When any problem comes it has its negative impact on anyone’s life. Still, there are very few who see the positive side of that problem.
One such young lady, we met online-“Ashley Jael (@ashleyjael)”.
She is suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Fibromyalgia since she was nine years old.
She says that she has learned how to empathize and help others deal with their own dragons in addition to realizing how she can use her illnesses to encourage others with what they are dealing with.
Here is the glimpse of her email interview and her message/question to others.
Who are You & Where are You From?
I am Ashley Jael, a 28-year-old hairstylist and makeup artist residing just outside San Diego, California.
How Long You Have to Struggle with the Disease?
I have been battling the demons of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Fibromyalgia since I was nine years old.
What Made You Recognize the CFS & Fibromyalgia Signs?
When I was a younger I began to exemplify flu-like symptoms. My body ached constantly and was tender to the slightest touch, but unfortunately, it did not go away.
This caused concern with my parents and they took me to the doctors to inquire about my symptoms. After several tests, I was diagnosed with CFS and Fibromyalgia.
What Made You Strong?
My faith in God and the support of my parents. Without either of these, I would not have the strength to fight that I have today.
What Type of Treatments Have You Followed (Any Mobility Aids, Strategies or Exercise)?
I haven’t followed the typical drug route that so many chronic pain suffers or CFS patients embark on.
During the early stages of my diagnoses, I was given medication prescribed for depression in order to help combat the sleepless nights I constantly endured with my CFS.
However, I had a hard time coping with the groggy morning after-effects so my mom pulled me off of it.
Over the years I have focused more on changing my dietary habits, figuring out what form of exercise works best for me, incorporating natural remedies, like turmeric, for the inflammation, and learning to listen to my body.
I have also been challenged with when to say “no” to hanging out with friends or social gatherings. The latter two have been the hardest for me as I am one to always lend my time and energy to help others.
I still find it difficult to cancel plans with my friends due to a flare-up or overexertion throughout the day, but I know that if I do not pay attention to what my body is feeling I will find myself in a worse situation.
What Did You Feel After You Diagnosed With Fibromyalgia?
Although these diseases come with countless negative side effects, on the positive side I have learned how to empathize and help others deal with their own dragons in addition to realizing how I can use my illnesses to encourage others with what they are dealing with.
I will not let these diseases hold me back on the life I want to live. They may be a stumbling block causing me to trip and fall at times, but I will not let them weigh me down.
What Do You want to Say or (Advice Others) to Follow?
Find out what works for you and your body. I am constantly reading blogs, posts, and excerpts from people who say “this drug will rid you of pain” or “follow this meal plan and you will feel better”, but everybody is different. While we may all suffer from chronic pain not everyone suffers the same.
Maybe a healthy diet, prayer, and light exercise assist me in some ways, but maybe prescription medication is the only thing that works for you. We need to understand our bodies and how they respond to various forms of treatment.
Find out what helps you and stick to it.
How Do You Feel Now?
This question had me baffled as the only “recovery process” I have gone through are the moments following a flare-up. Because I haven’t been one to riddle my body with an excess of drugs, doctor’s visits, and treatment I have not had to cope with the possible side effects that many in my shoes do.
However, I know how it feels to endure the battle wreaking havoc inside my body on a daily basis and the aftermath I am left with following a flare-up. Trailing the course of healing one can be left with many emotions.
Although some days I am grateful just to have made it through another fight, many times I am frustrated, dejected and feel abandoned. While I am blessed with the few people in my life who are there to support me, the struggle is hard and can weigh heavy on me.
I’m tired (literally) of these diseases and how they have the power to determine how I live my life. I have finally come to the realization that I simply cannot just plan my schedule in hopes that my body will agree to the task. I have learned to be flexible and that this “recovery process” is not so much an end as it is a continuous journey.
Who Supported You During Your Illness?
My parents have always been the biggest supports and form of comfort during times of flare-ups. My mom was diagnosed with CFS and Fibromyalgia a few years prior to my diagnoses so she knows firsthand the struggle I deal with on a daily basis.
She has been my advocate in reminding me how to better take care of myself and continuously encouraging me that it is okay to back out of plans in order to promote my well-being.
Although my dad does not struggle with these diseases, he has learned how they affect my body and the precautionary things I need to do so I will have fewer flare-ups. He has been an endless source of joy and laughter on my hardest days.
Additionally, my faith in God. He has been the only one who has sustained me when no one else was around. A couple of years ago I flew half-way around the world for a mission’s trip.
I was determined to not allow my illnesses to hold me back, but I did suffer immensely.
The hours of flight coupled with injuries from a car accident I endured 6 weeks prior made my body feel like it had aged 50 years. The ten days that followed were brutal on my body as I had a severe flare-up that consisted of sleepless nights, horrible pain, and many emotional breakdowns.
I didn’t have anyone to support me, I felt alone, and no one could understand what I was going through.
Besides the sweet email messages of encouragement from my parents millions of miles away, God was the only one who was my anchor that held me together.
He has and will always be the firm foundation I can rest upon and find security and hope despite my weaknesses. I keep myself busy with my creative work of hairstyle on my site.
Any Message You Have For Others?
While I know we are all combating an invisible enemy I just want to encourage others that you are not alone? Despite the fact that my friends and most of my family may not even understand my illness (or believe I have one), I rest assured knowing there are many other individuals who are going through the same thing.
We all share a common thread and are the only ones who can truly empathize with one another.
Friends and family may try to get it and be sympathetic, but they can’t fully comprehend what it is like to battle these diseases on a day-to-day basis.
Even though the struggle can be overwhelming at times, don’t let it hold you back on the life you desire to live. These diseases may be a part of who I am, but surely they do not define me.