I want to take a minute to introduce myself: Deanne Garman, long time sufferer of fibromyalgia, (childhood) short time recoveree on the guaifenesin protocol (2 years). I have known Becky for about 9 years, and I was struggling with the protocol by myself. About 2 years ago, I asked Becky to help coach me with the protocol. Recently, she has asked me to write some blog entries for her on her site, and this was the first subject she asked me to address. How do we respond to support or lack thereof from our spouses or significant friends and family? Why don't they understand? What can we do if we feel alone in this?
When dealing with any disease, the people in your life who love and support you are there for you as best they can. Sometimes, support comes from encouragement, being there, a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes, it comes with awkwardness, not knowing what to say or do. This is especially true with a debilitating disease that leads to unwanted circumstances and learning how to say goodbye to someone before their time.
But in the case of Fibromyalgia, what we often face is: “Did the doctor give you anything for it?”, “ Oh wow, ya, I have a lot of pain, too.”, or my favorite, “This is what I do for my pain, it really helps.”
It’s not that I don’t appreciate their attempts at trying to understand or help, it’s just that I am following a protocol for Fibromyalgia that is not as well-known as say, herbs, or medication. I have experienced great results at reversing my symptoms, and I want everyone to know! It’s not a pain killer, it’s not a psychiatric drug, it’s a new way of thinking and a new way to live out my life.
Getting support for this from significant people in my life is a great challenge. I have come to the conclusion that people generally do not understand because they are not living my life, and I am okay with that. I don’t talk too much about my Fibromyalgia, only except to tell them about Guaifenesin, and have realized that I don’t need to talk about it, dump or unload my problems or issues with life, because I’m living my life again! Yay!
In my previous marriage, I was not supported, was blamed for not getting better, and abandoned. I really don’t need to get into details about how difficult this made things emotionally, but when that relationship ended, I found myself free from the blame and indignation that I faced. It was ultimately a good thing, as it led to me meeting my current husband, Dwyane, and my recovery has improved much since then.
Dwyane is a completely amazing person. He found out I was not supposed to eat lots of sugar, he immediately worked on a menu for me. He makes sure that I remember to take my Guaifenesin. He tries to help me out in any way he can. He tells me lots of good and positive things and tries to make each day fun. He is understanding when I have my flare-ups, and steps in to help me whenever I am too weak to do things myself. He listens if I complain, and he never blames me nor expects me to do more than I should. It truly is a great help to have someone be here for me. But I don't completely rely on him for support. I must rely heavily on myself first.
Regardless of what kind of support we receive, it is very important come up with our own understanding of how to handle the disappointments and joys of living with Fibromyalgia. Not everyone is going to understand and help. Not everyone is going to reject or abandon. So here are three things to start off with that we can do whether we have the support we need or not:
Have a beautiful day and wonderful week!