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.”
Life with fibromyalgia can be tough. It can be downright debilitating at times. On day 13 of a very wicked fibro flare I finally started feeling human again. Not quite 100% mind you, but it appears I am finally on the downside of this one.
We’re in the midst of a global pandemic. There is a Sahara dust storm that made its way all the way to the U.S., triggering all kinds of reactions. It seems like it is always cold, flu, strep, or allergy season here in Texas. Even before coronavirus, I religiously wiped down grocery carts and washed/sanitized my hands constantly when in public places. No matter the circumstance – weather changes, travel, exposure to other people and their germs, stress, staying in, eating out – all of those things can add up to a compromised immune system. So when I start feeling like I am coming down with something, I have to pause and think – Am I getting sick? Or is it just a Fibromyalgia Flare?
“Flare-ups can happen without warning and are mostly likely to occur if a person with fibromyalgia is stressed or under a lot of pressure.
A flare-up can last anywhere from a few days to weeks at a time.”