still plenty of ways for me to be a good mother, and I believe I am. I have learned though, on my “bad” days, that breaking a few of my own perceptions of being a good parent is forgiveable. And despite my fears, my son seems to be doing just fine. Which is a comforting reminder that things aren’t as hard or as terrible as they seem.