Visualizing a Future

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When I was diagnosed in 1979 no one had any clue as to what Fibromyalgia was, much less how to treat me. I spent the next 24 years floating around among doctors who sent me to psychiatrists, other specialists, then back to the psychiatrist. Although I met more than one doctor who was sympathetic there were no answers. One told me I had Somatization Disorder. When I looked it up I discovered it was Hypochondria for the intelligent and attractive. I thought, “well, at least I got a back-assed compliment.”

It took many more years for me to fully understand what my body was going through. For more than 15 years I wept through new symptoms and slept through the side effects of various medications. Much of that time I was on a combination of narcotics and steroids when they decided to treat me for an autoimmune disease. Every time a new symptom developed another drug was tried. I was overweight, over angry and over medicated. Then I was hit by a car while crossing the street and things went from bad to worse. My back had to be rebuilt and my bones brittle from the steroids.

Two years ago I ended up in an assisted living facility. There I came to understand just how much abuse can happen in a government run facility and decided it was time for me to fight back. At the time I wasn’t fighting for my life, I was fighting for the rights of others. In the end, I discovered my purpose and stopped being a victim. I left to move near my daughter in Texas. Now I was emboldened emotionally, yet still suffering physically. I was now in an independent living situation but I was uncertain if I could maintain it for any length of time. I turned to my spiritual faith as well as the faith I’d develped in myself.

One day I was reflecting on what might lie ahead. I kept hearing the words, “two steps forward, one step back.” Where had I seen that recently? Yes, someone mentioned it in relation to the Cha-Cha! I sat back and began to visualize myself dancing.

The science of psychology tells us that visualizing something has the same benefit as actually doing it.  Athletes who visualize their event before they hit the gym (or court, or/..) will often improve their performance by a significant amount. Why then would it not work for me?

Since changing my attitude, decreasing my meds and starting to visualize myself dancing, running or just walking in the woods, I have managed to move from walking with a walker to using a cane. Now I use the cane primarily to balance myself so I don’t fall and break anything.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a cure. I still have days during which the pain can leave me breathless and I still have issues with progressive weakness. I don’t know what the future holds for me physically. I do, however, know that I am now in charge of my body, mind and soul. Just knowing who’s in charge is a huge shot of endorphins at a much needed time.

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