Fibromyalgia is one of those elusive conditions that one can’t even begin to explain unless they have it. And according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, fibromyalgia affects roughly 5 million Americans age 18 or older. Unfortunately, 80 to 90 percent of those diagnosed are women. And as a woman, here are a few things that you need to know.
1. You don’t get a say in what days are good and what days are bad.
2. You’re never sure how long the flares are going to last.
3. I appreciate that you want to give me a hug, but I prefer you didn’t. Sometimes it can hurt.
4. Yes, I know I sound OK over the phone, but that’s because I’m lying flat on my back trying not to move.
5. If you come to visit, I will look fine to you. I won’t look like I’m in pain. I won’t look like I can’t move for fear of creating radiating pain throughout my body.
6. Some days I won’t make sense, regardless of how hard I try. Some days my fibro fog will be so bad that I won’t even be able to finish a sentence or say your name correctly.
7. I know that I’m not my normal, happy self. But it’s kind of hard to be my usual self when I ache. Can’t sleep. Can’t think. Have trouble moving around. So all of this depresses me which then causes anxiety. And sometimes then my agoraphobia kicks in as if I didn’t have enough problems already.
8. I know you think I’m sleeping a lot, but the truth is I am too tired to even pick up a book.
9. Yoga pants are one of man’s best inventions. They feel good against my skin and make it easier to roll over in bed.
10. They don’t make medications for crankiness, so I’m sorry if I lose my temper with you. But pain tends to do that to people. And I’m not an exception during a flare up.
11. I’m not going to die, but I sure do feel like I am. And at times I almost wish I would.
The bright side to all of this is that fibro flare-ups don’t last forever. They tend to come and go.
Sometimes they may last a couple of days and other times they may linger for a week or more. The key is to rest, rest, and rest. I believe that’s the best thing for a fibro flare-up. And it’s best to rest when your body starts to break down.
You know your body. You know when a walk in the park is going to bite you in the butt. So do yourself a favor and relax. Rest. Chill out.
If you love long walks on the beach or walks in the park with your furry friend, I think you should continue to do those things, but do them in moderation and take preventive action by resting afterward. If you have to spend two days in bed after a day out, then do it. Don’t feel bad about not cleaning the house. Don’t feel bad about staying in bed. You have to take care of yourself. That means pretty much everything else comes second.
Of course, there are days that things don’t necessarily work out that way. Sometimes you have to take care of the kids while the husband is at work. Just remember to relax and don’t let it stress you out. Yes, you may hurt during the day, but when the hubby gets home, sit down, lay down, take a bath, go to bed. Most likely your spouse or significant has been with you long enough to understand your fibro flare-ups and will be accommodating.
Just know you are doing the best you can considering your circumstances. And that is all that you can do. It’s time we practice what parents tell their kids. You do your best, and that’s all anyone can ask.