Maintaining a good, healthy relationship when an invisible illness becomes the unwanted third wheel. Relationships intimate or otherwise are usually private things that you keep quite close to your heart, locked away in its own heart-shaped box. However, when it comes to having a chronic illness or knowing someone that does, you are not prepared for the impact it will have on your relationships. As much as it is no one’s business what happens behind closed doors, I find that reading about others experiences can be quite reassuring when I know that I am not the only one going through it.
Maintaining a good relationship when one of you is reliant on the other can be quite difficult. During my many hours of scouring the internet and reading articles and blogs about my condition and ones that are similar, I have rarely found anything that truly expresses how Fibromyalgia can affect someone’s close relationships. In this blog I wanted to be quite frank and open about everything that I have been going through and this post will be no different. One of the main things I have learnt is chronic illness does affect your relationships and shows you how strong those relationships may or may not be. Not only do you find out the real strengths and bonds you have with others but, you also find out who is willing to fight your corner no matter what the problem is.
Living with variable health can make it near impossible to plan things in advance as you don’t know how you are going to feel from one day to the next. But what I have found is that you both need to acknowledge the fact that you will not always be able to do everything that you want to. There are days where I can only muster the strength to sit and watch countless films on Netflix, drink infinite cups of tea and just enjoy my partner’s company and that is ok. Some days I feel like I can go out and explore and these are the moments I feel lucky to have, even if it means numerous days of recovery are to follow. Pushing through isn’t always the answer and if plans need to be changed then your health and wellbeing should come first.
Thankfully, in my situation, my partner is very understanding and supportive. When we first met I wasn’t in the condition that I am in now but, thankfully in his eyes, nothing had changed and he doesn’t see me as the girl with Fibromyalgia but, still as me. When I have bad days and spend endless hours in bed, he still tries his best to keep a smile on my face. On days where the pain is somewhat manageable, he makes sure that I don’t overdo it but, we do make the most of this time before the pain rears its head again.
As Fibromyalgia gives off a negative outlook, sufferers can find it difficult to keep up appearances leaving their partner to feel the need to keep everything quite upbeat and positive. Unfortunately, on days where you’re having a flare, have only had a few hours of broken sleep and you have had to cancel your plans it is very hard to not feel like the world is against you and positive thinking is hard to come by. I find that communication is the key when dealing with something like this together but, you do have to find a balance. It is easy to overload your partner with details of every pain, every worry and everything that is causing you to stress but, this will do more damage than good.
I have someone I can always rely on and who stops me from feeling guilty when I am unable to do things I once could. I can’t thank him enough for continuing to treat me like Jodie and not a chronic pain patient. We have our little disagreements and arguments but, as much as the pain tries to wreak havoc, we always come out the other end stronger than ever. Find someone that will love you in any condition and under any circumstances.