truth and lies in blogging
The Way I Was

If I don’t tell the truth about how fibromyalgia feels, am I a liar?

truth and lies in blogging
The truth? There’s a fence between me and them.

I want your honest opinion about truth and lies in blogging.

I’ve been writing an alphabetic, upbeat, happy, yes-you-can series about living well, despite everything, but perhaps I’m unintentionally misrepresenting something.

If, on this blog, I never write about my fibromyalgia, am I a liar? 

As a fellow fibro-blogger, Cait Gordon, accurately describes: It’s very difficult to explain Fibro to people … [especially] when people in the medical field dismiss it as a behavioral problem. My answer to them is, ‘I’ll transfer my flare-up to you. It’s going to feel like people have inserted hot curling irons all over your body. Now, go and fix it with your behavior.’ ”

There are two things that have caused me to not talk about having fibromyalgia:

  1. that hang-dog sad look I get from people (please don’t pity me);
  2. unsolicited advice (please don’t give me any).

But to never talk about fibromyalgia on my blog is dishonest; because having it makes my life really, really, really hard.

In my weird Fibro world, pain is the daily normal. This makes energy a rationed resource. Every physical or mental effort costs me (this is explained by  Christine Miserandino’s Spoon Theory): 

  • It’s as if every day I’m given 12 energy-coupons to spend on doing stuff.
  • When the coupons are gone, I can’t stand up and I can’t think my way to the end of a sentence.
  • If I try to do anything after my daily ration is used, I get punished. I get tortured by a demented demon who sizzles me with a zillion hot irons.
  • The only way I can make the demon go away is to go to bed, pray, do relaxation exercises, and fall asleep.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to do relaxation exercises and fall asleep when you’re being tortured? 

I have frequent nightmares. Buffalo trample me. Lions and Dobermans chew me up. And I always wake up in pain. Always.

  • Mustering the willpower to overcome the pain to get out of bed costs.
  • Bathing and dressing–ka-ching.
  • Doing the laundry so I have something to wear costs. Shopping for new clothes costs more.
  • Shopping for toothpaste so I can brush my teeth costs.

If my husband doesn’t do the laundry, make my tea, fix my breakfast, and do the dishes, I spend a quarter of my daily allotment before my day even begins.

  • Talking to someone; writing; reading; going somewhere… ka-ching, ka-ching.
  • Eating a meal costs. Eating refined sugar, refined white flour or food additives–costs extra. Skipping a meal costs triple. Eating in a restaurant is over-the-top (noise, sitting in one place, trying to find something healthy to order–all stressful).
    • Stress–getting upset, angry, exhausted or scared–costs more than you’d ever guess.

If I lie down in the afternoon for an hour, I get a few bonus coupons.

  • If I don’t stop whatever I’m doing every half hour to stretch and move around, penalty! I forfeit a coupon.

If I don’t exercise every day, I pay 6 penalty coupons. The kicker is, it costs me a coupon to exercise!, and I get at least an hour of the hot curling iron treatment after.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to take an aerobic walk when you know  you’re going to get tortured with hot irons after?  

But I exercise every day because it gets me at least 4 bonus coupons to spend on cool things like going out for clam chowder with my girlfriend, or going for a boat road in Newport harbor. There’s a strict limit to the number of bonuses I can earn, however; too much exercise costs 4 penalty coupons. And the rule-maker keeps changing his mind about how much is too much.

I’m guessing Kafka dreamed up this game. 

  • Going to an event–a family reunion, a concert, wedding, a funeral–costs 24 coupons. I have to save up, or borrow from the future, and then I’m put on even stricter rations until I pay back what I borrowed.
  • Riding in a car costs. Driving costs double.
  • Every little detail needs to be thought about. And thinking about it costs.

Living well, despite everything is hard. I didn’t mean to make it sound easy. 

It takes discipline and persistent effort to face adversity in life.

But even when life throws adversity in my face, I’m convinced life is still an amazingly beautiful, astonishingly blessed gift, worth celebrating.

I’d like to hear from you, dear readers, bloggers, social-media mavens–

When writing about our difficulties (in order to encourage and inspire each other), how do we tell the truth without sounding like a whiny, buffalo-sized pain in the patootie? 

 

 

 

 

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67 thoughts on “If I don’t tell the truth about how fibromyalgia feels, am I a liar?”

  1. I hear your pain. I have IBS-D. Most people shrug it off as it’s something everyone has (maybe they do) but it requires a lot of planning. I have to be careful about eating and make sure there are bathrooms wherever I go. I don’t travel well because…well…I worry. I don’t blog about it because I write a humor blog mostly. I could make these episodes humorous but I just want to get away from it. And like you said, I’m not looking for pity or solutions that don’t work. Of course if you know something that will work (that I’m not already doing), I’m all ears.

    1. My grandmother had IBS-D. It ISN”T something everyone has.

      I hear your pain, too. I think “not thinking” about it is often the only way to live with the chronic stuff. But sometimes it makes me feel duplicitous; the greatest relationships in life happen when we can be honest with each other. And I’m a huge believer in honesty.

      But, I also believe in positivity. (Life is so complicated…) I thank you, sincerely, for weighing in. And I send you a wee bit of understanding…

  2. Tracy, having read your book, I have some awareness of the challenges you face in your daily life (but always, of course, only at a distance, since I don’t have fibromyalgia). I don’t think there’s anything dishonest about not wanting to write about it all the time – because ultimately it isn’t who you are – but perhaps your positive words might be even more inspiring if you shared some of the way you’re feeling? It has to be your decision about how you want to present yourself. I tend not to write about when I’m feeling low, but then there are those occasions of self doubt and such that I think might be useful for others to read about.

    1. That’s very insightful, Andrea. I think one of the reasons “memoir”is such a popular genre right now, is that people are wanting to connect with other “real” people, not just fictional characters, to ask the question, “how did you handle it?” “It” being adversity, hardship, pain….

      And the answer they’re looking for, is not “Oh, I’m a super-hero so I didn’t really pay any attention to it.” But rather….” I tried this, and failed miserably.” Or, “I don’t really know how to handle it, but this is what I’m trying to do…” Because what we’re all looking for, possibly, is that we’re not the ONLY one who is hurting, confused, struggling…. Thanks for helping me see that. 🙂

  3. Tracy, First off, you don’t sound anything like a whiny, buffalo-sized pain in the patootie!

    I don’t think it makes you a liar not to talk about your struggles either. Talk about it, don’t talk about it – totally your call! I’ve always loved your positive-ness and now I am more blown away by it than ever!

    Diana xo

  4. I like what Andrea said above about not wanting to write about it all of the time, but doing so occasionally maybe being useful to others. I don’t think you’re misrepresenting fibromyalgia by focusing on the positive. Neither do I feel like you’re being dishonest by never writing about fibromyalgia. Like Andrea said, it’s your personal choice and it isn’t who you are. You are much more than your illness.

    1. Thank you, TGIYP —

      Sometimes I worry too much about “truth in representation,”… I very much appreciate the reminder that “it isn’t who I am.”

      So true! And a clue, I think, to living with it, is to refuse to let “it” define who we are. Very wise, you are!

  5. Tracy, your book–and now this post–share so much, and trust me when I tell you this, you are not a whiner.
    For the past year I’ve dealt with severe plantar fasciatis that kept me from walking each day, and on bad days it kept me from walking much at all. Because of it, I gained weight, and avoided activities that I loved.
    But there were special shoes and insoles and even shots that helped me…plus lots of exercises and stretches…and the medical assurance that this would eventually pass. Even the sciatica that followed, which in some ways was worse because a full night’s sleep was impossible for several months, had certain helpful remedies and stretches…and the assurance that this, also, would pass.
    You have no such assurances, Tracy, and yet you keep on. I truly admire all that you do to help yourself, and also all the healthy and encouraging things you do for others through this blog and your book.
    When I write on my blog about my dad’s Alzheimer’s and now especially my mom’s dementia, I don’t tell about the horrors of both, the helplessness and hopelessness, the family members who just can’t deal with it and so expect me to do their shares. Anyone around Alzheimer’s and advanced dementia knows these horrors.
    Instead I focus on the little things that make a difference for her, the touching and real lesson I learn; I promote the collecting and treasuring of her life and the memories she’s left in our care for safekeeping. I don’t discuss the end-of-life plans, changing doctors, family arguments; some things we don’t need to be shared.
    You live an honest and admirable and beautiful life in spite of the fibromyalgia, Tracy, and that is your triumph and your legacy.

    1. With tears in my eyes, I wish dearly that I could make a wrinkle in the geography between me and Colorado right now, and just BE there, and have a nice chat over a cup of tea with you, and give you a huge hug!

      Thank you. You are indeed an example to me, that it is possible to write honestly and beautifully, without sharing everything.

      There is a way to write so that those who know, know, and those who are not ready to know, are not overly burdened…

      (Having lived with the horrors you’re talking about, I knew, even though you never mentioned it, what you too often have to deal with).

      I love your courage and encouragement, Marylin. I continue to hope we meet someday this side of heaven!

    2. I’m butting in again ladies! I just had to because, oh Marylin, I had plantar fasciatis for two years and I know exactly what you are going through. It is absolute agony and I gained weight, couldn’t walk it was a nightmare. I resisted the shots because I was told it could make it worse but had shock treatment instead, which was agony but after 3 months it eased and 6 months I could walk again without having severe pain. Now, one year later, I am fine but I still get a mild ache in my right foot after walking but compared to what it was it’s nothing. I also got the sciatica and still get flare ups so that I can’t move, can’t sit, sleeping is agony. The only thing that works is codeine painkillers. Anyway, just had to add my two cents worth because as soon as I saw those two words I almost exploded! Hope you feel better soon Marylin and recover, which you will, but it takes so long 😦 Now I’ll reply to your post Tracy!

  6. Oh boy, Tracy, do I ever know where you’re coming from, but I wish I didn’t. Back, say between 2004 and 2009, I went through the living hell of learning, and finally accepting, that I had fibromyalgia. It meant finally having to give up my bank job, and coming to terms with life with at disability and all that it entailed.
    The worse thing is that I look healthy most of the time, and fibro does indeed have a reputation as a mental or behavioural thing, just as you state. Luckily I had a wonderful female doctor who didn’t dismiss it as so, and she, along with a team of health professionals, and a caring, loving husband, helped me tremendously.
    My entire lifestyle had to change, but I still have to remember not to use up all my energy, or “spoons” too quickly. I have thought of blogging about it, but I’m not sure I want to either. But I don’t think I’m lying any more than you are! We aren’t required to reveal everything, and not that I’m ashamed or worried who finds out, I just prefer blogging mostly about positive things.
    Hugs to you,
    Jennifer ❤

    1. Oh, Jennifer–I could hug you!!!

      I just looked around your blog (and followed you), and I love what you’re doing. It looks like for you, as for me, the blog is a way to focus on the positive, uplifting things in our lives. The beauty and joy.

      And your area of the world (Labrador, Newfoundland) is one of my special fascinations and dreams. Unusual, I know, (who says, in answer to the question, where in the world do you really want to go? — The easternmost part of Canada, close to the arctic!)

      Thank you so much for weighing in — (I bought in to the “mental-behavioural” think for a while; luckily for me, my dear husband never did and always worked to convince me that I wasn’t a “slacker.”

      I’m very much looking forward to getting to know you! Let’s keep in touch! ❤

      1. Yes, let’s do stay in touch. I would like that, Tracy.

        Thanks so much for following and appreciating my blog for its positivity. 🙂 That is what I aim for, and not just for me (because I do get a lot of enjoyment from it), but for anyone who needs or wants to slow down and smell the roses during a busy day. You are so right, anything that uplifts us ultimately helps our condition, so it’s a win-win.

        Jennifer xo

    2. Wow my son found this site for me this afternoon and sent me a email link. Thank you for sharing it’s so nice to not feel alone as I have for the past 2 years since I was finally diagnosed with fibro. I share all the same feelings as you but do not have much support. I’m single and have lost my mother, father, and sister so my son is the only close family that I have. I have never wanted my health issues to define me so I keep them to myself most of the time. Today when my son called he could just tell in the tone of my voice how down I was so I opened up to him which I believe made him look into what fibro is all about. I’m happy he was able to read real accounts of how other’s live with what I have I’m sure it has given him a good understanding of just how I feel a lot of the time. Thanks so much, Kathy

      1. Oh, Kathy–thank you so much for letting me know that this helped you.

        You must have a wonderful son–he must have had to search deeply on the internet to find my post (because I”m not famous; this certainly would not have been the first or even the 10th in the search returns); he obviously loves you very much, and is concerned about trying to understand what you’re going through.

  7. You don’t sound whiny at all. What you’ve written here and in your book about Fibro has been illuminating. I have friends who have it, and your insightful writing has given me a much better understanding of what they’re going through. As Andrea said, it isn’t who you are. But it is a part of your life experience. And writing about our life experiences, good and bad, is the most honest writing.

    1. Thank you, my dear. I value your insight, and I trust your judgement.

      I do hope to write honestly, in order to give voice to others who aren’t able to articulate it. Pain is very difficult to put into words. Sometimes I need encouragement, and you’ve given it to me. I’m blessed. 🙂

  8. Tracy, I have a friend here who suffers with fibromyalgia so I have seen first hand how debilitating this condition is. I think it’s important to write about how you feel and how the condition affects you because it helps people like my friend understand that she’s not alone and that the way she feels is part of the condition. It took a while for her to be properly diagnosed and while waiting for test results her Imagination ran riot, wondering what on earth was wrong. Never think you are whining. Your book and your blog make great reading xx

    1. Thanks, Jenny. I, like your friend, had all sorts of nightmares about what could be wrong before I finally got a diagnosis. I was sure I was dying.

      I promise, from now on. I will not think I am whining. I will continue to be positive, and still write honestly about how it “is,” because you’re right. It’s important for all of us to realize we’re not alone.

      Give my kindest regards and encouragement to your friend. ❤

  9. Oh Tracy, I love the honesty and vulnerability behind this post. Thank you so much for sharing and giving us a glimpse into your world. As a blogger it’s always hard to know the best way to share our struggles and difficulties. But it’s posts like these that always make me feel closer to my blogging friends. I had absolutely no idea the extent to which your fibromyalgia affected your daily life. And what a creative way to make us understand- with the metaphor of the coupons. This gives a whole new meaning to your “living well, despite everything” series. Thank you so much for opening up and sharing 🙂

    1. I’m glad you weighed in — it helps me see that it really was time to make this post (and I definitely was feeling very vulnerable about it; you’ve given me a huge boost of confidence by taking the time to response! ) 🙂

      The truth is, after years and years of struggle, I have gotten to a place where I don’t “feel” on a daily basis, as if I’m dealing with this much daily ration. It was incredibly depressing for a while.

      The series really is all about the tools that I used to get myself to the point where I can feel exhilarated to be alive, and “happy” during my days — and I want to share what I know, because it has worked for me, and I really, really, hope it will work for other people who are struggling.

      I think that one of the things pain does for us, if it doesn’t destroy us, it teach us tremendous compassion. And the ability to feel deeply compassionate for the people who walk (or blog) beside is, in itself, makes life rich. 🙂

      Life is a great series of miracles, isn’t it? I think it’s amazing, and wonderful, that we’ve met!

  10. I am very sorry to hear of your on going struggle with fibromyalgia and how much it effects your daily life. You don’t sound like you are complaining just explaining to those of us who are lucky enough not to have to deal with fibromyalgia how hard it is.Take care. 😉

  11. When living with a chronic illness, it’s always good to write about how you feel. Your book in no way comes across as whiny, Tracy.
    I’ve lived with Crohn’s Disease for 28 years. I haven’t written much about it on my blog. Typically I write in secret, in the pages of my journal. Since I’ve moved past the shame and embarrassment I felt for years, as a result of the disease, I now talk about it more.
    Between you and I, I think we’re pretty tough chicks! xoxo

    1. xoxo

      It’s hard to talk about chronic illness — but I think it must be helpful to others, who haven’t been living with it as long, if when we get past feeling the need to hide or apologize, that we can let them know that it’s possible to be fully alive, even with these problems…

      Our son has Crohn’s (did I tell you that?) I know for a fact, that we’re pretty tough chicks!

  12. Because you choose to focus on the positive does not mean you’re not being honest with your readers. We can’t know everything about everyone’s back story. That you continue to write upbeat stories despite the pain is beyond admirable. If you want to share that part of your life, then you choose the time when you feel it’s right to do so.

    There are things I have chosen not to write about because it’s too painful. So I write about stories that I hope will help people gain some understanding about the subject I wrote about and, perhaps, about me.

    1. You’re right, Judy.

      Choosing our subject is a balancing act. Of course, we are always free to write about whatever we want to, when we’re ready to.

      The truth is, I didn’t intend ever to write such an honest post about this subject. But, it felt like it was the right time.

      I appreciate the reminder to trust myself on the timing…

      (and I do gain insight, both about your subjects and about you, when I read your blog!) 🙂

  13. I feel that readers need to know our backgrounds, some of us have more pain than others. It is good for us to know other’s challenges, to care about who we read and know more about you, Tracy! Thanks, as always for your openness and sharing. I am a sporadic reader and commenter, only due to my (whine) not owning a computer and relying on the library’s time constraints. I am grateful that others still read my posts, despite the fact I read theirs, in spurts! Smiles, Robin

    1. Thank you for the smiles, Robin! It’s always good to hear from you.

      I understand about sporadic; there have been times when I’ve had to rely on my library…

      I’m SO grateful for libraries! I’m amazed that you’re able to post, and comment, as consistently as you do.

      You are so NOT a whiner! 🙂

  14. Dear Tracy, why would you think you’re being dishonest by not sharing your struggle with fybromyalgia. I mean, it’s totally your decision what you want to write about, right? But I think I understand what your point is. Isn’t it more about the level of authenticity you want to convey? Sharing the whole story including the challenging moments of our lives as well? I don’t see no problem in it either way. It’s your free choice and hey..it’s your blog 🙂
    And no, you don’t sound like a whiny patootie 😉 It might even be comforting and helpful in some way for those who are going through the same pains

    1. That’s it, Karin. In my book, inauthenticity is at least a little bit, and sometimes a lot, dishonest.

      I realize it’s my choice, and my right to keep my secrets and to share what I want to share. But the particularity, of writing a book/blog about living well despite problems, made me question how I present myself.

      I mean, lot’s of people give advice about how to live well, but not everyone who tells people with really big struggles “this is how,” has earned the right to be listened to by people who are hugely in pain, deeply suffering, facing problems for which there really is no solution.

      I’ve decided I have to tell more about myself in order to establish my right to be heard by people who live with chronic pain. But I really do want to find a way to do it, without sounding self-pitying or whiny. Thanks so much for the thumbs up. 🙂

  15. Great post, Tracy. Obviously, F is for fibromyalgia. It is not your whole reality, but it is a part. Hence, give it its due. No more, no less. That’s honest, and honestly you. It’s part of your life, a constant, but you manage it, and thus it takes its proper but not undue place in your writing and blogging.

    1. Very well put, Richard. I can visualize it now; let it have its place (which, in my occupations and preoccupations is probably about 20%); and of that 20%, I can give the “problem” side of the issue 5%; the rest can go toward the positive side of the issue (the benefits of constraint, the freedom inherent in boundaries, and all that jazz).

      Is it obvious that I like pie charts?

  16. I’ve struggled with communicating the activity limits and pain of fibro. You describe them so well in this post. I’m sending it to my family, to help them understand. Thanks!

    1. I’m thrilled that this is helpful for you. It is hard for family to understand — or for anyone, for that matter, who doesn’t “feel” it. It’s really impossible to imagine pain that you haven’t experienced. I hope this helps make it clearer for your family, how difficult it is for you.

      Best wishes to you, and take care of yourself!

  17. Dear Tracy, when I read your two reasons as to why you don’t want to share about having fibromyalgia I understood completely. I agonised at how much I wanted to share on my blog but decided in the end I had to share about my dad and my daughter having Asperger’s because I realised that maybe I could encourage others dealing with the same ‘stuff’.
    However, I barely scratch the surface. Although I touch on moments of feeling low, I don’t write about the fact that every morning I wake up feeling absolutely dire due to depression which lives with me every single day. I don’t write about how burdened I feel and the crushing weight I feel over concern and worry about my Aspie daughter and her mental and physical health problems. I don’t say a thing about having IBS and a rapid heartbeat requiring beta blockers. Because I don’t want sympathy and advice.
    I find it really, really hard with my daughter sometimes but I don’t want to post about how hard it is being a mother of a daughter with Asperger’s because I don’t want to be a whinger.
    I understand completely where you are coming from with this! But you sharing your story is real and you can encourage others with the same condition, I’m convinced of that. You are NOT a whiner, you have so much to share with others because the reality of living with a chronic illness is not pretty but you write about it so eloquently and so beneficially for others.
    You are positive, inspirational, encouraging, loving, kind and amazing. I’m glad you shared all you did here because now I understand just what your life is like on a daily basis and I have nothing but the deepest respect for you as you contend with your ongoing physical challenges. Not pity!
    My daughter gets exhausted over the slightest task and I’m convinced she has something like this so am fighting to get her properly diagnosed, I see many of the same symptoms you list here. So, you have already helped this reader so much to push forward and get to the bottom of it all. I’ve long suspected Fibro…or chronic fatigue, linked I think…
    One thing I’ve learnt through blogging and sharing our stories is that there are others out there who really benefit from our honesty about the challenges we face and so are helped and strengthened. You are authentic Tracy and that shines through every one of your posts.
    Big hugs to you my friend…and thank you for all you share with us … ❤

    1. Dear Sweet Friend,

      By taking the time to write from your heart, so eloquently, you have encouraged me to keep going. (I often feel like giving up; you surely understand why…)

      It sure sounds like your daughter needs another diagnosis. Not that it fixes the problem, but it might help others understand more, about why it’s so hard for her. She’s blessed to have you for a mother!
      xxoo
      Hang in there, dear.

      1. Ahh Tracy, I’m so encouraged to know this, wow, how many times have you urged me on, helped me in my self-belief when I’ve doubted so many times? This is the least I can do. I am just so, so sorry for all you endure. I meant to say that I knew a little of Fibro but hadn’t realised just how far-reaching the symptoms are and the way they affect so much of your daily life. Utterly exhausting for one never mind the rest… I will definitely push the issue with my daughter and I will hang in there if you promise me that you will too…and don’t give up…deal?
        Hugs to you dear friend… ❤ xoxoxo
        PS I've been thinking of you and your 'mantra'…living well despite everything'. You do live it, and you bless so many because of it 🙂

  18. Ha, in my previous self I would not have known what to do apart from make sympathetic noises and give you the sad look (over the ether).

    You are such a descriptive writer. You put things so well that you make me begin to understand what it is like for you. You are important to us and there are many of us who wish and wish and pray (whatever that means) that one day you will somehow overcome this torture.

    I would always want to know what you are thinking or experiencing, good or bad.

    1. (with tears in my eyes, I say),

      Thank you.

      You have no idea how much that means to me.

      I know you’re done with trying to “be” good. I wholeheartedly endorse that. You don’t need to try. You are.

      (We could get into all sorts of ridiculous theology; but there’s no need to. Trust it; and go with it.)

      You’ve made my day; because I really needed to hear that. And somehow, you knew… Thank you, my dear.

      1. It sounded so paltry I almost didn’t write it. It reminds me of a line in Burial Rites by Hannah Kent when our heroine says, “I don’t want to be remembered, I wanted to live!” And I am sure you would rather be healthy than have all the good wishes in the world. Yet in the absence of that choice, I still think that good wishes make all the difference even if they influence nothing practically.

        There are really many people who love you and think you are an amazing person.

  19. It is hard to be ‘truthful’ about the more serious, painful occurrences, illnesses, etc…in our lives due to the tone we set in our blogs. You’ve set out on “writing an alphabetic, upbeat, happy, yes-you-can series about living well, despite everything,” and you’re doing that so beautifully. But I don’t think you’re a liar if you don’t disclose every single piece of your life’s pie. But, in my opinion, it sure resonates with readers when you do. I’m sorry to hear about your fibromyalgia but I’m glad I know this about you now. Because it makes all of your upbeat, happy, yes-you-can series all the more inspirational! XO

    1. Oh, sweetie, I’ve missed you. And thank you SO much.

      I haven’t been a good girl, keeping up with other people’s blogs. Perhaps this helps you understand why.

      I think of you often, though.! And someday, I’m sure, we’ll meet somewhere! We have so many locales in common!

      1. Yes! Yes! Yes! I hope we get to meet one day. Would be beyond fun!

        You have a lot on your plate and I completely understand. I’m still pink, sparkly, crazy and now have two cats. So there – you’re all caught up!

  20. Tracy, three years ago I had a medical condition that involved a lot of pain. It would take me an hour to drive to work, that should only take fifteen minutes because I could not sit down and I would have to pull over, get out of the car and wait and wait for the pain to pass. It was living life with a small ‘l’ every single day. Eventually for me the condition improved.

    At the time, I had a friend who had had a back injury who NEVER complained about it. One day I was with her and when she caught me grimacing I told her why and for the first time ever she opened up about her problem. So my opening up to her about my pain allowed her to get a few things off her chest, and then we both went on with our lives playing the ‘we will never complain but we are actually in pain’ game.

    As for whether you should talk or not talk about this in your blog, I have questioned that of myself in my own blog. I have found that telling my story has been healing for emotional well-being, and yet I leave out the really difficult bits. I sort of tell myself when I am over them and can put a positive spin on them then I will write about them. I do not think that day will ever come.

    Your post has been very uplifting and, far from being whiny, it would actually be extremely useful for anyone else who needs to spend their energy coupons wisely.

    1. “I sort of tell myself when I am over them and can put a positive spin on them then I will write about them.”…

      Oh, yes. That’s exactly what I’ve been thinking… But, since that day, as you said, will probably never come, I’ve decided that it’s best to talk about it now. I think it’s possible to be detrimentally stoic. Sure, WE can handle it (we wonder-women super girls who don’t need to complain); but perhaps we’re doing a disservice to those who need to know that they’re not alone… ?

      I have to let you know… you were my greatest inspiration to “come clean.” I kept thinking to myself, E. is being so honest about her pain (well, about your emotional pain, anyway..) and look how helpful that is to everyone, so I decided I needed to be honest about my daily physical pain, at least in one solitary post…

      And isn’t THAT interesting? That you thought you were leaving out the difficult bits, but inspired me to reveal mine?

      Life is a wonderful, amazing mystery! ❤

      1. That is so empowering for me, to know that I have in some way inspired you. That has meant a lot to me today. Thanks
        Regarding the ‘difficult’ bits, this reflects our recent comments about sparing others pain. In other words, the difficult bits may bring hurt to the children and so I never discuss or write about those bits. Instead I try to only discuss the pain and coping with the wounds, but not about the knife itself.

        1. I still believe there is value in sparing others pain. It takes great wisdom to know the difference between being thoughtful, and playing the martyr. But I do feel like I’m past playing the martyr. I think you are, too.

          1. Yes, I truly am over it.
            However, that is also one of the things I battle with at the moment. My heart is over there (in freedom as per my recent posts); my practical world (which is still the day-to-day business where I am seen as the calm collected one) and yet behind the scenes impinging on the time available for normal life I am still (silently) trudging through the divorce process. That is the bit that I am truly “over” emotionally and yet practically I am not.

            1. It’s a weird time. The formalization of what is already true, when you’d really just like to be done with it already, and move into a life where the external/material reality synchronizes with your internal reality.

              I hope this time goes by quickly now.

  21. That’s an intriguing way you have put it there; a way that I can relate to as I can see applications where similar thinking can be applied to some issues I face 🙂
    The only comment I would add is this: “your blog; your rules.”
    And by the way, I’m glad you did post it. The richness of a personality is something I appreciate.

    1. Thank you, Maurice.

      I’ve begun to see the positive side of having a coupon-constrained life. There really is a kind of freedom, and certainly an enhancement of creativity, wherever boundaries exist. 🙂

      And I’m definitely going to remember this: my blog; my rules.

  22. You found a wonderful way to describe what it is like to live with fibromyalgia using the “coupon” method. I think it works as a metaphor even for those who don’t suffer from the same malady. We all know what it is like to come to the end of our coupons even if we squander many more of them and don’t know what it is to have to guard every one.

    I think the long comments answer your question of how and whether to share the truth very well. We want truth AND we want hope. You give us both regardless of whether we’ve used our coupons for the day or not.

    One thought in case it’s useful: you might make a list of tips (perhaps you already have?) of fibromyalgia symptoms or side effects and one thing you have done to mitigate them. It could be a permanent part of your website or a feature of each post without having to become the complete subject. You have many other ideas to offer your readers also.

    From the pacific Pacific Northwest.

    1. Terrific idea, Shirley. I’ve been planning on revamping the site. I’ll make a new page….

      and AND is my favorite word! (One I have to continually practice saying, to incorporate a sense of balance into my perfectionistic all-or-nothing normal mode of thinking).

      You’re so good for me! Enjoy the Pacific!

  23. I wish I could get in my car and take a road trip of a few days to come give you a hug, my almost-twin. I can’t because my bi-lateral wrist repetitive strain injury restricts my driving time. Not that we should compare ailments, but I understand how minor this is in relation to what you suffer.

    You do not sound whiny, Tracy, just heart-wrenchingly honest. You convey your truth powerfully and in a way that invites understanding and compassion. To answer your question, unless you want your blog to focus on your fibromyalgia, which somehow lets that nasty condition “win,” I think you should continue to write about it whenever you are moved to do so. But you don’t need to feel obligated to write about it all the time. Writing positive, inspirational advice on how to deal with life and not discussing your fibromyalgia in every post does not make you a liar; it makes you a strong and courageous person who sees and shares the positive and the beautiful in life despite this affliction. Opening the door from time to time on what you are dealing with makes your positive advice all the more impactful.

    ♥ Hugs

    1. ❤ back, Twinney!

      And having suffered from "wrist" issues; and now my husband has a strained wrist, I totally understand the enormity of the disability. Trust me; what you're suffering is not mild in comparison; it's at least as disabling in comparison (although, hopefully, of shorter duration).

      I'm feeling pretty sure you and I are going to meet this side of heaven! At least I'm hoping so! (your words are SO encouraging to me!)

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