Enjoying life, knowing I must pay to play
This weekend we pushed ourselves too hard, again. Both my boyfriend and I suffer from fibromyalgia. It’s likely I also have rheumatoid arthritis. (I’m awaiting further test results for confirmation.) Anyway, on Saturday we met my boyfriend’s mother for a hike. I had no idea it would be nearly 2 miles up a very steep trail. Also, he and I were carrying a backpacks, his with water bottles, mine with Snacks, my 5.5lb. support chihuahua.
This time, overdoing it, was in part due to peer pressure. Much of the way his mother was bragging about her daily hikes and how far and fast she swims at the gym daily. I’m sure its tough for my boyfriend to remind her that, she may be twice his age, but she doesn’t suffer from chronic pain conditions. We are not the able bodied “young people,” she seems to pretend we are. And frankly its depressing to have an old lady constantly remind us how much more physically able she is than us. So we just kept hiking as the aching grew worse.
Another issues is that, while we are in motion, it may be uncomfortable, but it wasn’t so excruciating that we couldn’t keep going. When we push ourselves too hard, the real suffering won’t kick in until afterwards.
I’ve paid to play for decades now. If I choose to go dancing (when we could still go out) or take a walking tour or go for a hike, I know I will pay with my pain in the days to come. The harder I push myself past minor discomforts in the moment, the worse the pain will be afterward and the longer it will take to recover.
Yes, it would be much worse to have a disease that is completely debilitating. But it’s also frustrating to have a disability that allows only small windows to enjoy the bits and pieces of life that others celebrate daily. Those who see me on those “living my best life days” never see the whole picture. Friends and family I visit with on good days rarely see the aftermath and i don’t want them to. They don’t realize that I’ve planned ahead for two or more days of suffering in exchange for those few precious hours of joy and normalcy.
Is it worth it? Its true, I could do nothing and go nowhere to maintain my average level 3 pain with random flair ups. I chose to pay to play and live life in one day bursts, knowing the pain is coming. What’s the point of living, if I can’t experience any of the things that make a life worth living?
“I love day adventures & traveling in the ‘before times,’ but it’s tough knowing I will be paying in pain for days to come.”
One of the reasons conditions like fibromyalgia are invisible illnesses is because, on good days, we can push ourselves to live in the moment. What our friends and family won’t see are the days of pain and recovery that follow.