Guilt: the Gift that Keeps on Giving

FCKHaving started FCK (a directory of blogs that educate, support, enlighten, inform, inspire and motivate people about and with Fibromyalgia), I have had the privilege of discovering so many blogs that I may never have seen if not for this project.

One of those blogs is Same Burn…Different Flame. Cathy is about 12 types of awesome, 10 of which she hasn’t quite put her finger on (yet!) It isn’t her goal to change the world or end our nation’s poverty crisis…. but hell, if she could, she would TOTALLY do it.

One of Cathy’s blog posts has resonated with me greatly – here it is:

I’m sorry: An open letter to my loved ones

Dear family and friends,

First and foremost, I’m sorry.  I feel like I’ve let you down in many, many ways.  And there is nothing to say, except, “I’m sorry.”

I can honestly say that I don’t have a handle on what’s happening with me, lately.  At one point in the not-so-distant past, I was lively and energetic.  That girl is…. well, she’s gone now.  And I don’t know where she went.

I feel like I can never get enough sleep.  Never.  I’m exhausted.  During the week, I force myself to get out of bed and carry on with my day.  I get up at 5:30 am, drive to work, work all day (most of the time without a lunch break), drive home and finally take my shoes off at 6:00 pm-ish. I. Am. Exhausted.  I make dinner (which, admittedly, isn’t all that exciting these days), and I collapse on the couch, too exhausted to do anything else.  By the weekend, I lie around the house, unmotivated to do anything but sleep.

And then, there’s the pain.  I don’t know that you would ever understand, unless you have been where I am right now.  Miserable doesn’t even begin to describe it.  Imagine, if you can, the last time you were really sick.  Then, imagine the last time you were really sore.  Like… for me?  It’s like the time I had walking pneumonia, combined with feeling like I had just done a half-marathon.  I dread waking up, because moving in the morning is like trying to break out of an invisible cast.  I’m stiff.  It hurts.  And I don’t know if it’s just a morning thing, or if I’ll be suffering all day.  Once I get going, random things will bother me.  My hips will hurt.  Or my toes will burn.  Or my back will ache.  Or I’ll be itchy.  Or my legs will cramp.  Or I’ll have a headache.

Good God… the headaches.  They’re not to be underestimated.  It could be a dull, constant headache.  Or Satan can be gripping my brain with his red-hot, pokey fingers.  They can last a few hours, or for days.

I get tired of taking medications.  Side effects from them mean that I have to take other things to try to feel better.  For example, the Tramadol makes me itchy.  So I have to take Bendryl to alleviate the itchiness.  But Benedryl makes me sleepy.  So I have to take an energy pill.  The energy pill makes the pain worse (not sure why).  So I have to take Tramadol.  And so it begins, again.

……I carry guilt with me.  All the time.  I feel guilty because I am tired.  I feel guilty because I am lazy.  I feel guilty because I am crabby.  I feel guilty because I am distant.  I feel guilty because I’m weak.  I feel guilty because I’m losing the battle.

I don’t have the answer.  But it isn’t for lack of asking the question.  Please, don’t stop loving me.  Don’t leave.  Don’t close your ears and your heart.  I’m trying.

Maybe, someday, the girl that you used to know will come back.  Until then, just keep loving the girl that I am, now. Hug me.  Tell me that I’ll be okay.  Hold my hand.  Talk with me.  Let me vent.  Help me forgive myself.

With unparalleled love,

me

Feeling the same way? Feeling guilty?

The Pain of Family vs the Pain of Fibromyalgia

Bet you thought the saga with my father was over, huh? Wrong!

So, first, we had the letter I sent, followed by the thoughtful text he sent…and then silence on the western front.

When we had the family event for my brother’s birthday, I asked my brother if he wanted to invite his father (even Mommy thought it was a good idea). My father decided he would do his own thing with Mitch.

A couple of days before my operation, my father called to wish me luck. It was a very abrupt phone call with no other discussion permitted.

I decided to send some of the photos of my brother and his son (at the birthday party) to my father, as my brother would never do it and I thought he would like them. I didn’t attach a message – they just were.

So, a couple of days ago, I receive an email from my father:

When I was in rehab, you had a letter delivered, which everyone in the room read, attacking both Yvonne and myself over things you know nothing about. We are very upset about this, and therefore if you want any sort of relationship with me or Yvonne, you will write and have delivered both a letter of apology to Yvonne and myself. Dad.

I waited a day (as suggested by my Mommy) so I wouldn’t overreact then replied:

Yes, Dad, I sent a letter marked PERSONAL to you; and you chose to share it.

The letter was not meant as an attack on either you or Yvonne – it was a missive to you (and you only) describing my feelings; the letter was an explanation of how I feel. And I will not apologise for my feelings.

After much thought, I believed that this was the only way for me to communicate to you my point of view. I spent a lot of time and emotion writing that letter so that you could understand me. It upset me to write the letter but I thought it was necessary as it was becoming impossible to approach you alone, and in a non-emotional state (every phone call with you ended with me in tears).

I had hoped that the letter would encourage you to acknowledge my feelings; and allow us to talk about them and your reciprocal feelings. But I guess not.

P.S. I sent the photos because I thought you might want some photos of your son and grandson. Don’t worry – I won’t do it again.

Today, I received a reply. My first thought when I saw the email was ‘leave me alone!’

The whole reason I wrote the letter was so I would no longer be stressed by the situation and here it is, encroaching on every day. And, in my recuperating state, I just don’t give a damn. I hurt so just go away!

Anyway, his email:

Firstly, Yvonne has been my partner for over 20 years, and we do not have any secrets.

Secondly, I do know the difference between writing about feelings and unsubstantiated rhetoric. Writing that Yvonne is alienating me from my friends and that I am only staying with her because I have nowhere else to go is uninformed bull and just plain nasty. This is what I want the written apologies for, after which we are willing to sit down and discuss your feelings and anything else you might want. Dad.

I just want this to end – I had already come to terms with the fact that I would be upset to not have a relationship with my father; but that was more because he is my father, not because of the wonderful, supportive person he is in my life. I have had the time to think about it all logically and unemotionally and decided that I really wasn’t going to be missing anything. But it seemed that this was never going to be over and I would have to deal with the stress of it forever.

So, my reply,after thinking about it for a day, just in case I am being overemotional or overreacting or just plain over it:

As I said in my original letter, concerning the two statements for which you request an apology, ‘…that’s just my psycho-babble – I could have it very wrong…’ and, obviously, you think I have; so, yes, I apologise (you can have that in a written letter).

Nonetheless, I wanted to talk, about the topics in the letter, with you alone (hence the personal letter). It has nothing to do with having secrets from Yvonne. It has to do with how you and I relate to each other.

You have made it clear that you are not interested in ever ‘choosing me…’ so, I guess, following receipt of my written apologies, we will endeavour to preserve some sort of relationship.

And I have two pretty, little pink envelopes with two pretty, little pink cards inside that say:

I am sorry that some of the comments in my letter offended you. It was not my intention.

As I said in my original letter, the comments, which you have described as unsubstantiated rhetoric, were ‘just my psycho-babble’ and that ‘I could have it very wrong.’ Obviously, I did; and I apologise for that.

Can it all be over now? Please?

P.S. For those who were worried, my shoes are all lined up like soldiers along the wall now thanks to my Mommy and Henry (her other half).