I let myself get so stressed these last few days that I have felt it in my body. That’s the worse part of having Fibromyalgia. Stress causes more pain. Plus, because I have stress-induced seizures, this is not a good thing at all. I have to find a way to channel my unrest and pivot around my frustrations. I’m extremely exhausted at the moment but to be honest, I’ve been worse. So I know I’m not at my stress limit. I think at least I may be able to stop the downtrodden feeling of emotions that will erupt once I am at my maximum.

Like all of us, being in the middle of extremely uncomfortable, unhealthy situations understandably causes stress. But what you do when there’s really nothing in sight that can change what’s stressing you, is the key. What direction will you follow when these quiet storms turn into raging storms where the sky has fallen, the trees are swaying, the rain is heavy and the clouds are low? That may be an over- exaggeration, but you get my point.

I’m an introverted, unsocial, disconnected, ghetto bougie (yes it’s a thing), not quite middle-aged mother and grandma. I grew up isolated, unable to socialize with my peers.

That impacted my life to the point where I don’t trust easily. If I let a person in, they have become special to me. I have a very small circle consisting of my family, boyfriend, and a few friends for which I would lay down my life. I only talk to a handful of them about what I go through. I’m completely transparent with maybe three of those people.

My frustrations overwhelm me because when I know my “persons” are going through their own storms, I will not put my problems on them. Nor will I chose to open up to anyone else. I’m whatever personality type that lets things build up until I explode and everything comes out in tears and expletives. Because I’m in pain all day every day, you’d think I would be on edge and go off on people all the time. But I know my faith has a lot to do with my ability to be kind and considerate of others despite my own situation.

So what can I do to change how I respond to stress without sacrificing my sanity? I have to reach back and grab those coping mechanisms I learned over 15 years ago in therapy. Deep breathing, taking my mind to a happy place like the beach with my kids and utilizing the most effective one I have found, walking away and taking a few moments to myself. Walking outside, into another room, or locking myself in the bathroom is a necessary means to replenishing the calm in my mind and body.

These coping mechanisms may not work for everyone, but they have brought some peace back into my life many times. I was so ashamed of needing therapy back then, but now I’ve never been more grateful for it. The doctors who sat down with me and taught me these tools which I still use today saved my life.

Today’s lesson for my readers is don’t ever be ashamed of needing help. Never think there’s something wrong with you just because you need therapy, counseling, or medication. You will learn things that you can use throughout your lifetime. I forget that I know how to cope sometimes. It’s easy to get so caught up in the winds and rain, that you forget where your shelter lies. It’s ok.

Take a step back, reevaluate, pray, and find someone to confide in even if it’s a stranger on the other end from a Therapy hotline. The key is to pivot through your pain instead of around it. Pivoting around issues leave them right where they are in your life. Working through them finds solutions. Never feel like your problems mark the end for you. They are temporary. Be positive, be brave, be encouraged.


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Valerie Collins
Valerie Collins was born in Tucson, Az, the last of six children. She has loved writing since a child but decided to pursue a career in Orthopedic nursing. Shortly after her marriage and birth of her first child at the age of 22, she was diagnosed with the chronic pain disease, Fibromyalgia, its subsequent conditions, illnesses, and syndromes. Once the disease disabled her in 2001, she revisited her passion for writing poetry and short stories and has accumulated over 100 poems and spoken word pieces over the years. She became a member of the International Society of poets in 2002 and The International Who's Who in Poetry in 2006. She currently is a member of Realistic Poetry International, Who's Who Among American Business Women, and Women of Facebook Create. Her accolades include 2005 Poet of the Year. She was awarded both the Outstanding Achievement Award in Poetry and the Official Commemorative Poetry Ambassador Medal while serving as a Poetry Ambassador associate in 2007. She wrote a play entitled “Fix Me Jesus” in 2012 for Alabama 1st COGIC State AIM Youth Convention Competition drama category which was awarded second place. Currently, she is in rehearsals for her second stage play for the local playwright, Shawna D. Moore which will be on stage in August 2019. She is in the process of compiling a two-volume poetry book entitled My Poetic Life: A Memoir of Love and a book detailing her life with Fibromyalgia, entitled Behind the Walls of Silence. In July 2018, she created her first blog site My Poetic Life (The Book) as @vfurrmstheblogger to act as a launch for both books and it has taken on a life of its own. She also owns a small crochet business, Val's Gifts of Warmth, where she sells her handmade crochet items.
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Joel Elveson

Unquestionably this is a GREAT article! Without going into detail please suffice it to say much of what you mentioned is all too familiar. You are not alone. If I may ask a favor of you which would be PLEASE acknowledge and accept the fact that you are a special person whose positive traits far outweigh the negatives.