The results are in. These are the top 10 worst things about fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia has classic symptoms of widespread muscle pain and extreme fatigue. A combination of exercise, managing stress, medication, and a healthy lifestyle might ease your symptoms, but there is no cure and the causes are unknown.
Fibromyalgia feels like osteoarthritis, bursitis, and tendinitis, but the pain is not in one specific area; it is all over your body. You can have bloating, queasiness, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. You may experience headaches, dry mouth, eyes, and nose, sensitivity to cold, light, sounds, or heat, and you may pee more often than usual. You can have numbness in your face, hands, legs, feet, or arms, or you there may be tingling in these areas.
Depending on symptoms, doctors may prescribe you pain relievers, muscles relaxers, antidepressants or drugs that help you get to sleep. The wide range of physical symptoms like pain fatigue and brain fog are challenging to manage no matter what medication your doctor has prescribed for you. These symptoms can be debilitating, but fibro affects much more than your body. It has an impact on your mental health, lifestyle, sense of identity, and relationships. Mental problems are just as severe as the physical symptoms.
10 Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
1. Irregular Sleep Patterns
Insomnia and fatigue are symptoms of fibromyalgia. You are fatigued all day long, and when bedtime comes, you are wide awake. Naps don’t help much since no amount of sleep makes the fatigue go away.
Some patients use sleep meds, and others use meditation, headspace apps, music, soft lights, and others avoid caffeine after 8 pm.
You feel guilty for not being social or doing chores. You don’t have the energy to fix dinner and guilt for not being able to enjoy a night out. It’s hard to get through guilt but remember that it’s not your fault. You struggle, and your struggles are harder for you than for others, but that doesn’t mean you are a failure. Your condition helps you understand when others feel down and sick and when life doesn’t make sense to them.
It’s okay that you don’t realize that you can’t do everything. Don’t hate yourself and feel guilty. Fibromyalgia is a real condition, and the only thing you can change is your attitude.
3. Avoid negative self-talk
Don’t continually tell yourself you are not worth the effort. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and when you need to ask for help, ask. Don’t only think about the pain in your life. You can control your own happiness and enjoy life despite your pain.
It’s challenging to live a “normal” life, and you just don’t feel like fighting anymore. People tend to stay away from you since they don’t understand and you “don’t look sick.” You just want to sit down and sob because no one understands.
5. Anxiety and depression
It is natural to feel anxious and depressed when you hurt. After a while, the hurting just gets to you. When you begin to feel better, you start a vicious circle of depression and pain thinking that any minute the pain and fatigue will hit.Focus on the good going on in your life rather than worrying about the pain that may come.
When you are physically sick and hurt, it’s normal to be depressed. You are not alone with your depression, and you are not to blame. Like symptoms of other chronic illness, there are steps you can take to make things better. Medications can help. Therapists can give you steps to work through your depression. Friends and support systems can be with you. Reach out and get the help you need.
Don’t be anxious or hesitant to reach out to mental health professionals for help. Turn to those who love and appreciate you. Know you deserve happiness. Acknowledge when things are dark and depressing and call your support system and mental health professionals when these dark feelings come into your mind.
6. Not Being Able to Play with Your Kids
You have no energy and are in constant pain. Your kids look at you and know you will not be able to play with them.
Moms will do just about anything to protect their children from emotional and physical pain, but when you are not with them and can’t be active with them. It almost feels like you are abandoning them.
Spend your energy “pennies” wisely. Split up chores and activities so you can spend time going places and playing with your kids.
7. Feeling Like a Burden
One lady’s husband left her because he thought she was too much to care for – he was even a nurse. Now, she feels like a burden to everyone and doesn’t offer much value to anyone. It is depressing to feel like you don’t exist, but the fear of being a burden is real.
Think about this: Your illness is a challenge and it is not just yours. You cannot carry the burden of fibromyalgia pain and fatigue alone. You’re a friend, family member, fighter, warrior and a person. You have a support system that will help you carry this illness. Ask for help. There are those who will stick around and help share your illness. People were not made to walk alone.
8. Isolation and loneliness
Many women with fibromyalgia feel lonely. They can’t work a regular job, go out with friends and often shut themselves away from family. Yes, some friends move forward without you, but there are real friends who will stay with you.
Accept you have a chronic illness. When the emotions of loneliness and feeling sorry for yourself creep into your mind, you need to remind yourself that fibromyalgia is a part of your life. You are not as alone as you feel. Control your loneliness by knowing there are friends out there who will be with you. Avoid groups who focus only on what you can’t do. Find a group of people who will encourage you in what you can do.
9. Frustration and Anger
It is natural to be angry and frustrated with the buildup of pain, emotions, loneliness, and depression. Getting mad at yourself and the disease is not helpful. You are fighting your mind and body and ignoring the need to stop or slow down or the need to take care of yourself.
Think of it this way, if you had a chronically ill friend or a family member around you, would you be constantly angry with them? Pay more attention to who you are and respond positively. Don’t be angry at something that you can control. Think of your body as a friend and not your enemy.
10. Judgment and Lack of Understanding from Loved Ones
Feeling everyone is judging you is a complain many people with fibromyalgia have. Loved ones don’t understand, and they don’t try to understand the lifestyle changes you need to make when you live with chronic pain and fatigue. Discuss your condition with your loved ones and friends. Let them know that you are not asking for help or taking it easy out of laziness, but you honestly need help and care.
Prepare for a bad day. Write down your options for coping with your pain and fatigue. Keep your list in sight so you can review it when you feel a flare-up starting. Different coping mechanisms work at one time and maybe not another but keep trying. Have a variety of options you can do when you are having a flare-up.
As hard as it is, stay positive and be thankful for what you do have. Ask for help; don’t suffer alone.