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To Fibromyalgia, Which Proved I Didn’t Need to Be a Caretaker to Be Loved

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Dear fibromyalgia,

I want to thank you for helping me become the person I am today. I am genuinely kind, compassionate and loving towards others and myself.

Before you came into my life, I was a professional caretaker. I was such a natural at taking care of everyone that I became a social worker. I actually said, “I’m going to change the world.” A bit egocentric and naive, but I really did want to help make the world a better place. There’s nothing wrong with that, except I was hurting myself doing it. That’s when you stepped in and saved my life.

You taught me to say no because I simply was in too much pain and fatigue to say yes. When I no longer could help everyone, they found someone else who would.

I lost most of my friends, but were they really friends? It hurt, but no, they weren’t. I learned to only be in relationships, even with family members, if they were contributing as much effort and energy as I was.

Because of you, I have made many new wonderful friendships on fibromyalgia support groups.

And, no more drama. You flare up when I am stressed, so I keep my life calm.

You taught me to ask for and accept help. It wasn’t easy at first. It felt like I was admitting defeat. Yet, when I did, I saw how nice it was for my loved ones to be able to do things for me. It was a gift for them, too

In our first years together, I spent most days alone while my family was busy with work and school. This gave me the time to rest and discover who I am, since I was no longer a professional caretaker.

I came to understand that my caretaking hadn’t been altogether altruistic. It made me feel good. It made feel feel important, needed and validated my very existence.

Since you stopped me from rescuing people, I finally saw me. I need no reason to justify my existence. I am still kind, compassionate and loving, but it’s because that’s who I am, not because that’s how I think I need to be to be loved.

There is so much of my former life you had to take away before I could really experience your greatest gift: helping me discover that I am worthy of being loved for simply being me.

I’ve stopped wanting my old life back. I like my new life and the new me even more. 

The Mighty is asking its readers the following: If you could write a letter to the disability or disease you (or a loved one) face, what would you say to it? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

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Originally published: April 8, 2016
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