Fibro Fatigue: 5 Coping Tips

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.

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What Is a Fibromyalgia Flare?

Flare-ups can happen without warning.

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.”

From How to Recognize a Fibro Flare
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Letter Board No. 17

“Never let the things you can’t do, stop you from doing what you can.”

Fibromyalgia Awareness Day was yesterday, but it’s also recognized for the entire month of May. Fibromyalgia Syndrome is marked by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and sleeping problems. The result of this is often that those of us with it are a shell of our former selves, too fatigued or in pain to carry on the life we once led.

While running marathons may no longer be in our wheelhouse, let’s not forget there are still plenty of things we can do and enjoy in life. We may have to adapt or take things in moderation, but that doesn’t mean we have to live a life of loneliness and isolation.

“Never let the things you can’t do stop you from doing what you can.”

Ronald Reagan

Just like Ferris Bueller says at the end of the movie, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” So my fellow fibrowarriors, my hope for you is that you find something you can do so you can enjoy the life you have.

Cheers!

Cynthia

The Other “F” Word

I would prefer my “F” words include Fabulous, Fearless, and Fun.

I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2000 and have said/thought many a curse word since that time. Fibromyalgia. Fibro. Fibro-flare. Flare. FMS. Fatigue. Fog. Frustration. Failure.  All of these have become the other “F” words  to me. I try to live by the power of positive thinking (hence, the name of my blog), but until you live a day in my shoes it may be hard to understand why even sometimes it is easier to smile and put on a happy face rather than truly answer the question of “How are you?” Because trust me, you don’t want to hear about how I am tired, hurt all over, didn’t sleep last night, and oftentimes feel like a failure because I can’t do the things I want to do.

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