Fibromyalgia does not unchain me for Christmas.

Why do some people presume that illness is no longer there simply because of Christmas?
This question has gone over and over in my mind the last few days. The period between Christmas and New Year is often a pensive one. I struggle with my place in the world during this week, I struggle with what day it is!

I try and remove all negativity from my mind and I mostly succeed but not with this one thought, the thought remains fresh and raw:

Why presume I can control this illness?
Why presume I can be superwoman simply because it is the festive season?

The weeks before Christmas were so busy with preparation. The person before fibromyalgia could cope so well with this buzz yet not now. I am a new version of me. Not a lesser version or a broken version just a completely different form to the old pre-diagnosis me.

I know I am not alone in how I feel as I am gifted to be part of an amazing community of women with fibromyalgia but when writing this blog I can only share my own experience and story.

December came and I was nowhere near prepared, physically, emotionally or financially. For me as a single mother (with no financial support from my ex-husbands) it is a difficult time, I don't want or need praise for this, it is what it is and has always been that way.

Stress pokes the belly of fibromyalgia and wakes every symptom. This is why I try to live my life within a bubble of unicorns and magic rainbows. I remove toxic people from my life, keep my circle small yet sometimes you can not escape the stress. So I embraced it in December and tried to allow it a place within my month and then rebalanced the management of symptoms.

Usually, within a single month, I will have maybe one "out of the house experiences" with the boys. December always has many in the form of Panto, a carol concert, watching my eldest's band, watching Mr 18 perform Hamlet in his college, Mr 18 parent open evening at college, watching Mr 13 perform in his school band, watching Mr 10 and Mr 13 at wrestling, many trips to the doctors with Mr 10 and his wheezy asthmatic chest.

One of these "out of the house experiences" would be enough usually to cause a flare for me as I have disrupted the equilibrium and the fibromyalgia horse does a petulant Buckaroo. But not in December, the roller coaster is not allowed any dips till after Christmas so we hold on tight and battle on.

I staggered into Christmas day feeling like the death of Sgt. Elias in the film Platoon. Like a wounded soldier shot battered and broken staggering to his helicopter of safety, yet our pain is not as visible. Not quite grasping the analogy? Here is the clip from the great film.

The makeup was on, the smile in situ yet the pain was in my eyes. We develop many coping mechanisms to contain the pain, for me it is crochet. I enter into a world of calm when I am crocheting, my own relaxed utopia.

Fibromyalgia does not unchain me for Christmas. I am shackled to this cage of chronic illness every day not when I pick and chose so we all have our own ways to manage. It is not always the tears that measure pain, we often wear a fake smile and masquerade as a human.

So now this week, I always dread this week. No man's land between the love of Christmas and the clean slate of a new year. I look back on the photos within my phone and smile as this pain was so worth it. I will do a pictorial blog of Christmas as it was beautiful.

It is a dark time for many of us Fibromyalgia Mums. We all seem to be in a flare of painful symptoms from overdoing it during December. Last year I had a massive flare during this period and my body never returned to the pre-flare state. If Fibro was an Xbox game I very much moved onto a new level and the doors closed behind me to the previous one.

All my coping mechanisms are in place, my five son's love is like a massive security blanket around me so I know I will get past this pain.

I have been making myself a memory blanket for my bed, it is nearly complete. My first blog of 2017 will explain this in more detail. I have also been working on a 2017 happiness list, it is not a new year resolution list as they are so twee and predictable, new year new me blah blah blah. So look out for both these blogs.

To anyone that made you feel sad, lazy or worthless this Christmas please believe me when I say it is a reflection of their own ignorance of illness and mental health.

If they truly understood this illness and believed how it changes us as a person they would not question what we can do and when.

Maybe that is it?
Maybe we are not the fakes here, maybe these people fake their understanding of chronic illness and our Christmas gift is the unveiling of the truth?

I will give you a teaser of one of the things on my 2017 happiness list:

Number 2: With age, I understand more and more the value of privacy. Some people will never be your tribe. Happiness is found by cultivating your tribe. You can be civil, honest and open while accepting that some people will never deserve a seat at the table of your life.

If you are in a flare like me, stay warm, relaxed and just let it pass. Happier days await us, believe me.

 Love and gentle hugs to you all


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