Introducing my Mate ‘Fibro’…
Fibromyalgia officially became my unwanted mate back in August 2017. I know (now) that he’d been lurking about my body for a number of years beforehand. But at the time of my diagnosis, to my knowledge, he came out of nowhere, chipping away at my bones; my shins, elbows, knees and ankles and like a child playing hide and seek, I never knew where he was gonna pop up and have me in tears next.
I remember trying to explain *him to my G.P.; a flitting bone cracking feeling that incapacitated me in agony before quickly moving to another bone. In my mind he was similar to a sprite, a wicked one, an imp maybe; because he liked to inflict pain. I have a very vivid imagination.
Mr Fibro; My internal imp
My G.P. asked if I’d experienced any of the following symptoms (short version);
- Debilitating Fatigue
- Pins and needles
- Fuzzy head
- Digestive issues
- Difficulty staying awake
- Low mood
- And many more
I was surprised that I’d answered yes to the majority of his questions, never thinking of grouping my symptoms before, seeing each of them individually as a reflection of being overworked; often putting in up to 60 hours per week, a difficult period in my marriage and being a mother of two wonderful young persons.
The dawning that the years of insomnia, feeling brutally exhausted, being battered by a nervousness that had my tummy constantly doing the Easy Reel Jig for no reason I could pinpoint, and a persistent rain cloud; a dark heavy, rain cloud, hanging over me, were some of the conjoined symptoms of fibromyalgia, left me reeling.
I have a what???
It was complicated. On one hand my life in recent years began to make sense; I wasn’t an unhappy, morose person who was just always tired and unmotivated; yay!!! But on the other hand, there was strangely named syndrome attacking my body and mind 🙁
Hands filled with leaflets, a referral made to rheumatology and prescription for some weird sounding medications (gabapentin being one), I left the surgery more informed, yet concerned more than ever – though I was resolved to research the hell out of this fibro thing and then beat it.
Lol, little did I know… It’s NOT beatable! And you know that presumption that feel once you receive a diagnosis, everything will be fine now because it can be medically treated it and then you can move on from it or at least, with it? Well this particular mate, Fibro, taught me fairly quickly that this would NEVER be the case. That’s for another blog though…
You may be wondering why I refer to Fibro as my mate; a friend to those across the seas? Yes, granted he’s the type of mate who’s as welcome as an infected boil on your armpit, but as he was here to stay, I needed to suss this freeloader out. Coming on 4yrs later, I’m still trying to suss him out. He’s perplexing, mysterious, elusive, highly emotive, triggering and dark – sounds like a dating bio for Mr. Grey; 50 Shades of Grey :), though sadly his hosts, humans, primarily females, rarely have the luck required to change him.
I am getting close though, and the closer I get to understanding him, the closer I get to making peace with him. I’ve learned that he hates stress because it triggers him to react and cause me to experience excruciating pain. I’ve learned that he’s the mirror image of ‘Sadness’ from the Pixel Cartoon, ‘Inside Out’, and that he requires me to work extremely hard to feel happy – if I don’t, I’ll end up in a flare and pretty much spend up to a week or longer, in bed in a oblivion, unable to do pretty much anything for myself. I’ve also learned the hard way that being angry with myself, him, Fibromyalgia, me, him, the world, triggers a cycle of debilitating symptoms for me and it’s just not worth it, though that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel angry, stressed, low or frustrated, of course I do, the difference now though is that I’m aware what’s coming next. Oh and one further thing, ‘the fog’ is with me daily, pretty much.
I used the phrase ‘making peace’ earlier and it got me thinking about how apt Einstein’s quote is in relation to Fibromyalgia. I alluded to the cyclical nature of fibromyalgia and the impact of emotions on the physical body. Therefore, the ultimate state of mind that fibro sufferers / survivors should aim for is happiness as that will minimise Fibros reach, right?. But we’re living in Covid, Lock down number 5, 2021, and we’re pretty much balls of stress – making happiness a fairly difficult aspiration to attain. However what’s worked for me is waking up and adapting a positive outlook; definitely not easy but with a smile every morning being much more attainable and if we’re not feeling it, we can fake it, ultimately tricking our brains into happy mode, minimizing the opportunity of entering a flare up – and if faking a smile can prevent say, one flare every 6 months, surely it’s worth the effort? The more we smile, or force a smile, the easier it becomes, which can not only offset a flare up but can benefit those we love the most.
“Peace begins with a smile”Albert Einstein
Further Reading: 📖