What is rest?

What qualifies as rest in the world of fibromyalgia? Nine months after my diagnosis, my mind still associates rest with laziness. Rest means not getting chores and errands done. Rest means sitting on the couch with some level of guilt about not being productive. Rest means thinking about all the things that I want and need to do but can’t. I grew up on a farm where you used every moment of daylight to work all summer long; there was no time for rest.

But I know that rest also means being kind to myself. Rest means appreciating what I can do and not focusing on the things I can’t get done today. Rest means giving tomorrow a chance to be an okay day.

Rest can make me self conscious. What do other people think when they see me watching my 70-year-old mother weeding my garden rather than helping her? I sometimes daydream about using a wheelchair in the grocery store, but I don’t because I worry what people will think.

Rest can make me feel guilty. Does it really matter if my floor is clean or if the clean dishes are taken out of the dishwasher and put away in the cupboard? If the alternative is feeling exhausted, I’m not sure it matters one bit. When I say no to an invitation from a friend, do they understand how much I would really love to go? But today is just not a day for that and I’m sorry for the last-minute cancellation. 

My doctor told me that rest for fibro patients is more than just physically taking a break, reading or watching TV, getting off your feet. Rest is about resting your mind and breathing deeply. 

The world moves so fast; it’s hard to slow down and truly rest.

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