If you live with fibromyalgia, you know that the condition can impose some limitations, perhaps preventing you from doing things you were able to accomplish with ease before developing the condition. Grappling with the losses and limitations life with fibromyalgia can bring can undoubtedly be difficult and is a part of the journey for many.
However, life with fibromyalgia does not solely equate to loss. Our community often reminds us (and rightfully so) of how illness can open new doors and provide opportunities for learning and growth. For many, their fibro diagnosis not only affected their health, but perhaps also led to changes in their lifestyle, new passions and hobbies, different beliefs and mindsets, improved self-care and self-advocacy, and new perspectives on the world around them. Many have developed skills – be it artistic, technical, personal or so on – because of the way their lives have changed and been impacted by fibromyalgia.
We wanted to highlight the talents of some pretty incredible people, so we asked our Mighty community to share a skill they’ve developed as a result of having fibromyalgia. When you live with a chronic illness, it can be so easy to fall into traps of thinking about all the things you can’t do – so today, think about all the amazing things you can do and celebrate how talented and valuable you truly are.
Here’s what our community shared with us:
- “Gratefulness. I find myself counting my blessings far more often than before.” – Cliodhna C.
- “Three words: Color. Correcting. Makeup. I’m now a pro at using tone balancing colors to help cover up my flush and dark circles.” – R.S.H.
- “My anatomy and physiology knowledge leveled up really fast. I now know more muscles and joints than I ever thought I needed to – because each day, some part of my body that I didn’t even know existed hurts like the dickens!” – Natty S.
- “Picking things up with my toes! I only bend over if I absolutely have to.” – Melanie C.
- “It’s taught me so much about appreciation. I would like to think I appreciated the people in my life already, but my illness gave so many of my friends and family the opportunity to show me just how amazing they are. When I needed them they were there, to visit me when I was lonely and bored, to pick me up in their cars when I couldn’t walk, to cook for me and pray for me and ask me how I was doing. I’m not sure how I will ever thank them all enough for how much easier they’ve made these past few months for me.” – Bethan T.
- “It taught me my strength. I consider this a skill because sometimes you still mess up.” – Alexis M.G.
- “I can be in so much pain but still have a genuine smile on my face. I’m talking about genuine happiness, not faking through it. I’m entering my 20s. I don’t want to look back on these years as the years I lost myself to this illness. I am going to live a life of pain and I am going to live a fulfilling life. Both can be true.” – Jillian S.
- “Treating my own trigger point muscle knots.” – Mel L.
- “I taught myself to knit to combat depression and other fibromyalgia-related symptoms. The meditative movements help calm me down and distract me. The fact that fibro can knock me on my butt for days at a time has given me time to focus on this craft that I’ve fallen in love with. My family benefits too, they get hats and socks and little toys.” – Tiffany M.
- “To know boundaries. I can do some things but not others. Sometimes it depends on the day I am having, and I really have to listen to my body. Having fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome at a young age has taught me that.” – Alexandria B.A.
- “I learned how to let go and to pace myself. I’ve also learned that I have a lot of artistic skills that I didn’t really know about. I started several wood sign making projects as a technique to distract myself from pain and find a new hobby… And it has definitely become quite a hobby and I feel like I have more of a purpose. It works well that stains and paint and what not have to sit for awhile anyways, so it forces me to take breaks, even when I don’t want to, but I know my body needs to!” – Kristin W.
- “[I’ve learned] it’s OK to do things slowly. I used to rush through with things and now I know there is nothing wrong with taking a break when needed and to just slow down.” – Gabriel C.
- “I’ve learned to smile in spite of how I’m feeling. I could get an award for my acting skills!” – Jamie S.
- “Speaking up for myself. I was diagnosed in my teens after years of symptoms… I have had to learn to speak up, put my foot down and not let others brush me off (usually adults). Just because it’s hard to believe doesn’t mean I’m faking, attention-seeking or telling stories. My pain is real and you aren’t going to tell me otherwise.” – Bay H.
- “Patience. Waiting at the doctor’s, waiting at the hospital, waiting at the pharmacy….” – Jill C.
- “I’ve become very aware of movement and I’m in tune with my body. When you feel every single movement in your muscles due to fibromyalgia, you become very aware of what you’re doing.” – Rai S.
- “Learning to pace myself and having more empathy for others with similar conditions!” – Ann O.