Fibromyalgia - It's Just A Part Of Me.

by GEM Magazine / Apr 04, 2015 / Comments

5 years ago, I noticed I hadn’t felt ‘well’ for some time. I began to struggle sleeping, everything hurt, and I felt tiredness like never before. I put most of it down to being a new Mum, but after a while I realized something wasn’t quite right. Blessed with a baby who slept through, I was still lying awake for hours on end – desperately tired but merely napping. I was physically and emotionally drained. After several visits to my GP, I was given my diagnosis. Fibromyalgia. Sorry, Fibro-what?!

So what is it?
In short, it makes you feel about 95 years old. Remember the feeling of everything hurting when you have the Flu? Welcome to your new daily life! The problem with Fibro is that everyone experiences it differently. Symptoms are wide-ranging, there’s no treatment that works for everyone. I was one of the lucky ones. Very quickly I settled into a treatment regime, which worked with minimal side effects. However, suddenly needing a pill-box to help with all 6 of my daily medications was an unwanted but necessary new accessory.

Weight gain, lapses in concentration, memory-loss (AKA Fibro-Fog – cute name, eh?) – these were all new to me. I’ve always taken pride in being quick-witted and suddenly I felt like this was being taken away from me. Then there’s the psychological symptoms – mood swings, anxiety, insecurity and depression. I’ve experienced them all to a degree. I’m not going to lie, I’ve struggled at times. I’ve experienced relationship breakdowns and sometimes questioned who I even was any more. I felt frustrated and went through a whole array of thoughts; ‘Why me?’ ‘What have I done to deserve this?'

Realizing the diagnosis could have been worse, I stopped feeling sorry for myself and began to focus on the things I could control. I dusted myself off. I had a child who relied on me and I sure as hell wasn’t going to let him down. I work full time, lead as full a social life as I can and go out on the town occasionally. Although a hangover with a Fibro-flare is NOT fun! I’ve had to accept that I probably won’t run marathons any time soon, but I can still jog/walk a 5km Race for Life, which is more than some.

You have to learn your limits but try and (gently) stretch them, then rest when you can. Make the most of your good days, and don’t feel guilty if you struggle. It’s OK to ask for help! Sometimes I meet other people with Fibro and they seem confused – I seem far too perky and energetic! Those are the days when I smile to myself and give myself an imaginary High-5. Then other days I have a slump and feel sorry for myself, but I've realized that’s OK too and just move on.

I have a new appreciation for life. I make sure I achieve as much as I can, but I’m also not afraid to say ‘No’ if I know something will be too much for me. I relish the days where I have the energy to dance to a song with my boy, and I don’t beat myself up on the days where even washing the pots is exhausting. I focus on the fact that I’m alive, that I’m fighting.

Having Fibro means you’re a fighter. Every single day the effort to get up, smile and go about your daily life is a huge achievement – something only other Fibro-Fighters will understand – so pat yourself on the back!

Fibromyalgia is something I have, its not who I am.

By Katrina Brown.

Kat lives in the UK and is a mother of a 5-year-old comedy genius. A lover of positivity, sarcasm and good spelling. And has a phobia of daddy long legs.

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