I’ve read over and over again that the women who most often find themselves dealing with Fibromyalgia are “type A” personalities, accomplished woman, over-achievers. I know this applies to me. I was raised to be not only self-sufficient but self-sacrificing; to help others even if it means detriment to yourself. My mother is the epitome of this, and I learned from watching her. That said, I also learned there are limits and I was never as likely to give the shirt off my back as she was. I was more likely to say “no”, although it usually meant a good bit of guilt to do so. In the last year or so I found myself saying “yes” more and more. Not only saying “yes” but volunteering to do things before I was even asked. Why? Because I wanted people to like me, wanted people to appreciate me, wanted people to need me. The funny thing is that they already did. I just never felt like I was “enough”, so I was always trying to do, to give more.
One of the things I learned the fastest when I got sick was that I had to say “no”. At first it was just because I was “sick” and I thought it was a short term thing. I’d still make plans, I’d still volunteer for things, I’d still say “yes”. Then I’d have to cancel the plans or “flake out” on my friends (at least it feels like freaking out). I’ve been sick enough for the last couple of months that I haven’t said “yes” to anything or volunteered to do anything beyond that day, because I know I don’t know how I’ll feel tomorrow. I hope I’ll feel up to something, but maybe I won’t, so it’s better to say “no” than to be the friend who can’t be relied on to follow-through with plans.
Sometimes I wonder why I’ve been afflicted with Fibro, and at times when I stop to think about it I try to think about what I’ve learned in the last 9 months. I know I’ve learned some patience, but more importantly, I’ve learned to say “no”. What I’ve also learned is that those who are really my friends, understand. They understand when I don’t answer the phone, or call them back right away, or when I can’t commit to plans for this weekend. Or when I make plans and I have to cancel at the last minute. I don’t have to be anything more than who or what I am for them to be there for me. I can say “no” and they will still like me. Just as important, I have to say “no” in order to be able to be a friend to them because if I continue to say “yes” when I shouldn’t it will be even longer before I can truely be there for them.