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How Fibromyalgia Makes Me Feel Guilty When I Hear About Others' Resolutions

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January. The time of year many of us may beat ourselves up about eating or drinking too much over the holiday season.

“Why did I eat that extra mince pie?”

“I should have stopped after just one cookie!”

I’m sure you’re all familiar.

If you have chronic illnesses, you may, like me, dread the time of year when all of your friends and family are setting themselves New Year’s resolutions.

Why? Because it shines a big glaring spotlight on the fact that I’m different due to my fibro.

I already try to avoid anything in excess, and already stay away from alcohol and caffeine for the most part. Not to mention the big ones: losing weight and getting fit. Whenever I hear someone has given themselves these resolutions, I feel guilty. I know, it doesn’t make sense. Why should I feel bad about other people trying to improve themselves? I’m happy that they’re happy and trying to be healthier, so what’s the problem?

Well, I’ll tell you. It’s because I can’t do it too.

That’s not exactly accurate. I can, but unfortunately there are huge limits to what I can achieve because of my condition.

Firstly, I’ve gained a bunch of weight due to some of my medications that seems to be staying put regardless of my efforts. In a society that tells us “thinner is better” a lot of the time, this can be hard to accept. Especially because I know what the issue is, but cannot simply stop taking my medications.

Secondly, I find physical exercise incredibly difficult. My mobility is pretty bad and I can’t do much more than a few yoga stretches before I start to seize up or pull a muscle. So while my friends are joining the gym this January, I’m lying on my bed doing a few little stretches and once more feeling guilty that I can’t do “enough.”

So you see, I’m happy for all of you starting the year in a healthy, determined and positive way. I’m just jealous I can’t join you!

It’s not all bad news though. I do actually feel better the last few years than I have previously. This is because I was incredibly lucky enough to have my son in 2015. Up until that point, I had zero trust for my own body. It never did what I wanted it to, or what it was supposed to do. Then, when I needed it to the most, my body cooperated and thankfully helped us to make a lovely, healthy little human. And bonus, you can’t stay still with a toddler. They won’t let you.

So you see, New Year’s resolutions are hard for me, but it’s not all bad. I know each person’s experience of fibromyalgia is different, but my point is this: there’s always a silver lining. No matter how many things you can’t do, there are always great things you can do, and you probably already have done some without even realizing. So this January, give yourself a break from feeling bad about New Year’s resolutions. You are fighting every day to be the fibro/chronic illness warriors you are. And that most definitely is enough.

Thanks so much for reading, and I wish you a happy and healthy as possible new year!

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Photo via AntonioGuillem on Getty Images

Originally published: January 10, 2018
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