Resurgence of grief over lost physical abilities - suggestions?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by turquoiselisa, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. turquoiselisa

    turquoiselisa New Member

    I first got ME/CFS 12 years ago when I was 23. I was a lot sicker in the earlier years than I am now, and I've settled into a middle ground of working part-time and being able to do some physical activity, but not lots. However, I was really physically active before I got sick, running and lifting weights all the time, and I loved it.

    In more recent times I've been going to a gym just to do light weights, can't do cardio at all. I'm well used to the routine by now, in physical activity and my life overall - pace carefully, watch for overdoing, be grateful to be so much more well than I was before. And for a long time I *have* been sincerely grateful that I could do anything physical at all, since I enjoyed it so much before. But lately every time I go the gym I have this huge resurgence of grief about the level of fitness I used to enjoy, about not being able to run anymore, not being able to push myself like healthy people can. I try to remind myself to be grateful that I can even do what I can now, but this feeling of grief is persistent, it's like it just happened yesterday.

    Does anyone have suggestions for why I would be experiencing this seemingly out of the blue after so long, and more importantly, suggestions for working through this? It feels uncomfortable to be experiencing this again as though it were a fresh loss. And I don't want to live in the past, nor fight with reality.

    [This Message was Edited on 04/05/2012]
  2. deepak

    deepak Member

    Wow, a similar thing happened to me last week.

    I am just having FM kind symptoms since a year and yet trying to get a formal diagnosis.

    Last week I went to the gym after 4 months as I felt somewhat better. But once at the gym i realised as soon as I started doing the cross trainer cardio my heart rate rocketed. So I stopped and just did some treadmill but then I crashed for 2 days and also got some fever. I used to love being at the gym and working out but I realise my body has changed.

    It makes me very sad too, like I am sure , it does to everyone who goes through this.

    But I try to be in the moment. Focus on your breath and live in the "now". Also, realising that depression is like a never ending whirlpool, I am conscious to kick sad and negative thoughts when I see them creeping in as feeding them only makes them grow. Also, with such positive results coming for Mikie and others on the peptide injections, there is reason to be hopeful that we will get our lives back soon. :)


  3. Saoirse3

    Saoirse3 Member

    I used to skydive, kayak and ride horses. I had my own Harley, swam like a dolphin and walked a mile easily. Now I'm lucky some days to walk to the kitchen, and pain wakes me up. At first I was depressed, angry and resentful of the "normal" people. I thought being physically active made me "whole". It was complete and utter foofaraw! I don't know if you are spiritual or not, but for me, I finally woke up and realized Spirit had punched me in the head and said "Pay attention! You're not done yet, and I have plans for you! If you cannot do for yourself, then do for someone else. You don't have to stop giving because something was taken away!" I wondered what in the world I was supposed to do next. You may not believe this, but every word is true.

    I thought, "Well, if I had the brains to get this far, I'm probably going to find out". Then it snowed. And snowed. And snowed. One day I looked out my window and a half-frozen raven was sitting there looking REALLY hungry. I felt bad and gave him some leftover chicken. The next day three more showed up. By February I had a flock. They arrived at 10:30 every day on the dot. They were delighted with whatever I had. They followed my car to the store, they sat on the luggage rack, they even sat in the trees above me and listened to me read! I thought, "THIS is IT? I'm supposed to feed ravens?" Well, about a week ago as I went to walk to my car, my foot hit the top step and I flew through the air, landing with a thud on the ice. I couldn't move and no one was home. Everyone was at work. Even "my guys" as I call them. The sat in the trees and watched. "I'm hurt! I need help!" I said. About a dozen flew off, but the rest stayed in the trees, cawing, cooing, calling. Then my phone started to ring. My CELL! Why hadn't I thought of it? It was my husband. "Honey are you okay?" "I'M HURT! I FELL!" I yelled. He dashed home and found me in the yard. When he got me settled in bed he said "I never saw anything like this, and you're going to think I am nutz. But about half an hour ago a dozen ravens flew over my truck, landed on the cab and trailer and began cawing like mad. They refused to leave. I had to pull over. I know you feed them and they seem to love you quite a bit!" I was skeptical until the next day, when I looked out the window and saw them. There in the snow, was a beautiful picture of a bird that they had drawn in the snow, using their wingtips. I have the picture, a picture of them in their tree and on my fence.

    Doing for them has given me a sense of purpose. Eventually, it led me to Bird TLC, where I volunteer to help the sick and injured wild birds of Alaska. I know the story is long but the moral is short. If we can't do for ourselves we can do for someone else. Nothing in this world feels better than giving of yourself. Mainly because it's the best gift you can give yourself as well. Someone needs you. And you have much to give.

    Soft hugs,
  4. MsE

    MsE New Member

    I so long to be able to dance! I don't think anything I've had to give up has been as difficult as having found even the slowest hula leaves me exhausted. Yes, sometimes I just want to cry.
  5. FaithHopeCure

    FaithHopeCure New Member

    Wow, everything that has been said has brought tears to my eyes. I thankfully still go to the gym and do very light cardio on the elliptical machine and a lot of stretches. I was a dancer and gymnast in high school and then started running 10ks and half marathons. I too was very ill and at times and have been completely debilitated with pain for months at a time. No more marathon training for me! Although, I will always be a dancer at heart. Even if I just shake my hips around a little!

    The worst feeling for me is not being able to multi task and keep a full time job. I am a very creative person and love working in an office and collaborating with other creative types.
    But this fibro keeps me from being able to focus all day long. I loved Stacy's story about her Bird friends! I too have settled for a part time job at my sons charter school (9:30-1:30). I supervise the k-8 students during recess and test taking times. I volunteer at the schools office too. I have really enjoyed being a part of a great school and giving back to the school. The kids are great and I feel like I am doing a good service for the school.

    I also enjoy watching my son grow up and achieve great things! It has taken me ten years to realize my limitations. I suppose turning 45 has helped me become a little wiser. I too sit back and watch people who work full time and who are passionate about their job and wish I could have that type of energy again. For now I only have the energy for my son and his school and taking care of my fibro issues. Which I am very greatful for....
  6. turquoiselisa

    turquoiselisa New Member

    Thank you all for your kind words, suggestions, and empathy. I think so much of the difficulty, honestly, comes from existing in this in-between state, where I'm not totally sick but then I live in the world of healthy people while not totally well either. It can give rise to unfair comparisons. So even though I am much more well than I used to be, I sometimes feel like I should be able to do what I see others around me doing. More specific to what I posted here earlier, I recently started going to a gym where it's mostly young and fit people, rather than a range of ages and abilities like places I used to go. But I have to go to this one because it's close and I don't have a car.

    I would much rather have the abilities I do now than when I was sicker, but I do feel that living in this in-between state in the outside world has its own unique challenges.

    Deepak - Yes, focus on the present moment is important. I keep telling myself I need to get back into meditating again. Be careful yourself especially with cardio - I've had this illness for 12 years, and I and many others have found that strength training is much less affected than cardio. Cardio overexertion can be a *really* important factor in levels of recovery and relapses. I just walk at this point and do some weights, as trying to jog gave me chest pains every time, and I used to run races before I was sick.

    Stacey - That's such a cool and amazing story! Thanks for sharing, it was very inspirational. And, I do believe you. ;-)

    MsE - Oh yes, I loved dancing too. I used to dance a lot. I don't know if watching dancing is still pleasurable for you or not. Sometimes I still get enjoyment out of watching things I used to do, but then sometimes it feels more upsetting.

    FaithHopeCure - Yes, I used to run races too! It was nice to hear how you've found a feeling of contribution and enjoyment in what you still can do.

    Leah Freida - Thanks so much for all your practical suggestions and concern. It does seem like there are ebbs and flows in my feelings about this over the years, not just my physical symptoms. And yes, endorphins! That's part of what I miss about running, because I have a sort of natural tendency towards depression, and so the runner's high used to help so much with that. I am feeling better generally - it's just this odd thing tied with going to the gym lately. I'm so much more well than I used to be and I am grateful that I can walk to work, earn some money, do things besides lie down - but sometimes I suddenly feel really upset again that I'm not totally well, since physical activity was something that I particularly enjoyed doing.

  7. ppmickey

    ppmickey New Member

    You are truly an amazing woman and gave such kind words. I admire you.

    Soft Hugs,
  8. ppmickey

    ppmickey New Member

    I understand what you are going through and my thoughts and prayers are with you. It's so hard to go through this. I still have times when I'm so frustrated and get angry and I was diagnosed in 1997. I am 59 now. I used to be so active when I was younger and before getting CFIDS and Fibromyalgia, then along came Diabetes 2, heart problems, etc. I was experiencing many falls for the past two years until up till the past few months, knock-on-wood. I think it's from my spinal stenosis and neuropathy. Things that were simple before I could no longer work, as of 2006, are such a great effort now. Although I've lost a great deal of weight and thought that would help matters, I've found the pain has become even worse than when I was heavy and I don't have the muscle mass, which I'm losing. All I can tell you is to try to develop a sick sense of humor over it. I do. I make fun of myself and make jokes over how I need to be attached to ropes, like a puppet and have someone hold me up and help move me around. I have a terrible time sleeping since I can't lay on either hip and my back is in such bad shape. Since my husband and I are both retired, we are selling most of what we own, including our house and going full time motorhoming in our RV, pulling our Jeep around to go on other adventures with for as long as our bodies are able to get around as much as possible. I've learned how to get into the Jeep without falling out of it. It's a long way down to the parking lot. Ouch!! Be patient with yourself and find new things you are good at or want to try. I'm going back to making jewelry again, going to start playing my electric portable piano again, and going to crotchet afghans again. I may even take up sewing again. Who knows? Stranger things have happen. You will still get mad from time to time, but keep your chin up and know that tomorrow is another day that may be better. You may have a hidden talent for doing something for yourself or others. I want to crotchet afghans for friends and then for children who are taken into custody by Children's Services to be protected so that they have their own personal warm blanket.
    May you have sunnier days ahead and only time will help you adjust to your losses as you learn to substitute other things to do.
    Blessing to you,
  9. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Even with therapy, getting to acceptance isn't linear. One can achieve acceptance and slip back into grieving at any time. I think we all experience this over the years that we are sick.

    We are exceptional and heros and heroines, every one of us. We manage despite pain and exhaustion which would bring an Olympic athlete to his or her knees. We suffer the ignorance of our docs, family and friends because "we don't look sick." It is what makes this place so special; we all know what we all go through and we are always here to offer support and gentle hugs. Our members are some of the best people I've ever had the good fortune to meet.

    I hope your grieving gets better. Sometimes, grieving has a purpose and we need to listen to ourselves to see whether there is something we need to change.

    Love, Mikie