Those of us that have fibromyalgia have some major hurdles to overcome and depression, anxiety and feelings of hopelessness are common. Fibromyalgia pain is a powerful force and the exhaustion that accompanies the pain only makes it more difficult to manage the pain. I talk with so many fibromyalgia sufferers that are taking a number of strong analgesics with little to no pain relief. In addition, it is imperative to monitor activity level because too much activity causes fibromyalgia symptoms to flair. And it is difficult to determine just how much activity is okay and when the line is crossed, which leads to feelings of frustration and discouragement. It is an understatement to say these two fibromyalgia symptoms impair quality of life.
So how do we overcome the fibromyalgia hurdles and improve quality of life? The answer to this question is critical for all of us. When I first started this blog I wrote about being the same person I have always been in spite of having an injury and becoming ill with CFS and then fibromyalgia. I believe that we must incorporate all facets of ourselves to be a whole human being. Our lives are a journey that lies on a continuum and as we age we wear many battle scars. Fibromyalgia is just another chapter of our lives. So we must know that every day we get out of bed is a good one and we know we will experience pain, fatigue and some degree of misery. We just don't know how much. I don't know about you, but every morning I do an inventory of how I am feeling. In one way that gives me an idea about the level of self care I must attend to that day, but on the other hand this also can be self defeating. When we put our pain, fatigue and misery to the forefront, it becomes the focus of our day. When I first became ill I couldn't stop working or I would have lost my home and everything I owned. The thought I had was "I better work at a job that is really interesting so I can overcome the pain, fatigue and multitude of other symptoms I am suffering". I was absolutely right about that. Even though I am now retired that premise still works for me. By putting my interests before the pain, fatigue and misery I am able to find more joy in my day and improve my feelings of hope for the future. I find joy in simple things and I am easily entertained so that certainly helps! I build adequate rest periods into my day and I pay attention to how I am feeling and adjust my activity accordingly, but I don't make this the focal point of my day. This is a strategy that I practice mindfully in addition to taking medications that help me sleep, ease some pain, and improve feelings of depression, and utilizing the alternative therapies that are beneficial such as gentle yoga. It is important to attend to all your needs, but be aware of which needs are the focus of your day and which ones are placed more in the background.