Sharing the Big “F’s”: Frustration & Feelings

 I started keeping a journal when I was diagnosed with FM 8 years ago. I am now using those journals to identify the issues that I faced, some of the lessons I learned, and to share my journey of coping and healing.

During that first year I felt very lonely because I didn’t know how to talk about my frustrations and feelings with family, friends, and the people I worked with. Maybe I was afraid to talk about them. Almost everyone I knew was aware that I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia because they had been very worried when I got so sick so quickly. Our local newspaper also ran a feature article on someone with FM right after I returned from Mayo with a diagnosis. Because the people around me cared and were informed, they would ask me how I was doing and usually I would say fine and changed the subject. It just didn’t seem appropriate to say things like: I’m angry because I don’t have the energy to get my work done; I’m scared that I won’t get my life back; or, I’m so frigging tired of being tired (or hurting, or crying).

Sometimes I would talk to people about how I felt when it seemed appropriate and I thought I could trust them. Sometimes these people had their own health problems and frustrations. Sometimes my experience became a shared experience that brought us closer together and we ended up having a really good laugh about our situations. But sometimes I was afraid to talk about it and I wanted to avoid people – I just went home and hid. I was looking for a way to let people know how hard life was so I didn’t feel so lonely but I didn’t always know how to do it. If I said too much, I was afraid that I would be seen as a whiner and complainer and it would make people want to avoid me. Deep down I felt weak and defective and didn’t want people to see that part of me. What I learned: If I don’t share my frustrations and feelings, I will be lonely. I will become even lonelier if I talk about my frustrations and feelings with the wrong people, at the wrong time, and too much.

I discovered through the grapevine at work that there were other employees who were diagnosed with FM. At first I thought that we could support each other but I soon discovered that they didn’t seem to want to talk about it either. Maybe they felt like me; living with chronic pain and fatigue while trying to get my work done took more endurance than I had. The few times we did talk about it, it felt like they also needed to pretend that everything was “normal” so they could make it through the day. I suppose we could have shared ideas for what helped with symptoms, but this made for a very short conversation because there didn’t seem to be many options and what worked for one didn’t seem to help the other. I wanted to know what others were experiencing but talking about how miserable we were got boring really fast. Besides, I preferred to do my crying in private.

Copyright © Patricia A. Bailey and I Miss Me, Too/ 2012-2013.

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One thought on “Sharing the Big “F’s”: Frustration & Feelings

  1. “What I learned: If I don’t share my frustrations and feelings, I will be lonely. I will become even lonelier if I talk about my frustrations and feelings with the wrong people, at the wrong time, and too much.”

    That is very true. I tend to keep things private unless I know for sure I can confide in a person when something is bothering me. Not everyone you know will be understanding of everything going on in your life or be able to offer support. It is important to talk through one’s frustrations, but yes, talking to the wrong people can make you feel worse than merely keeping it in.


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