In the small, contained river, ringlets of water come to me, float away from me. I feel relaxed, my body is not betraying me now. There is silence in the house, just my breathing, in and out, with an occasional sigh from my contented old dog. I have spent three days and nights in bed, aching, pale, listless; every muscle and joint screaming in pain, tight as twisted steel. Now, there is a little comfort of mind and body intertwined. My music plays in the background, I’m listening to “My Immortal“; by Evanescence. It was my grief song and at the same time my healing song. I can listen to this song now without sobbing yet nine years ago when my father died, I crawled into a ball and wept every time I heard it. Sometimes time brings just a tiny bit of healing in increments as small as cells.
Many other days I am filled with questions and complaints but today they have been momentarily swept away. I try to keep my shoulders balanced so the tightness and stiffness will stay away. I do not want to be known as Fibromyalgia Girl. I want to be known as a woman with Fibromyalgia and not have the illness define me. Same too, I do not want to be Auto-immune Girl, Hashimoto Thyrioditis’ woman, The Woman with Chronic Pain. I am still the same person inside yet with physical limitations. Please, please, remember me.
When there is a day like today when I can release the labels and just be myself it is like winning a prize; a prize of peace. It is rare but on the days it does happen I am so relaxed I yawn automatically. Treasure this, I tell myself, this moment, this second, as long as it lasts; I know that they are merely moments of reprieve but I am grateful for them.
I am clean and polished, I want to organize, slowly this time, not like the crazy rush I did five days ago, punishing myself with aching limbs and so much stiffness I could barely walk down the stairs. I clutched the hand rail for support, for guidance, my jaws clenched, my hair pulled into an unforgiving, tight ponytail ; my body was stone and cement and there was no softness, no pull, no elasticity.
I swing my right leg, back and forth, keeping time to silent orchestration. The world outside is bright and bitter-blue cold. I have no interest in bracing myself and stiffening my body just to go out. I rather walk slowly through the rooms of my tiny, doll-size house and get reacquainted. ‘Hello, pen, hello, Bridget, the stuffed pink poodle, nice to see you again’. I am trying to breathe in even breaths but the more I try, the more I lose my relaxed rhythm. I decide that that’s okay; I refuse to worry.
Nothing has changed in the outside world so I know today is a gift for the internal me. I can’t make it happen anymore than I can make it stop. I am grateful for the breather, a vacation for an hour or two from body and mind. The jack hammers are on a break, questions are still unanswered, situations will ultimately resolve themselves. I am grateful for this one moment of peace.