Pity Parties


It has been several years since my battle with chronic pain from both rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia began. In that time, I struggled between regret and acceptance and it has been back and forth thing.  I struggled with my inability to do all the things I once could and what it means to be a good mother.  I have struggled with the relationships in my life and I have grown from this experience.  I have had moments where I have been proud of myself and moments where I have felt ashamed.  Over the past year years, my pain levels have gone from well-managed to widespread or difficult to manage and sometimes, just sometimes, I have days where my pain levels are low.  More often than not, the pain has invaded every aspect of my life.

There are times where I think that the pain is leaving me and other times where I think it many never leave.  It has been an uninvited houseguest in my home.  It arrived without as much as a warning.  It has been intrusive and it has wreaked havoc on my parenting as well my relationships, both personal and professional.  Moreover, it has undone my life, taken it over and has no plans to leave.  In the beginning, it felt like my diagnoses were some kind of personal agenda affecting me only but over time, I have learned that I am not the only one affected.

Most people in my life know that I don’t complain about the effect that RA and fibromyalgia have had on me and even how they affect me daily.  Usually when I talk about the effect that they have had on my life, I reserve that for my blog and I always try to find the lesson learned.  I have learned that even though I cannot always have a positive attitude, I should try.  I have my pity parties and I have been having them a lot lately.  Lately, I have been dealing with some issues that have been out of my control and while I am strong enough to handle them, my health has worn me down. Sometimes, I wonder if I can continue to make my way in the world with chronic illness. So far I have been able to do it but sometimes, I feel discouraged – due to how I am feeling physically or how others make me feel.

With all that has been going on, the pity parties have been small but they have been coming more than usual.  I have tried to be strong but lately my breaking point has been coming on pretty quick.  I am overwhelmed by all that life has thrown at me in addition to my responsibilities. I cannot help but feel guilty and sad – guilty because I cannot always hold it together for my kids and sad because I wish things were easier for them and me.

I remind myself that I have been fortunate with the family and friends who stuck around despite my illnesses and despite my inability to be the person I was before.  I don’t really look back anymore at the ones that walked away, that saw me as lazy or that felt like I used being sick as an excuse. It is hard though to look back at what you have lost and the people that have walked away.  I am reminded that they saw me a sick person rather than someone who loves passionately and works hard despite the obstacles that come her way. I am saddened by what being chronically ill has taken from me but mostly I saddened by the people who think being chronically ill means that I am not enough for them.  I think the last thing is what has brought me down the most.

One of the things I have been blessed is the ability to reach out to others. Of all things that RA and fibromyalgia have taken, they have not taken from me my ability to show compassion and kindness.  I am glad that I can still find ways to help others and allow others a voice when they are not able to speak.  I blog and advocate because I hope that others can relate and that my words can help them can to come terms with the struggles of chronic illness including heartache and pain.

Despite my pity parties of late, I know that pity parties are important.  We need them and when we talk about them, we find that we are not alone in having them.  The fact is life is not fair and no one ever said it was.  I have learned that we are not all dealt the same hand in life and sometimes, it helps to help your emotions out in other to find ways to cope.  A fulfilling life is something that takes work and sometimes, we have to revisit our pity to be reminded that we have to constantly be working to figure how to make our lives worth living.

13 thoughts on “Pity Parties

  1. Amen! We all need time to throw a pity party now and then. Even better when you have friends who can join in and maybe, just maybe turn the sadness into some laughter. XOXO

  2. It takes courage, love and honesty for what you say on your blogs Lana and I thank you for that. I was diagnosed with RA at 23 just after my first daughter was born and now after my second daughter was born almost 4 years ago and aged 30, I have just been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. The last few months in particular have been physically horrendous and I have felt isolation like I’ve never felt before. I am a registered nurse, which I am so passionate about and have had to hang up my uniform and badge and walk away from the job, knowing I physically cannot manage it. That in itself, for me, has been a huge challenge, but like you I find my children and their spirits and close loved ones, who do care, keep me moving forward and learning to manage the symptoms each day rather than the symptoms managing me.

    Reading your blogs has enabled me to know that it’s not just me who is encountering similar challenges! I am sorry to hear of your sudden loss with your brother…you sound as though whenever the lemons have been thrown at you, you have managed to bat them out of the way and keep marching forward. Also without me wanting to sound condescending, I am sending you a massive pat on the back and a hug for all that you have managed to achieve and overcome and I’m doing the same for myself! The individuals who have chosen to judge us and walk away from us I’m sure will understad one day when they to are potentially faced with their own health challenges or similar situations that make them stop and think. Your blog is definitely a help and I look forward to reading it here from the UK. Thanks and take care – Amy :) x

    • Amy,
      Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I have learned that even though life is challenging with RA and fibro, we still have to keep moving forward. I hope you keep reading and I hope that you keep moving forward as well. Good luck to you and thank you for your comments and very kind words.

  3. Thank you for writing this at the perfect time. My heart is broken, and my pain is sky rocketing. I know stress makes our pain worse, but this heartache is on going and hurting more every day. It will not get better because I can’t do anything to change it. I’ve thought of ending my suffering , but I really don’t want to die. But I think of it every day. And continue to live another day. I can’t leave my dog. And he’s all I have. No family. No more friends. I’m too sick in the last year, homebound, and no one wants to call because they know it.
    Bless you for writing this. It helped me at this moment.

    • Hi Penny, I am sorry that you are going through all this. Have you joined a support group? I advocate for three of them. You can find the arthritis support group at http://www.arthritisconnect.com. Good luck to you and thank you for visiting my blog and thank you for your kind words. You are not alone. We are all fighting this battle.

  4. It’s good you allow yourself to feel your emotions without feeling shame. And it shows what a wonderful person you are that despite trying to cope with everything going on, you still reach out to others and help them. I hope it brings you healing as much as it does others.

  5. My pity parties usually involve sugar and TV. Total guilty pleasures. But I’m with you that they are necessary. Love you, Lana! (Happy late Easter to you and sons!)

  6. My pity parties definitely include TV and sugar. :) Don’t feel guilty for throwing yourself pity parties. You deserve them. And thank you for your honesty on this blog – you are very courageous.

  7. This is kind of what my current blog is about…But I got to a spot I couldn’t make myself think anymore…SO I decided to go read….Yes. Yes. and yes. I find pity parties are necessary. I so relate to alot of what you say. I am glad you self reflect. I think that is so important when balancing parenting and chronic illnesses. Thank you ! Your post was just what I needed right now.

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