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When Hope Disappoints You With Chronic Illness

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As I dismantle my business for the second time because my fibromyalgia has become too difficult to manage again, I am left feeling very sad and disappointed about my career goals and dreams I had dared to hope might actually come true.

I had my condition and chronic pain under a great management plan and was steadily improving and coping better than ever. I was beginning to feel hopeful for a “normal” life. So many people with fibro are trying to get “back” to their old selves, it seems like such a natural thing to do like anyone who has been ill, they try to recover.

This more “normal” phase brought back my dream of working for myself in my own office, which we decided to build in our garden. I thought working from home would make life easier, I had my office set up like I had always imagined and began working five months ago. Starting small, I felt a little pressure, but motivated and hopeful for a thriving business. It was like anything was possible again after years of feeling I had lost my future when I was so disabled by pain. I imagined myself working more hours and living a fruitful life and career like other people do, like I used to do.

My career dream was born 10 years ago after beginning training for my chosen path, but it is clear to me now it does not fit my world any longer. It came from the hopes and dreams of a healthy person, and even though now slightly adapted, it just sadly doesn’t work for the person I am today.

Honestly, I couldn’t cope and the dream became a nightmare again, just like last time when I had to stop working while trying to find a diagnosis. The work only highlighted my physical and mental incapabilities, left me emotionally overloaded and physically broken again.

All the hope, expectation, wants and needs for my career added pressure and just because I had found health and balance managing my fibro, it did not make me that healthy person from 10 years ago.

I feel a disappointment, a failure all over again.

Everyone changes as the years pass, but my dreams didn’t. It turns out all that hope left me high and dry and now I wonder if it is easier not to dare to dream of a goal at all.

Fibromyalgia has taken so much from me and just when I felt safe to hope for more for myself, it all came crumbling down.

My body is a full-time job, making sure I am doing all the things I clearly cannot do without to make my condition manageable. It is so easy with societal pressure to feel this isn’t enough. I am not trying “hard enough,” but they aren’t me in this broken body.

So, what can I do but listen to what my body is telling me? I have to make my dreams smaller and more manageable again, get my strength and health on track once more and think about what to do to keep my life feeling fulfilled without the cost to my health.

I haven’t lost all hope, I just cannot stop striving for a healthier, fulfilled life. But, perhaps I need to remember dreams come in all shapes and sizes and now it is time to find the right one that fits for me, as I am, fibro and all.

Getty image by Tamara Dragovic

Originally published: April 24, 2021
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