On my Facebook news feed today, there was a quote that really caught my attention: “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” The meme on Facebook attributed this quote to Eleanor Roosevelt, but a quick Bing search attributed several other sources, including JFK, Chinese proverb and others. I don’t know who to attribute it to, but I like it. After my post the other day that started off positive and upbeat and devolved into a mini anxiety attack, I was feeling pretty disgusted with myself. I made a conscious decision to get up off my behind and do something more productive than whine. Not an easy task when you are tired and hurting but a necessary one. I have to stop focusing on what I can’t do and start being grateful for all that I am doing. My three-year-old was at home, so we went outside to enjoy the beautiful weather. She suggested a walk. We took the dog and walked two blocks to check the mail. That was just the motivation I needed. When we got home, we rested, re-hydrated and rested some more. After picking up the older two from school later in the afternoon, I worked on my garden. I was absolutely exhausted afterwards, but mentally I was so much better. My day started out with so much regret and guilt and ended beautifully. Two years ago, I was in my recliner all day long. I was afraid of my body. I wasn’t driving at all. I couldn’t laugh, rarely smiled and had regular thoughts of suicide and self-harm. I was on medications that were giving me more side effects than relief. I felt every glance my way, took that energy in as negative energy and assumed every opinion towards me was hateful. I had little compassion for myself. I have grown so much since then. I am off of those medications that were hurting more than helping. I can drive. I can take care of myself and my kids. I can do housework. I have a hobby I love. I have a loving, understanding family. I am up and I am moving most days. I can acknowledge the pain and fatigue without letting them take over. I have lost 30 pounds. I can wear my size 12 shorts. I can laugh and smile and enjoy myself. Will I hurt or be fatigued in the next second/minute/hour? Probably. I can’t afford to let that stop me. Finding a balance with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome is about taking advantage of every moment. If I start feeling OK early in the day, I don’t look at the clock and think “It’s only nine am. I better sit here for another hour or two before I attempt anything”. Instead, I get up and give myself the opportunity to do something other than sit. If there is any pain or fatigue, I take it slower but I keep going. Since getting my garden half planted two days ago, I’ve been getting off the couch before 10 am so I can get it watered before the heat of the day hits. Then I rest. Then I do something else. Then I rest. And that is okay. Yesterday, while sorting laundry, I listened to upbeat music while I sorted, swaying and moving my body to keep my muscles loose. I didn’t get a headache last night so it must have worked. Today, I am trying the same thing while I fold. I have the shades open to let in the sunlight. I have to stop being afraid and what-ifing every situation to death. We went to a Birthday party for my nephew a couple weeks ago. My Mother-in-law said, “Glad you could make it.” I did a double take and I’m sure I looked at her funny. I don’t even remember what I said but that was such a nice thing to say. So much better than “How are you?” because I didn’t have to scramble for an answer to an impossible question for me. I hope I said I was glad I could come because I really was. No more focusing on the darkness. I’m lighting a candle.