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When Fibromyalgia Makes Me Feel Guilty as a Wife and Mom

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There are days where I wake up exhausted from a full night of sleep and my back is already hurting and it hurts to put my feet on the floor, but I force myself up and out to face the world. I have a job to do on top of being a wife and mom and I don’t want anyone to recognize that I’m feeling deficient, but the simple truth is that sometimes I just can’t even.

As a teacher, I must exude energy and excitement about what I teach. While I find my job rewarding, the endless jumping through hoops that I do throughout the day to get kids excited about math drains me most days. I’m faking it all day long. I don’t feel energetic, so I overcompensate to get the kids into what we do. I drink lots of coffee, and I teach like my hair is on fire. I keep the momentum going before anyone can grab the fire extinguisher and put out the flame.

On the drive home with my children, after hearing the loudness that comes with teaching all day, the car ride is a long one. Not just long because of distance, but because children are loud. My children. They are loud. Not only that, but I fight back against my eyelids as they drag farther down, trying to lull me to sleep. I am fatigued from not only not getting enough sleep most days, but because I’ve been on fire for math all day long.

At home, dinner must get cooked, homework must get done, and I am tired. I’m tired, and sore, and just want to go to bed. This is not an option that makes anyone happy at my house. The kids want me and my husband wants me, but my body rebels against the responsibilities.

On the bad fibro days, I feel incredibly guilty. I get migraines, my body aches, and I’m tired. I rest, but not without the dreaded consequence of feeling like I’m ignoring a family that needs me. To my husband, I want to say that I appreciate him for being my rock. Not everyone has that. To my children, I want to say that I’m sorry for what that this illness has stolen from you. I feel robbed, too, of happiness, time with my family, and of comfort.

For these reasons, I try really hard to fight the urge to lie down. I battle through. I try to win the will to power on through pain, fatigue, and memory fogs. I feel grateful for the days that aren’t so bad. I use them to make up for time that I lost. I color with my youngest, snuggle with my oldest, and help my husband out in the kitchen.

Please know that I am not lazy. I am not making excuses to get out of working. Sometimes I just can’t move because there’s a 2-ton elephant sitting on my body and guilt just lends itself to depression, which I don’t want to have to fight against, but often do.

In April, I have an appointment with The Mayo Clinic to try to moderate these afflictions better. I pray that I find the answers I need there. To all those fibro warriors out there, I know that you’re fighting the good fight and that sometimes we lose, but your body has limitations. Know that I understand and that you have nothing to feel sorry for. It’s not your fault that the elephant chose you as a seating option. Maybe tomorrow you’ll find a way to pry it off and move freely, but if you’re weighed down today, that’s OK.

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Lead photo by Thinkstock Images

Originally published: February 2, 2017
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