I saw an interview where the interviewer asked a celebrity about their diabetes. The celebrity’s response was that diabetes is a disease that requires you to closely follow your doctor’s orders and he wasn’t very good at that. This is pretty much true for many diseases and conditions. Certainly, this is true for Fibro. Fibromyalgia is a disease that requires a strict sleep schedule, exercise, and, possibly, avoidance of some foods. I also have IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, whose care mainly involves a strict diet and reduction in stress.
From the outside, I may seem like a person who would not have trouble with compliance with doctors orders. I make lists. I make ones about things to do and things to get and nearly everything else. I loved making lists as a kid. But things have changed. Now, I don’t or can’t stick to my lists of things I should do. I hate mornings and never get up as early as I should. I go to bed too late. I eat too many unhealthy foods. I go weeks and months without exercising.
Why? Why do I do this? Why not stick to the things that I know will make me feel better? Why would anyone do that?
Unlike Fibromyalgia sufferers, noncompliance with diet, medication, and exercise can have serious long-term health effects for Diabetics. Yet, noncompliance in diabetics is rampant enough to be a topic for medical journals. A casual search of the internet turned up the following articles: “The Problem With Compliance in Diabetes” (M Funnell, MS and R Anderson, EdD, Oct 2000, Journal of the American Medical Association) and Improving Patient Adherence (AM Delamater PhD, ABPP, April 2006, Clinical Diabetes vol. 24 no. 2 71-77). In some circles, they even have a name for this; diet fatigue or condition fatigue.
I know people who would say this is ridiculous. These people just need to get it together and do what they are supposed to do. The people who would say this are the kind of people who seemingly never have to struggle to do something they don’t want to do. They are usually morning people. They can be pretty smug. They think traffic is better before rush hour than after. They think the weather is always better earlier in the morning. They may be friends, but secretly, I hate them. I am kidding, a little. In truth, I think they are the kind of people who have mental anguish when they aren’t doing “what they are supposed to be doing.” They don’t understand that some of us feel less stress when we defy the rules. These people might say I am lazy. I am; sort of. That’s where the flaunting the rules part comes in. But some days, it’s the kind of lazy where I can’t work up the energy to walk to the bathroom and brush my teeth.
I guess the moral of the story here is that it’s hard to stick to strict life style requirements. And not everyone is wired the same or motivated to do things in the same way. Even though fibromyalgia does not cause any damage to the body, it impacts daily life. I try to remember that every day I have a chance to do a better job of taking care of myself and even a small walk or one healthy meal can have a big impact on how I feel tomorrow.