Hope, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “to expect with confidence.” I believe it’s important for anyone with a chronic illness, such as fibromyalgia, to hold onto hope. Expect with confidence that tomorrow will be a better day — that someday there may even be a cure.
You’re probably asking how on earth do we even do that? One way is to find a renewed sense of purpose. I personally did that in two specific ways: I created a group for other chronically ill women, and I started writing. Your new purpose may entail keeping a prayer journal and praying for those around you. Perhaps you like to knit or crochet and can make blankets, hats, or mittens for the homeless. Write down all of your interests and hobbies, and from that you can carve out your new sense of purpose.
Hope helps you to stay positive when your fibromyalgia pain or other symptoms are threatening to pull you under and drown you. When you are able to accept your diagnosis and your new limitations, you will begin to make room in your heart for hope. I know acceptance is not easy, but I believe it’s vital for you to enjoy your life.
You should celebrate all the tiny improvements and steps you’re taking on this FM journey. Instead of berating yourself and remaining discouraged about your challenges, try some positive self-reflection. Think of all that you’re currently able to do: take a quick shower, go for a short walk, cook a simple meal, send a note of encouragement to a friend, brush your teeth, make it through a doctor’s appointment — even if it’s by the skin of your teeth. Doing this will water hope so that it grows and blossoms.
Hope is like having a map in your possession with a destination in mind while staying open to all possible roads that can lead you to your desired destination. Hope helps you push past the pain and the obstacles along the way. It’s believing that your struggles and despair WILL pass, even if it’s only for a day, and that better times are truly possible — sometimes against all odds.
As Anne Lamott has said, “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.” To add to this, I would say, “Just do the best you can in any given moment on any given day.”
You’re unique and amazing just the way you are. Never, ever give up hope!