Why I Celebrated the 'We' of My Illness This Valentine's Day


When my physician told me two years ago that I was going to start a new medication, I felt excited at the prospect of reduced pain. Then he followed up with “there is a strong chance that this medication will make you feel suicidal.” My heart sank – I was finally in a good place with my mental health. I was learning to value myself in the midst of my illness. I didn’t want to sink back into a dark place.

When I told my best friend and roommate about this I had tears streaming down my face. He listened and when the time came for his response he said, “Here’s what we will do. We will check in every day, to see if your mood feels different. We will actively talk about how our days were emotionally, and if things start to shift, we will recognize it’s time to stop the medication.”

We. His response was not that I could monitor my mood, but that we would climb this mountain together. Today, I am celebrating this “we.”

Valentine’s day was yesterday. My social media feeds were filled with posts about love and togetherness, in all forms: romantic partners, friends, pets, families, and more. I’m so appreciative of this celebration of love and I find myself today celebrating one of my favorite forms of love: interdependence. The “we.” Having fibromyalgia has taught me the immense importance of living life together, of knowing that no person can do it alone. Each person has their strengths and they inevitably vary from the people surrounding them. Building community allows for strengths to coexist, to flourish together, to fill in when support is needed.

When my best friend chose to say “we,” he taught me an incredible lesson – that it is OK to not do this alone. In this Valentine’s season, I celebrate this “we.” The “we” of my disability community, my faith community, my friendships, and my partner and I’s relationship fuels me to continue caring for myself, pushing for what’s right in this world, and advocating for changes in the spaces I occupy.

I welcome you to celebrate the “we” you experience in your life today too!

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

Getty image by anyaberkut

Follow this journey Redefining Invisibility.


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


Related to Fibromyalgia

A silhouette image of a father and daughter holding hands as they walk down a tunnel.

How the Death of My Father Has Affected My Fibromyalgia

I’ve recently discovered that though my fibromyalgia by itself is incredibly difficult and painful to live with, my symptoms have increased in severity following a deeply painful emotional blow. On January 13th, 2018, my father passed away. I didn’t find out about it until February 11, 2018, but it didn’t matter how old the news [...]
woman with her head tilted back and eyes closed

What It's Really Like to Live With Fibromyalgia

I tend to sanitize my illness for people. Or I’ll say what’s bothering me the most (usually my neck or the fatigue). The definition of fibromyalgia – chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain, chronic fatigue and sleep disturbances – doesn’t convey the depth of the impact of this illness. In addition, the body is a whole – therefore [...]
prescription bottle with pills spilling out against an orange background

When You Have to Fight to Get Your Pain Medication

I am so tired of fighting. I fight my body each and every day. I fight to get out of bed. I fight to take my pills. I fight to get the energy to even move off the couch. I spend so much energy on just making it through the day. Now, I have even [...]
woman with blonde hair standing outside with the sun behind her

When Invisible Pain Causes You to Question Yourself

We learn at an early age that pain means something is wrong. That pain is indicative of an infection, an injury, or an illness. That it’s something that is fixable with an aspirin, antibiotic, a bandage, a doctor’s visit or a cast. That the doctor could feel the heat radiating from the sprain, see the [...]