This blog is a little different from the norm, as I usually talk about how medically unexplained symptoms related to CFS and Fibromyalgia impacted my own life, and how I overcame them.
Why is this blog different? Because my husband has been diagnosed with Polymyalgia.
The overnight impact has been catastrophic. 3 weeks ago he was jumping around the tennis courts, enjoying himself with friends while we were visiting New Zealand. Today I see a shadow of a person - someone who is in pain, can hardly move, and looks to all intents and purposes as if he has aged before my eyes overnight.
So, I am writing this blog from the perspective of how chronic conditions affect the people you are living with. I also admit that perhaps I hadn’t appreciated what my husband has put up with over the years trying to support me and help me manage my condition(s).
Perhaps those times he had been short tempered, not felt like cleaning up or going to the supermarket after a hard day’s work, was because he was tired, scared, apprehensive of the future and worried about where that person that he had learnt to love and had married had gone to.
I am worried, and I don’t mind admitting this - feel incredibly vulnerable about our future. I have without realising it relied on him to be there, to pick up the pieces of what I can’t do, so now what? Financially, we are to put it bluntly - ‘buggered’ if he can’t work. We have minimal savings, don’t own our home (are in rented accommodation) and health wise are now both constrained about what we may be able to commit to for the foreseeable future.
My personality type is to find a solution and my mind has gone into overdrive, which has resulted in my system spiralling into anxiety - not sleeping, self-soothing through eating all the wrong things, and I can feel my exhaustion building as I burn myself out with worry.
And yet, I have the knowledge and skills to pull myself out of this, if I can just sit in these emotions long enough to allow myself to sift through the feelings - hence this blog. I have always found writing to be cathartic and can feel my inner tension slightly leaving me as I write these words. I haven’t been able to yet share my fears and worries with my husband, we are both still in a state of shock as to how rapidly things have unravelled, and the emotions are too raw as we try to process them. He also needs time to process physically what is happening for him as well.
Based on experience - we have been down this oh so familiar route before, I know that we will come out of this stronger as a couple, if we open up and find a way to communicate how we are feeling, either to others or between ourselves. We are not the best of communicators; he is much more into the detail and is analytical, whereas I paint the air with my words before I can come up with something workable as a solution. We have discovered ways to find a middle ground - I now serve up my ideas on paper for him to mull over, and then he comes back to me with his thoughts.
What I do know is that we are all a work in progress, nothing is forever, and this too will pass. I hope by being honest with you it will open up the conversations around your vulnerabilities around being in a relationship with anyone who struggles with the everyday of managing a life that is filled with the unknown.
You might like to listen to this TED talk by Brene Brown on Vulnerability, Shame and Connection: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o
You can listen either on your own or with someone, and remember that we are here too.
Remember to have the courage to be imperfect, the courage to treat yourself with compassion, and the courage to let go of who you are, to build connections by embracing vulnerability.
If you, or someone you love are struggling with medically unexplained symptoms, or a chronic condition and would like to talk to someone about it, please click the button below to book a FREE 30 minute Discovery Call, and see how we can help you.