Pam shares on her blog, The Journey Leads Home, “In preparation for Invisible Illness Awareness Month I thought that this video by Tenth Avenue North would be appropriate for the entries I will be making in the days ahead to bring awareness to those of us with an Invisible Illness.”
Pam is a 43-year-old stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) who has been married for 23 years to her college sweetheart. They have two children; a boy 16, a girl 15. She says, “I battle fibromyalgia, IBS and depression every day. I thought parenting with all of that was difficult until we hit the teen years. How do I do this?” Visit her blog, “The Journey Leads Home.”
- “I Just Want To Help!” When People Comment On Your Illness (invisibleillnessweek.com)
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You know there are times where the inside just does not match the outside. If you have ever watch What Not to Wear (I love me some Stacy & Clinton), on just about every episode you hear them say that they want the beauty on the outside to match the beauty on the inside. So they work and change and fluff the participant until she (and sometimes he) feels as lovely and confident about their outside as they do their inside. Their lovely $5000 new wardrobe shines as brightly as their personality. You’ve got to love a happy ending.
But what if you have the reverse problem? What if you could wish that your insides looked as good as the outside? After my diagnosis, I was so happy to find Butyoudontlooksick.com. Finally to find that someone else had heard that phrase as much as I had!
If I had a dollar for every time I heard, “But you look great/happy/healthy/etc” after honestly answering the dreaded question, “How are you today?” I would be a millionaire and living on an exotic island somewhere. You can only hear it so many times before you just begin lying and saying “Fine” and moving on.
I even sat in class once and we had a visiting speaker who shared about faith and health and he made the statement that everyone in class was healthy as we were all able to sit in class, yada, yada, yada (I’m not sure what he said after that because I was really fighting the urge to throw the stapler at his head).
So while others are trying to figure out how to get their hair/clothes/etc to reflect whats on the inside, I’m trying to figure out if it is ever possible to make my insides catch up with my outsides. I finally found a hair cut and color that I adore. Weight loss has helped me feel more comfortable shopping for clothes. And I’m finally starting to get a handle on my “style.” So while its nice to hear “You look fabulous,” I just wish I could answer, “Thanks and you know what, I FEEL fabulous.”
Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t just stay frumpy so that its more “believable” that I’m sick. Maybe add some extra light powder so I look extra pale and leave my hair a hot mess. Maybe then I won’t get the funny looks (followed by eye rolls on occasion) when I explain why I can’t do x, y, or z because I’m in pain or nauseated or you can fill in the blank.
But I’ve come to a point where I’m not ok with that. This post by Stephanie, a guest writer at BYDLS, “Confessions of an Unapologetic High-Maintenance Spoonie” gave me a boost in confidence that even though I’m a “spoonie” and my insides don’t quite add up to my rockin’ outsides, that its okay to be above the frump–even if it means getting the side-eye everyone once in a while. One day that may be true. I may feel as good on the inside as I do on the outside.
I’m still holding out hope for a cure (well, a cause first then a cure). There may be battles with the mirror but in the end I’ve won the war. I am more than my illness. So in the meantime, I’m rockin’ a new ‘do and some new jeans (and maybe some heels one day!).
Jamee is a wife, a mom and a follower of Christ. She says, “I am also a warrior battling multiple chronic illnesses. In life, I have learned that sometimes things happen and life doesn’t always go back to the way things were. Instead, you must find a new kind of normal. ” Read her blog A New Kind of Normal.
Note from Lisa: We’ve all felt the way Jamee describes above. If you need a smile watch this popular video going around the internet of a little girl giving herself some affirmations!
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I am currently reading the book Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend. I’m not really far into it yet, but I am discovering all the areas of my life that could be different by knowing my limits in every aspect of daily life.
Unfortunately (or fortunately – depending on your perspective) one of the first opportunities that I am actively choosing to use the methods the book has taught me is in my workout routine. Not quite the place you expect boundaries to be a “bad” thing. For some people the more intense the workout the better. You know, push past the wall and all that jazz. Where is the need for a boundary in that? But about 8 weeks ago I began working out with a personal trainer at Urban Active Fitness gym. How that can be a bad thing?
Let’s just say the term “too much of a good thing” is true.
I have learned that I have limitations because of my physical health. I figured it is working out so it would be good for me. So the harder I work the better it will be for me. WRONG!
So my trainer and I made some adjustments to accommodate my physical condition. STILL WRONG!
After each workout I would go into a fibro flare which would put me in bed and OUT of the daily life of my family.
THE VERY THING I WAS TRYING TO AVOID.
It was hard for me to see this. Last summer had such great results – I was walking everyday, sometimes twice a day. I was stretching and doing floor exercises at home every day, sometimes twice a day. Now I figured by adding in a personal trainer things would get every better. WRONG!
So last night Ron and I talked and decided that the working out at the gym with a trainer was the common denominator in my increased fibro flare ups. . . so we decided to let it go. It is so hard for me to admit that I can’t do something. It’s not hard for me to admit that I don’t want to do something. But I wanted this so bad. I want desperately to get better/healthier. It’s hard for me to admit that I have to limit myself in something I so desperately want to accomplish. However, you can’t make a fibro-wracked body do something it just can’t do.
I have learned once again that I have a limit. I have discovered a boundary. I have learned that when I step across said boundary it is UNhealthy for me. If I stay on the safe side of the boundary my life and body feel more balanced and healthier.
I admit that right now I feel like a quitter. But I’m trying to overcome those negative feelings and see this as a positive sign. It’s a sign that is directing me to a healthier, happier and more involved wife/parent/friend/person.
What limits do you have to face? What boundaries do you have that need to be highlighted in your life? It’s not easy. But it will be worth it to recognize them and abide by them. I’m sure of it!
You can read more comments from others in our Sunroom at Rest Ministries.
Pam is a 43-year-old stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) who has been married for 23 years to her college sweetheart. They have two children; a boy 16, a girl 15. She says, “I battle fibromyalgia, IBS and depression every day. I thought parenting with all of that was difficult until we hit the teen years. How do I do this?”
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