The Joy I Find in the Midst of My Needed Fibromyalgia Resting Days

It hit me as I struggled over the stones and sand of the beach path on my way back to the car, “Hey – I just did this without thinking. I went to the beach with my family.”

A year ago this wouldn’t have happened. An evening at the beach has always been one of my favorite things about living in this area. The sky is a particular color, and the breeze and waves are so peaceful that it brings, at the risk of sounding corny, a special kind of peace. I love to find a washed-in log to lean against and sit with my mug of tea and gaze out at the water.

But a year ago, the thought of walking from the parking lot, along that rocky path, through the sand, to the water’s edge was more than I could fathom. My feet were excruciating and my limbs felt weighted down by sand bags. I would wave off my family and go sit on the couch.

Over the past year, I ruthlessly cut back my activity level. I really looked at my life and judged everything I did. I decided what was critical and what could be let go. I looked at what gave me joy and what caused me stress. I looked at activities that I loved, but caused me to become exhausted, and I weighed the value versus the cost. And I cut and I cut.

Much of the past year was spent on the couch, reading, watching television, thinking, resting, googling. I felt at times restless, frustrated, bored. I mourned my lost life. I raged against the future I wouldn’t have. I searched for crafts, hobbies, and activities that might fill the gap. I’ve tried a lot of things and abandoned almost as many.

And I’ve questioned and doubted myself. Am I really this sick? Should I be trying harder to just push through it? Should I be taking on more? What is my value as a person if I don’t achieve a career? What is my value as a person if I don’t have great accomplishments to hold up to my children as a model? What is my purpose on this earth?

And then I went to the beach with my family and I saw the value – that little by little I am managing the pain, doing a little more, being more joyful. That in resting I am saving myself for the beautiful moments. That in saving my energy I am able to give of myself where it’s needed most. That in cutting away all the busyness in life, I am focussing my energy on living fully in those moments when I am at my best.

A photo of some steps leading to the ocean.

I don’t love this disease and I’d dearly love for someone to find a cure. But, once you push past the fear and the pain, there are blessings to be found. My life has been pared down to those things that I hold closest to my core – those things that are essentially me. I’m holding close the ideas, thoughts, people and activities that make me who I am. Within this frame of fibromyalgia, I am becoming what I am, and little by little I’m letting go of that person that I think I should be. There is so much joy in discovering that I quite like that person, and that it really is just grand to be exactly as I am.

And that is a gift.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock Image By: m-imagephotography

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Fibromyalgia

What Happened After I Was Told I Couldn't Do Something Because of My Illness

I have lived with fibromyalgia since I was in high school – way more years ago than I care to admit, but it’s in excess of 20. When I was growing up I never understood how kids my age could run, skip, jump, play sports, roll down hills…and they seemed to enjoy it! A mystery [...]
woman holding pill and a glass of water

I Need Medication to Feel 'Normal,' and That's OK

Life with fibromyalgia is normal… it’s my normal. I have had it for half of my life. Having a chronic illness during teenage years makes a person grow up fast. Life was doctor appointments, troubles sleeping, pain from stress and headaches. Oh man, the headaches. if(typeof(jQuery)=="function"){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)}; jwplayer('jwplayer_1go5qoC4_F962XJnx_div').setup( {"playlist":"https:\/\/\/feeds\/1go5qoC4.json","ph":2} );   Medications were the “new normal” [...]

How the Solar Eclipse Affected Me as Someone With Fibromyalgia

While America was gearing up for the eclipse, I braced myself for hell week. There hasn’t been a visible solar eclipse in the U.S. since 1979. The entire country needed something to celebrate, and so began the great American eclipse countdown. Americans from all over the country began their trek to find the best place [...]
A sad woman holding her face in her hands.

The 5 Stages of Grief I Experienced After Becoming Chronically Ill

They say there are five stages to grief, and I feel this is something I can relate to when it comes to chronic illness. When you realize your chronic illness is here for good, you do go through various stages. Here, I will explain how I went through these stages: 1. Denial I simply wouldn’t [...]