Next week I turn 52 — and I am amazed I’m this old. I’ve had some close calls, and feel very lucky to be alive. However, for some reason, I realize that I constantly feel fearful.
Reflecting on my life to this point, I realize how fortunate I am, but also how scared I’ve become. Growing up, I was shy and had a difficult time making conversation. Once I got to know someone, I’d never shut up. I do love to talk, but the brain fog from fibro has made me afraid to speak to pretty much everyone. I’m afraid I’ll say the wrong thing, or something idiotic, and end up embarrassed and angry with myself.
I’m also afraid of overdoing it and causing a flare. I have missed so many family get-togethers and other important events for that reason — because flares can put me out of commission for days at a time.
Likewise, I’m afraid of making mistakes at work. When I’m flaring, I can’t focus and have a terrible time functioning. I’m worried I could lose my job because I call in sick so frequently. Up until recently, my employer has been fair with me. But one day, I had to call in sick on an especially busy day; he became very angry with me and said, “we have to figure out your health.” It appears my days there are numbered.
What if my irritable bowel syndrome decides to rear its ugly head while I’m driving, or worse — in a meeting? I don’t want to eat before heading out the door because that could spell disaster. My fear of not getting to a bathroom in time has me ALMOST to the point of wearing adult diapers. To me that is a sign I am old, and I’m not ready to commit to that notion just yet.
My absolute biggest fear has been losing my husband. I don’t know what I would do if that happened. I’ve given this a lot of thought lately. How would I cope alone?
During this time of reflection, not only have I realized I am a big Fraidy-cat, but also that the fear is all in my head. The fact that I can’t control my body or brain isn’t the real culprit. It’s my fear of how others will react to me. It’s my fear of feeling embarrassed or foolish — or being pitied and ridiculed.
Fibromyalgia has transformed me into a fearful person who only knows how to say “no” to any invitation, event or get-together.
I used to be very positive and upbeat, and I want to be that person that again. But it’s hard to be positive when your health is failing and your body won’t cooperate. My negativity comes from the challenges of living with fibro.
I now realize I have to stop fearing what could happen. No one can predict the future. Why live in fear of actually living?
Time to pull up my big-girl pants and live again. I control my destiny. I know it will be tough, but I have to swallow my fears and get on with my life. I can’t let fibro hold me back any longer. Watch out world, here I come!
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