Accepting Your New Limits
When you are first diagnosed with fibromyalgia there are a lot of thoughts that go through your head. The following weeks, months and even years bring many new thoughts and realizations. And let's be honest, most of these are unpleasant.
One realization that can be especially difficult to accept is that you now have limitations.
Going from being a highly functioning member of society to suddenly having limits on how much you can work, care for yourself and others and how social you can be is frustrating, to say the least. However, learning what your limits are and how to live within them is an important step to accepting your new diagnosis.
Some with fibro may be scared to do anything, for fear of what the payback may be. Others may go to the other extreme and push themselves until they are unable to do anything more. These are both completely understandable reactions. However, acceptance of your new limitations can help you live the best life possible, in spite of living with an illness.
But first you must learn what your personal limits are. What one person with fibromyalgia can do may differ from what you are able to do. That is okay, there is no need to compare yourself to anyone else. Once you have learned what your limits are, you then have to set boundaries in order to live within those. How do you do this?
Learn to Say No
Oh, boy. This is a tough one for me. I have always been the person who wants to please everyone, make everyone happy, to help anyone and everyone. And while that is unrealistic for a number of reasons, the primary reason is that I am ill.
I had to learn to say no. I had to learn to explain to my boss and coworkers that I couldn't carry or move heavy boxes. I had to learn that I couldn't help friends move. I had to learn that I couldn't accept every invitation.
Yes, this occasionally leads to others getting frustrated with me, especially if they are used to me dropping everything for them. But that is something I have learned to live with. I know there may be some things I am unable to do, but that does not mean I am not valuable or helpful in other aspects. This reminder helps me to say no when necessary and to not be too hard on myself. It does get easier, I promise.