I’ve never had good luck with doctors, with taking my health into my own hands. Whether it’s my physical or mental health, I’ve always shoved it to the side because there are more important things to deal with, and by god, I should be able to push past the pain to get shit done.
I’ve always measured myself against the people around me, consciously or not. The dreams I’ve pursued, the things I wear, the way I speak — it always falls short when held against others. I’ve held myself against younger versions of myself — after all, young!Reyah was outgoing, healthier, more creative…I wasn’t always like this.
I don’t know when I stopped being able to push through it, when the pain and the depression, and the anxiety, became too much. I don’t know when I finally sat down and said to myself, It’s too much. You can’t do it and that’s okay. It’s okay that you can’t do it.
It…it is okay, right?
I want it to be. I want it to be okay that I can’t work the 60 hour weeks on my feet like I used to. I want it to be okay that there are days when my body or my brain says no, you’re not leaving this bed.
It wasn’t a conscious choice, a New Year’s Resolution, for me to make 2018 the year of my tackling my health, both mental and physical. I guess you could say I started this journey last year, when I went through a very brief, and abruptly ended therapy program, and found that I wasn’t satisfied going back to just living with depression and hating myself for not being able to do anything about it because…because I couldn’t, because I told myself I couldn’t, because the world said I didn’t deserve to do anything about it but I also had to fall into what the world wanted me to do and those things just weren’t possible for me the way I was. The way I am.
I’m not healthy, and goddamn it, that’s okay.
Going into the rheumatologist’s office was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, because I was certain I was going to leave with a diagnosis that would put a expiration date on my hands.
I know I can still write, can still have a fulfilled and happy life, sans my hands. But I won’t lie and say that I wasn’t terrified. I assumed I would leave with an arthritis diagnosis, or maybe I wouldn’t leave with a diagnosis at all, and maybe I would just be told that my chronic pain was because I was fat, and I needed to push through the pain and go to the damn gym more often.
But…that didn’t happen. Instead, I walked out with a fibromyalgia diagnosis, and wow, that wasn’t even close to being on the list of expectations for that visit.
I don’t entirely know what to do about it now. I have a follow-up in September, and I suppose we’ll see about a pain management plan from there.
Having a word, a diagnosis, for this pain that I’ve forced myself to push through for 10 years, every single day, is overwhelming and scary, but it is such a relief. This is only the beginning, and I have such a long, perpetually painful road ahead of me, but I’m so deeply thankful that it’s a road I’m not walking alone, and having that diagnosis helps me to see where I’m supposed to be going.
I have fibromyalgia. I guess we’ll see where I go from here.