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A Note to Self for the Days When Fibromyalgia Makes Me Feel Guilty

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Fibromyalgia and other chronic pain illnesses can affect us in lots of different ways, but one thing I hear lots of people say is they feel guilty. Guilty even though they’ve done nothing wrong and can’t control what their illness does to their bodies and their minds. I feel this a lot too and decided I need to have a word with myself about how unnecessary it is!


So here goes…

Dear Self,

You have fibromyalgia, but that is not all of who you are. You are a soul who loves, is loved, creates and fights this invisible battle every day. Just because your physical body cannot do all of the things other people can does not mean you should feel guilty.

The guilt you hold in your heart for not being able to go to work, not being able to do everything you want to do with your son and husband, not being able to help your parents and sister as much as they help you – all of these things are self-destructive. You need to focus on helping yourself and being as well as you can be instead of wasting energy worrying you’re letting people down. It’s not your fault you have fibromyalgia. It’s not your fault your life didn’t turn out how you thought it would.

Deep down, you know this. You also know your loved ones do not see you as a disappointment at all. You just feel this way sometimes out of frustration with the limitations your condition leaves you with.

I think you know your guilt is just part of the self-esteem issue chronic illness can bring. We feel bad about ourselves for not being who we think society expects us to be. We feel bad we’re not the person we used to be, or that we want to be. For you, this includes the weight gain related to your medications. You often feel the need to explain this to people and are almost apologetic about it. Why does it matter so much? You don’t judge others by their appearance and make assumptions based upon it, so why worry others are doing it to you? I feel like I need to tell you, “Don’t be so shallow.” You have more to worry about than that, and more important things to concern yourself with than if strangers think you eat six chocolate bars and a multipack of crisps every day!

Things like getting through the day, taking care of your awesome little boy and spending time with your husband and loved ones.

Lastly, I want to remind you that you are a good person who can be (and is) productive and helpful despite your limitations. Focus on the stuff you achieve instead of the things you’re unable to do.

And stop feeling guilty for something you didn’t choose, don’t deserve and will probably always have.

Thanks for reading,

Love, Yourself

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Thinkstock photo via RossHelen.

Originally published: September 18, 2017
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