This photo is of my sister. She was a lovely person – kind, generous, forgiving, intelligent, placid – but she had demons. Oh, and she used to drive me mad! We were very different characters: I am every bit as volatile as she was placid, we had opposite character traits, different hobbies and interests. Despite all of that, and much more, we had a very deep, strong and special loving bond. It was a faithful bond, one we could trust absolutely. Trust of that kind is very important: it is deep within who we are, almost as deep as the trust we have of ourselves.
Anyone with a reasonable level of self-awareness, will pretty much know and recognise their own strengths and weaknesses. We know the sorts of things we are good at, those we struggle with, the things that we will never be able to master (I wonder if one could use the word ‘mistress’ in these feminist days?). We know who we are and what abilities we have. They are things we can trust about ourselves. But…
What happens when we can no longer trust those very same things? How does it affect how we see ourselves? What happens to our self-esteem? Our confidence? Our understanding of ourselves and the world around us?
I wrote on here recently about how Fibro Fog was making itself felt. Well, it has continued to hang around being a danged nuisance. The reason I had mentioned Fog was because of an incident involving the day of a hospital appointment: I was convinced the appointment clerk had told me it was on Wednesday (as opposed to the usual Monday), but, in reality, it was on the Monday.
Another significant incident has taken place which has really shaken my self-confidence. I feel I can no longer trust myself, my thoughts, my memories. It is very scary. I cannot be sure that what I remember, even from just a week or two ago, is actually a memory. FPR had asked me to order something online for him. During the process I offered him a couple of options and he made his choice, I placed the order and paid for the goods, then I emailed a copy of the order confirmation to him. Except that I didn’t email a copy of the confirmation to him, because I hadn’t placed the order!
Yes, I know that lots of people forget things like that but when one has Fibromyalgia, especially Fibro Fog, and something that seems so real is actually a figment of one’s imagination, it can be very, very scary indeed. Throughout my adult life I have been efficient and logical in dealing with administrative-type tasks, both at work and in the home. I have devised systems and spreadsheets; organised diaries and appointments; filled in enough forms to keep a whole army of civil servants busy; researched issues; interpreted information; completed comprehensive case notes so that any colleague who picked up the file would have all of the necessary information to hand, in a sensible form and myriad other tasks. But that time has passed.
I can no longer glide through tasks like those. Each telephone call, each blank form is like a mental mountain to climb. It feels as though an important part of my brain is playing tricks on me, making me think and act illogically. It makes me feel pathetic. It makes me feel as though a chunk of me is missing. It makes me feel less than I was. It makes me feel stupid. And it makes me feel anxious.
How can I trust what my brain is telling me? It is, in effect, telling me lies, although I can’t tell which are lies and which are memories. How can I trust my brain to keep me safe?
I am feeling out of my own control and, instead, under the control of Fibro. If you were in my shoes, would you trust Fibro…?