I remember the first counselling session I had, she asked how I felt and why I booked the appointment. I found it really weird talking about myself, I described it as self- indulgent. I'd never spoken about myself so much, it felt uncomfortable.
That's the sort of person I used to be. Always putting everyone else first, a people pleaser, going out of my way to fix everything for everyone. I'm annoyed that FM has taken that away from me.
I have had to learn to say no, I have had to accept that I'm not invincible, I'm not Super Woman!
Instinct kicks in and I want to revert to my old self; I used to be the person who everyone came to for help, both at work and at home.
I still am that person actually, but my response has had to change. Rather than taking control and fixing things, I have to give my family, friends and colleagues advice about how they can sort things out for themselves.
I've had to relinquish control and that took a long time to adjust to.
I simply don't have the energy to search for answers, to shop for particular items, to mend clothes, to research others problems, to physically do things for everyone else.
I have had to learn to be a little selfish! I'm not the first to offer my services any more. I will sit and watch my husband cleaning if I don't feel up to helping out. I try to encourage my kids to be self-sufficient, I advise them but I don't take over (I hope). I know my limitations, I know that I cant do everything. I choose my battles, I don't fight everything that I don't like, I let some things go over my head. I don't have the energy for perfection any more.
My consultant told me that FM generally strikes a certain kind of person, the person who's too nice. The person who's too helpful, too reliable, the 'go to' person. He also told me that some employers set out to identify potential employees with these personality traits, and that as a consequence company sickness levels are much higher in those organisations.
I hope this doesn't read as being pompous or as blowing my own trumpet, that's not my intention. I just wanted to share this really valuable lesson that I've had to come to terms with.
So now I have another adjustment to make, I have to learn not to feel so guilty about putting myself first, but that's a whole 'nother story!
Keep smiling and be strong.