Thriving With Fibromyalgia
Suffering with widespread, chronic pain and fatigue can make it difficult to function throughout your day, much less thrive. How could it ever be possible to maintain the level of activity, work, socialization or even intimacy as you once had after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia? Fibromyalgia is not a death sentence and in no way indicates it shortens your life, so don’t let it bring you down. Continue living, loving, and making memories at full speed.
The initial diagnosis and adjustment to managing your pain can take some time. Don’t try to be a super hero and rush about in pain trying to help others, ignoring your own discomfort. The first step to thriving with fibromyalgia is seeking and maintaining a proper treatment plan for the pain, fatigue and even mental fog that are most commonly associated with this condition.
Managing your symptoms can be done with little to no medication. Many home remedies and alternative therapies are available. Additionally, keeping a well-balanced diet and finding an exercise program that you can complete at least three times a week will also help with a reduction in symptoms and future flare-ups.
Communication is really important if you want to thrive with this condition. Fibromyalgia is often misunderstood by family, friends and even some medical personnel. You must learn to clearly communicate what you are experiencing in order to maintain a positive support network. Given the condition is so mysterious, many people don’t understand the severity of the symptoms and the debilitating reality of what you may be experiencing. Within these relationships, you also need to work to reduce any stress in your life. This simply means that you have no room for people that create undue stress in your life. This may be a time to evaluate who is really standing in your corner supporting you and who makes you feel less than stellar regarding your condition. Friends that don’t encourage you, aren’t ones that you need to surround yourself with while dealing with the daily struggles of fibromyalgia
The daily suffering of fibromyalgia can be exhausting, it can even leave you feeling isolated, but it doesn’t have to get the best of you. Though your social calendar may need to be slightly reduced to keep you from becoming overwhelmed, it doesn’t mean you must stay behind closed doors. Keep a few things in mind when planning social activities. Don’t be afraid to say NO! If your schedule is already hectic and you really need to take a break, don’t feel bad about not making all events. Your schedule needs to allow time for you to rest and gather your energy. Also, having some flexibility in your schedule will make dealing with potential flare-ups easier. Another idea is to keep a daily journal. In your journal you can track what you are eating, how you are feeling, any unusual symptoms, and any exercise or alternative therapies you may have completed on that day. This journal may help you to identify any trends or triggers for you pain. For example, you work as a youth tennis mentor at the Recreation Center on the weekend and through your journal you are able to notice that flare-ups tend to be worse on Sunday evening and Monday. This could be a result of playing tennis or the added stress of coaching and handling a large group of children. You might want to reduce the amount of time at the Recreation Center and see if the flare-ups reduce in intensity. Keeping a journal is a wonderful way to show your doctor all the things you have been doing, even eating, so they can work to better support your needs.
Lastly, just be happy! It may sound a lot easier than it really is, but maintaining a positive attitude in light of difficult days will keep you going. You can keep your job, your hobbies, your dreams of travel, and even nights out with friends, but it will take a lot of work, patience and understanding on your part and on those involved. Find something that keeps you happy and brings you peace and make it a regular part of your life. Maybe it’s a walk on the beach, a soak in a relaxing bubble bath or maybe just playing with your kids. Whatever it may be that brings you happiness and keeps a smile on your face, don’t let it slip away. Stay happy to stay healthy!