1) Accept Sensory Overload is a real thing.
Maybe make cards to explain it to other people!
Sometimes our brains take in so much information, and Fibromyalgia turns us into this huge open nerve. All the information batters us, over and over until we feel frazzled and our brain torn open…
When this happens… pushing through it isn’t the answer as it will just hurt more. You need to find a quiet room, dark or low lighting. My partner made me a silk eye cover and wow, it’s amazing.
So when you overload, excuse yourself, go somewhere dark and quiet, with a soft blanket, a nice relaxing drink like hot chocolate. Just take an hour for you.
2) Accept that Fibro can build up.
Just like a system that builds up grime each day, imagine we are dishwashers. They work well time and time again, then it works just slightly… not as well. Not drastically, just a tiny bit, then it builds up, and after a while it doesn’t clean anything. Do you have to stop and clean it, take out bits covered in limescale or something… this might be obvious that I’ve never owned a dishwasher but I know this happens.
It happens with us too. We do the same things, we push ourselves a little bit each day, over and over… it builds up. Till we have to push even harder for that little push.
So just stop. Take a day. Put it on a calendar so you can be sure this day is clear. Give yourself a reboot. Curl up on the sofa and read, have a bubble bath with mountains of bubbles, snuggle a partner or pet… or both! Colour a book… whatever you need to reboot.
Make sure it’s what you need. People are always telling me to meditate but that doesn’t work for me, meditation stresses me out! So make sure your reboot is calibrated for you!
3) Accept that sadly, not all doctors will believe you.
We know that Fibromyalgia is real. But even now some doctors still do not think it is a real condition. I don’t know why they still have this outdated view, but sadly some of them do.
This does not mean you are a faker, it means your doctor is wrong and maybe that you need the long arduous journey of finding a new GP.
Fibromyalgia is very real, we can feel it in every inch of our bodies, it stretches into bits of our lives that some doctors can’t possibly ever imagine!
4) Accept that not everyone experiences Fibromyalgia in the same way.
I think this is why doctors have a problem with Fibromyalgia. Looking at a list of all the possible symptoms and signs of Fibromyalgia… it’s huge and sometimes I feel like I’m checking things off a list… like I’m separate from my body, walking around with a clipboard. ‘Hmm, yes, skin randomly goes red for no reason… Heat causes hot flashes… cold makes the knees creak… Tick, Tick, Tick… ‘
Not all of my ticks will match up perfectly with yours. Not all of your ticks will match up perfectly with another Fibromite. This doesn’t mean all of us don’t have Fibromyalgia, it means that Fibromyalgia is huge.
However finding other people with Fibromyalgia can be incredibly uplifting! Some weird symptom that you’ve had for years, and you never knew if it was a ‘Fibro-Thing’… They have it to! I didn’t know how validating just having someone say ‘Wow! Me too!’ could be.
5) Accept that flares happen. It isn’t your fault.
Sometimes a flare will come out of nowhere and completely 100% blindside you. Sometimes, you just know… you know it’s coming and you can trace it back to a particular event.
Either way, it isn’t your fault. If you didn’t an extra 10 minutes in the garden and forgot to wear a hat, this is a major no-no for me. If my ears get cold, the migraine-monster will rise up from the depth and bite my head. I’ve known this trigger since I was 15 years old. Every time I forget to put a hat on, feel the ear go cold…
I’ll spend longer beating myself up than the migraine itself. My partners told me that it isn’t my fault. I argued it, I know the trigger, I know what happens if forget the hat.
But they have a point. It isn’t my fault that whatever trick of my body’s physiology causes crazy pain when my ears get cold. Now they don’t mean that I should go galavanting off outside in the cold with nothing in my ears, but, when I forget… and I WILL forget (Fibro-fog, we know it all to well.), blaming myself isn’t going to make me feel better.
* * Extra, bonus point for 2017 * *
* Love yourself. * Care for yourself. * Don’t beat yourself up. * You didn’t ask for the Fibro-life, the Fibro-life chose you, and it isn’t your fault. *