This entry is written by a friend who I met about 13 years ago in a Yahoo Fibromyalgia Support Group. The group still exists today. There are a small handful of us. We are more like sisters than just friends. Priscilla is my Sistah-Friend.
“I have what?” I asked the doctor. I had a million questions about this mysterious illness she was telling me I had. When I heard the phrase “treat the symptoms” I felt dizzy with disbelief. No pill for this? No shot? No physical therapy?
After the initial shock wore off, I seemed to have another million questions. Now they were about how to live, how to function, how to survive this every day.
Much later, my question was “how can I find any pleasure, comfort or joy while living with chronic illness and pain? “ Sometimes, it seemed too difficult to imagine. I began to realize this was a new way of living.
Through a short trip I took with my grown daughter, sister and teenage niece, I rediscovered some of my childhood favorite activities. The four of us stopped in a large chain store to buy some “kiddie art” to do in the hotel room, just to be silly. We decided to buy fuzzy art posters, the kind that look a little like velvet and come with colored markers. I worked on mine the entire weekend!
What I found was that I took pleasure in the things of childhood. Oh, I cannot play dodge ball, jump rope or any of the other physical games I loved as a child, but I can indulge in the passive activities. I find the beautiful colors in the fuzzy art posters cheerful and bright and the act of “coloring” with them relaxing. I love to sit outdoors and blow bubbles. I especially enjoy doing so when I am around my mother’s dog because she loves to chase the bubbles, which doubles my pleasure. I also love to watch animation. This is one activity I never did stop doing!
Recently, I watched the animated movie “Open Season”, about a Park Ranger who rescues and raises a grizzly bear cub. As he reaches adult size, he is too much for her to handle and it is time for him to return to the wild. She must find a safe place to release him, as hunting season is about to begin. She helicopters him to a place high in the mountains, where she feels he will be safe.
My “safe place” is often the child-like activities I have mentioned. Not only are they relaxing, fun and easy, engaging in them releases stress, thus enabling me to easier get through daily life. Another bonus is that my family enjoys seeing me doing something that makes me happy. While chronic pain and illness are serious business, it is important to let part of us remain child-like!