Adriel's Take on Family and Fibro
"Before she was diagnosed, I didn't personally know anyone else with fibro, and I'd never heard of anyone as young as her having it, so I never made a connection between her symptoms and an illness like this.
"Looking back, we have talked about different symptoms she's had over the years, even when she was quite young, that we attributed to something else, but may have actually been early symptoms of fibro. How I wish I had known.
"It's very difficult accepting that at her young age there are so many things she misses out on."
Do you ever wonder how life would be different if your daughter did not have fibromyalgia?
"Of course I do. I think of how much easier her life would be, of all the things she and her husband could do together and with their sweet little boy, Levi, and that I would be able to see her more often.
"But I don't dwell on those thoughts. I'm basically a positive person. I don't like to dwell on things I cannot change or that make me sad. I admire her strength and her efforts to make the best life she can for her family under the circumstances, and I just want her to know I support her every step of the way.
"A wonderful hope for the future is a great asset in keeping a positive attitude! And knowing that many people have much worse things to deal with helps me be thankful for all the good things I have."
How Fibro Impacts Our Children
Children are also vastly affected by having a parent with fibro. They may miss out on some activities because there is no one able to take them, and they may have to spend time playing alone. They may even have to learn to care for themselves and even their parent at a young age.
I often feel a great amount of guilt because I am unable to take my son to the park, or even take him outside to play, as often as either of us would like. I feel guilty that he watches more TV than I would like him to, simply because he does not want to play on his own and I am unable to play with him.
But someone pointed out to me that as difficult as this situation is, my son is learning valuable life lessons from a very early age. He is being taught that we don't always get what we want, when we want it — not a fun thing to learn, but a necessary life lesson nonetheless.
He is also being taught that at times we have to put others’ needs ahead of our own. This also teaches him the give and take necessary for healthy relationships with others.
He is being taught how to show love and compassion for others, to be kind and gentle. He is being taught to think about how his actions affect someone else. He is being taught to care for and help those less fortunate than himself.
I do love seeing the person he is becoming and the wonderful qualities he is displaying. He is more understanding of my limitations than many adults are.
What it boils down to is fibromyalgia is awful for everyone involved — I would be lying to you if I said any different. However, it is possible to have a happy, loving family life in spite of the difficulties we face. It takes kindness, compassion, patience, and most of all love — lots and lots of love.
Counselor Eric's Advice
Since lowering your stress will play an important role in the treatment of your fibro, working to address the needs of your family members can be valuable.
Have an Open Dialogue
The importance of assertive communication with your family members concerning your fibro diagnosis cannot be overstated.
Some might find the conversation difficult to have for fear of increasing the worries of others. Others will think family members are too old or too young to hear the news. Some will think “what they don’t know can’t hurt them.”
These notions are each flawed; clear and accurate information grounded in facts is appropriate any time, for any audience. Without the proper information regarding your health and wellbeing, your presentation and actions may not make sense to them.
Disclosing your condition to them will be challenging, but it will aid your family tremendously.