I lost my sense of self.
In my last blog, I referred to Lori Chance’s comparison of core values to a car engine. (Click here to read my previous blog.) Her explanation gave me so much insight. If that comparison doesn’t sound like what Fibromyalgia did to my life and yours, I don’t know what else does? I know I lost my sense of Self. My core value was Get. This. Pain. To. STOP!! (No clapping in between the words, because I was in too much pain. And, I probably said one-word statements because of how lethargic I was at the time). Plus, let’s be honest, those five words are not a core value.
Core value became wisdom.
However, the core value could be learning or wisdom because I had to educate myself. I had to find out what was wrong with me, and then, find things that would help my symptoms so I could start living life again. Truthfully, that was all I had time for and all I had the energy for.
Yes, family has always been important to me, but as I was in the throws of life with Fibromyalgia, I know I wasn’t there for my family like I wanted to be. All I could do was sleep, go to the next doctor’s appointment, and cry from the pain and feelings of despair. I didn’t know when this was going to end so I could be there for my family again. In an upcoming blog, I will talk more about this specific issue.
Living a life of utter unbalance.
My second thought to Lori’s comments was Oola. I was no longer living a life of balance. Chronic illness steamrolls right over ALL 7 areas of Oola. Here is what it took from my 7 areas:
- Finances: Depleting finances because of all the medical bills piling up and loss of time at work.
- Fitness: Kind of obvious,
- Body – Hurting and fatigued to the point that exercise was like climbing Mt. Everest. At that time, anyone who told me I had to move to lessen the pain – Well, let’s just say, if looks could kill, anyone in a ten-mile radius would have been gone!
- Confused by what was happening to my body
- Depressed because I couldn’t do the things I normally could do and knew I was not there for my family
- Anxious because I did not know how long this was going to last before there would be relief and when the weight gain would stop. I always wondered when the next shoe was going to drop.
- Field: Knowing I had to reinvent myself for a different job. I knew I was not going to make it to retirement age teaching elementary children due to the rigor the job entails. A job, though stressful, was something I LOVED to do.
- Family: I did not feel I was there for them.
- Friends: Definitely not there for them. I lost friendships over this because they did not understand what I was going through. (No judgements here.)
- Faith: Even for those of us with strong faith, Fibromyalgia will test it. I definitely didn’t have the energy to go to church consistently.
- Fun: What? That DEFINITELY was bye-bye.
Oola wheel was FLAT!
As you can see, my Oola wheel was FLAT! Once, I had energy reserves to start living life with Fibromyalgia, I had a lot of hard work pumping up all those areas. I had to pick one at a time to inflate so I wouldn’t get so overwhelmed. In the end, the journey was worth it, because now I am enjoying and contributing to life again.
Just as I had to relook at the 7 areas of an Oola life, I also had re-analyze my core values. This is something we all need to do throughout our life. As we go through the different stages of life, what area(s) of Oola you decide to work on and the core values that are meaningful to you change a little due to the experiences we have had. If you are not fine-tuning your core values, and Oola Wheel, life becomes a difficult road. You may find yourself at a standstill, just like a car that does not get its maintenance done in order to keep moving forward.
I choose to embrace Fibromyalgia for giving me clarity.
In my next blog, I will kick off an activity for you in the area of core values. I will be taking it a step further. I found for myself that to start loving this person with Fibromyalgia, I had to take time to look at activities and core values that were important to me before Fibromyalgia. For me, this helped to grieve and give gratitude for the time I had them in my life. As I did this, there were some activities and core values that were not as important anymore. More interesting, were the core values that stayed the same. The activities I do for those same core values may look different but the core values are the same. It made me realize who I really am and to celebrate it. Hmmm…without Fibromyalgia, would I really have uncovered my true Self? I’m going to choose to embrace Fibromyalgia for giving me clarity on this point. My hope is it will give you the clarity you need too.