Fatigue is a debilitating, all encompassing feeling of exhaustion.
This guest post has been written by Ann-Marie D’Arcy-Sharpe, a Pain Educator and Blogger at Pathways Health Ltd. She and I both live with Fibromyalgia; she also lives with Arthritis and Bipolar disorder. Her article is so timely for me, as I have been suffering from the daily fatigue that comes with living with our condition.Please enjoy reading her tips!
One of the primary symptoms of fibromyalgia, along with widespread pain, is fatigue. Fatigue is a debilitating, all encompassing feeling of exhaustion. Personally I find fatigue one of the most difficult symptoms of fibromyalgia to live with and to push through. It can feel as though your entire body is being weighed down. Every action feels like an extreme effort. It can even make you feel as though you’re thinking through a fog.
We’re all individuals so we will each experience our symptoms, including fatigue, in different ways and to different degrees. My fatigue is a symptom I experience daily, even when my pain levels and other symptoms are well managed. Over time I’ve had to learn how to cope with fatigue so that I can function in the best way I can in spite of it. I wanted to share five coping tips I hope could be useful for other fibromyalgia warriors.
Holistic health focuses on the whole person rather than individual illness or specific body parts.
As fibromyalgia is a complex and poorly understood syndrome, with no defined cause, I have found that doctors are more inclined to just treat symptoms. Years ago I became disillusioned and weary of the medical approach of prescribing medication for symptoms, rather than trying to get to the root cause of various health problems, so I started taking more control of my own health journey (read more: Becoming Your Own Health Advocate). I want to share how I approach my health and fibromyalgia holistically.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying my approach will work for anyone else, let alone everyone else. We are all individuals with different ailments, pain levels and thresholds, environments, and situations. I am just sharing my approach to managing my fibromyalgia to minimize flares and the disruption to daily life. And first, you have to understand what I mean by “holistic.”
“Holistic health is actually an approach to life. Rather than focusing on illness or specific body parts…[it] considers the whole person.”
Grief can be so overwhelming that the hardest thing to muster is hope and strength.
I have been trying to write this post for many months now, but have been consumed by grief, a lack of creativity, and no desire to write.
Grief takes on many forms when you have chronic pain or a chronic illness, like fibromyalgia. You might be grieving the person you used to be, the life you used to have, or all of the things you used to be able to do.
Any loss can be profound and all-consuming. Even life-changing.
Living with chronic condition like Fibromyalgia can be anything but joyful most days of the week. You are in pain, tired, and can be experiencing a myriad of other symptoms at any one time. And you often feel alone.
Then there’s the fact that you usually have to explain to people just what the heck Fibromyalgia Syndrome is and the fact that there is no good understanding of what causes it, thus there’s no cure as of yet. This alone can spin you into a life of social separation and loneliness.
It is widely believed that artist Frida Kahlo also would have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, if there had been that diagnosis during her time. Her art depicts chronic pain and her diaries reflect a life filled with physical and emotional pain. Yet, she continued to do what she loved, which was to paint, and toward the end of her life she turned her attention to capturing everyday existence.
“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.” Frida Kahlo