Fibromyalgia is such a complex condition. It affects you physically, cognitively and emotionally. Sometimes, if forces us to change who we are or suffer the consequences. This is where I have a hard time because I have dreams and goals and I’m not ready to give them up. Today I woke up feeling the weight of fibromyalgia on my body and my soul.
Most people hate getting up in the morning. I know very few people that just jump right up and seize the day. It is a process, am I right? Most days are hard to get going for me, as I’m usually stiff and hurting as soon as my eyes open. I try to do some stretches in bed to help ease it but some days are harder than others on that front. So I pull myself up from lying down and sit there for a bit, trying to gain strength to move my body. The weight of myself feels unbearable.
On days like this deciding to take a shower or not is a major decision. I think on one hand it could help loosen my muscles and relax me. On the other hand, it could take so much of my energy I might be done for the day. I try to get up two hours before I have to leave for work so I have time to adjust to the whole mess. Then there is the catch 22 of if I’m having a really hard day it is almost impossible to get myself up that early.
It isn’t just the weight of my body that is causing me trouble. It is my mind as well. I can’t seem to think to make a decision as simple as taking a shower or not. It is like a weight is being put on my brain and I just can’t lift it no matter what. It is days like this that I fear driving myself to work. Will I be able to react as quickly as I need to? Will I remember where I am or where I’m going? These are valid concerns that I’m sure any fibromyalgia warrior can relate with.
This weight continues on throughout the day making finding words difficult. Sometimes I feel like an idiot as I try to stammer through a conversation where I know I sound stupid. But I am NOT stupid and you are NOT either. This is what fibromyalgia does to us though. Being cognitively impaired is a result of the weight of fibromyalgia.
The impact fibromyalgia has on my emotions is sometimes greater than all others, especially on days where I have been struggling consecutively. As I have explained in my article Fibromyalgia and Mental Health, I have been battling depression my whole life. Fibromyalgia can take that depression and increase it ten fold sometimes. The weight of fibromyalgia on my emotions plunges me into darkness and it takes a lot of strength to pull myself out. The anxiety and worry over everything gets to be too much and makes me more exhausted. All the while, I have to push through and go to work each day because I have to, not necessarily because I am able to.
In the end, the weight of fibromyalgia hurts my soul. I tend to be a pessimist however, I work really hard to stay positive or at least re-direct my thoughts. My soul captures all this pain, agony and fatigue and I have to decide what to do with it. Do I let it drag me down further? Or do I give up? Do I call out sick and lie around and feel sorry for myself? For me personally, the answer is NO!
I know I’ve painted a pretty grim picture, but it is my truth and probably for some of you reading this as well. The above is how I feel almost every day at some point during the day. How do I get through it? Well, one foot in front of the other my friend, one foot in front of the other! I feel I have no choice but to keep fighting, keep re-directing my thoughts and keep finding ways to take the weight off of me. Here are some steps I take to pull myself out:
- Exercise: I know with all I said, you might wonder how. Believe me, sometimes I wonder as well. I modify my exercise to the daily ability I have. If it is a tough day, maybe I just walk in place a few times throughout the day and add in some stretches. I give some ideas on how fibromyalgia warriors can exercise in The Spoonie Exercise Challenge.
- Healthy Eating: I have found that I overall feel much better when I put whole, real foods into my body. This may seem like a no-brainer, but when you are addicted to sugar it can really be a hard challenge. In a couple articles I have given some ideas on Healthy Breakfast Ideas and also How To Start An Elimination Diet if you want to check those out.
- Planning: This is a tough one, because you can’t always plan for a flare or know you aren’t going to feel well. I plan my meals out each Sunday and try to prep as much as I can. I enlist the help of my family in all areas they are willing. This is also often where I have a hard time as asking for help in the right way can be a challenge for me. I use my planner and write out all my responsibilities for the week. This helps with the brain fog and just keeping myself as organized as possible.
- Meditation: Admittedly, I don’t use this one as much as I should. But, it has helped calm and center me. I like to do breathing exercises to calm myself and take my mind off my anxiety at the moment. Sometimes, when I am at work and the weight of everything feels too much, I just close my eyes and focus on my breath for a few minutes. It doesn’t fix everything but it does help get me through the moment.
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