depression, Fibromyalgia/CFS, Life

Behind the smile…..

I’ve been pretty much confined to home for the past 7-8 weeks now with ‘the thing’…..that’s my new name for my fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, the thing! Apart from Drs appointments and a couple of outings over Christmas with family. Last week my enduring Dr said he wanted me to do a little more and make sure it was something I got pleasure from. Ok, well I get pleasure behind my camera, what can I do apart from taking my photos just for pleasure. After a random conversation with big son number 1, I decided to offer free photos of people’s pets. With that my PET PROJECT was born. Now I know I’m offering free photos, for now, but I was so pleased and surprised at the response. So off I went to spend an hour with Ryder the black cat, thank you Ryder for your time…..and I have to say I was really happy with the results and so we’re Ryder’s family. Great, I enjoyed it, it got me out and doing something pleasurable for a short amount of time. Anyone with ‘the thing’ will tell you they are the key elements in pacing, coping and survival.Β However, I had a date with Jasper, the Boxer booked in for the next day…..the Dr doubled my meds and I couldn’t get behind the wheel of my car due to being so disoriented from my medication increase and had to postpone my time with Jasper. Yes I was disappointed, but safety, not only for myself but others is paramount.

After a chat online with a friend, more like ships in the night….we have been trying to set up a lunch or dinner date for nearly 18 months…..anyway he asked if I was well enough to do lunch on Saturday, yesterday. Let’s be honest, I love my food so that would come under the pleasure title, getting out comes under the Drs requirement also, so I said yes. To his credit he also checked in with me during the morning before lunch that I was still ok. Yep, let’s do this. I had a shower and proceeded to put my makeup on…..first time since November 14. Now I’m 51 (😱) and have obviously been applying makeup for a long time, well you would think I’d never worn it before. I stood there looking into my drawer of makeup not sure where to start, in sets a bit of confusion, a bit of doubt and a bit of panic. Panic because after all these years I shouldn’t be having any confusion or doubt about slapping a bit of makeup on. I finally did, but the doubt was still there and I went straight into son number 1 and his girlfriend to check it was all ok. Of course it was, but they could also see that by then I was exhausted. When you have ‘the thing’ any amount of mental or physical activity outside of virtually nil exhausts you. Clearly this was nervous energy that I was expelling and it takes its toll. So I sat down for a bit of of a rest before I even left the house, a nap would have been nice, but I would have missed lunch!!!!!

We had lunch in a beautiful setting, my companion couldn’t have pick a better place for me mentally…….water, pelicans and the odd fishing boat coming in. When we started we were the first ones in the restaurant, we chatted, my goodness I even laughed I think, we ordered, we started to eat and as we were doing so the restaurant started to fill up. Well of course I knew it would, a Saturday lunch, with the sun shining and people still in holiday mode after Christmas and New Years. What I didn’t take into account was how this would affect me. I found it more and more difficult to concentrate on our conversation, I started to feel uncomfortable in this beautiful setting with my friend and started to get restless in my chair….now my companion probably didn’t even notice, he probably just thought I was getting comfortable. But the more noise and busyness the more uncomfortable I felt. Uh oh…..panic attack coming on. Time to flee……we did and we chatted outside in the sunshine in much calmer and quieter surrounds. When I was calm enough internally we said our goodbyes and I made it home in one piece. If I have to be completely honest, I was not prepared for that to have happened and it frightened me somewhat. I came home, lay down and slept. I woke feeling much better and with a feeling of proudness in myself for having stuck to the arrangement and having Β turned up.

Now it was a good thing that I felt a bit better as I already had a prestanding agreement to go to dinner with my beautiful group of crazies, one of our friends had her son over from New Zealand and this was a dinner for us to all meet him. As always I was looking forward to dinner, I am with a great group of people that never judge, allow for my ‘thing’ and I don’t have to put on any falsities to be with them. Well lucky for them, I already had my makeup on !!!!! I arrived at dinner and yes, I was so happy to see my group and to meet the son from across the ditch. However inside, I was churning……..again. I laughed, I smiled, I genuinely wanted to be there, but as the time progressed I was ready to flee. All of a sudden my arms felt like lead, a warning sign that if I was to drive myself home I would have to leave very soon, not long after that I was seeing double of everyone…….time to leave NOW. This was a combination of exhaustion and panic……not a good combination to have when you’re ten minutes from home and you’re the driver. I said my goodbyes quickly and left. That drive home was slow and steady, the concentration it took was even more exhausting and when I did get home it was evident. My son was there and could see exactly how I felt.

I admit I feel like I’ve been hit by a Mack truck and dragged a few hundred metres up the road before being kicked to the side today, the after affects of yesterday. The simple lesson here is no one ever knows what someone else is dealing with. Even other people with ‘the thing’ will relate to some of this but not all, we all suffer differently, but make no mistake, we do suffer.

So if you see me with makeup on, know it took a lot to look that way. If you see my smiling, know I genuinely want to, but inside I may be crying, panicking, definitely hurting and probably exhausted. You just never know what’s behind the smile.

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