Today I am exhausted. Physically. I find fatigue gets me in several ways. Mental, emotional, physical or sometimes all of the afore mentioned. It comes for no reason at all, can be delayed and related to a busy day or stressful time, or comes at the end of a busy or stressful period of time (Day,week etc).
Yesterday I had to take my son to the Orthodontist in Doncaster. Usually that wouldn't be a problem for most people but for me it is a bit of an ordeal. I worry about driving in case I get a dizzy spell or have a sudden flare up (both of which have happened several times and can be very frightening), however this last few months I have decided not to let anxiety of the 'what iff's' stop me living a normal as possible life and so I am facing my fears. In the morning I had walked the dog...not far but she was off the lead so I was out and she had a run. Then came home and did a bit of writing before going to collect Ben (now known as LB since we bought him a title for Christmas) and headed up to Donny. It was lunch time and Ben was starving. He asked for pizza hut and although I just wanted to get to his appointment and leave I went...because I can't let my issues rule all of our lives...It was actually really lovely. We had the buffet and I'm sure LB scoffed 10 slices of pizza as well as two plates of salad and a load of cuscus. It was lovely to treat him. Especially as he was going for impressions and photo's/xrays for a brace. He may not be able to eat pizza for a while and to be perfectly honest it was just amazing to be out and independent but I was a little tense I have to say. The meal and appointment went really well and we got home safely. I felt elated that I had done it and LB was really proud of me too. I collected the other boys from school shortly after we got back and noticed my neck was getting really sore. By tea time I was totally exhausted and my arms and legs were so weak I felt as though I had no control over them. I had a bath in sea salts and clary sage and tried to relax but in actual fact the only way you can deal with that sort of fatigue is to go to bed and rest. I often say when I am that fatigued I am too tired to sleep so I watch movies, turn my Reiki on and chill until I can be rested enough to sleep.
Eventually I did actually sleep quite well for about 6.5 hours which was great but today...although I am up and dressed (because I had to get the boys to school), I am so lethargic and my muscles are still so fatigued I can barely raise my arms. The mental tiredness doesn't seem to be as bad as usual tho so that's a plus point and I am anxious to a point (because it is such an unpleasant feeling) but not to the stomach churning, head spinning, body shaking levels it used to reduce me too. I am quite thrilled that I am coping at home on my own and feeling ok about it all. I guess you just learn to get used to it. It's horrid and debilitating and I will go and sleep for a few hours after writing this blog so I am able to collect the boys this afternoon but learning that this is a condition and comes hand in hand with fibromyalgia makes it easier to cope with I say easier we don't have a choice, you either learn to live with it or you don't but either way you live with it regardless!
At the end of last year I set up a fibromyalgia face book group called fibromyalgia-supporting each other. We now have 70 members and it's been such a God send for me...and I am sure many of the group members too...simply because I can now talk about how I feel openly, with people who understand and discuss my fears and anxieties. I have clarification that I am not the only one who goes through this and that removes some of the fear. I have made new friends and I no longer feel lonely which has reduced the depression side of it immensley. It's still frustrating and I have to push myself most days to do things and remind myself to do fun things for me and my family or to stay on touch with friends but it is hard. I was supposed to see a friend today and we were both really looking forward to it but I just couldn't make it. I feel awful about letting her down. I know she understands...not least because she suffers too, but for me that's more reason to go. She needs me as much as I need her but today we will have to make do with the internet because neither one of us is able to drive or has the energy to spend time in company. My friends who don't have fibro have full time jobs so I don't get to see any of them as much as I would like to but with the joy of modern age we text, message and Skype so at least I have contact with the outside world.
I felt for a long time that it was lazy having days like these, especially when you get several of them together. Having a family to look after, a house to run, a job (although very part time) as well as all the things I want to do it's not surprising I sometimes suffer with depression. However I am viewing the whole thing much more positively these days. I love to write and days like these give me the perfect opportunity to write or think of ideas for stories, blogs etc. The weather is dreadful today. It's raining so hard and it's dark and grey so I have the perfect excuse to stay in doors and watch T.V, crochet and write. I no longer feel guilty about not being as 'able' as I used to be or even as able as the people around me because I'm not who I used to be. In many ways I am vastly improved because I take nothing for granted anymore. . I'm not like my neighbours or friends. I accept I can't do a full time job at the moment but that's not a failure on my part. This is a serious and debilitating condition and actually I do a heck of a lot of things under the circumstances. Today I have less spoons because yesterday I used more than my allocated 12 so instead of feeling spry for myself I am finding activities that take less spoons and I am eated that I managed to drive to Doncaster, have lunch with my son and do a very normal thing...take him to an appointment. If that means I am shattered today then there is always tomorrow and if I rest and am sensible then tomorrow or the day after I should feel so much better because I will have my full allocation of spoons back :) Infact tomorrow I am off for a lovely back massage because it relaxes me mentally as well as physically and after a good massage I usually feel better as a whole. Its all about learning to get a balance. Not focusing on what you can't do or what you used to be able to do but being appreciative of what you can do, when you can do them.
It is difficult for family and friends to understand. As I've said so many times before I have some amazing friends and really supportive family but it's taken a while for all of us to come to the point we are at now. I know many of my group say their friends and family don't understand and don't support them or think it's all in their heads but part of me wonders if their support circle really does think like this or if some of that comes from what they feel psychologically about the condition. If you don't understand something yourself fully or you feel guilty for having a condition then you can be guilty of projecting your feelings and fears on to those around you. I know I have don't this and I see it daily with others in the group. Communication needs to be the top priority in any relationship. There is a difference in telling someone exactly how you feel and explaining how scary and complicated it is or that you don't understand it fully yourself and therefore can't explain it to those around you but that you still need their support. I know I am a talker and always thought I explained how I felt and what I went through but I have been told by those around me...including my husband...that until they read my blog they didn't really get it. Some people see talking about their health, feelings and emotions as moaning or being negative but actually the negativity comes from how you word things or the guilt you attach onto speaking about it. Being honest and factual is the best way to get those around you to understand you. My husband is an absolute brick and I couldn't get through any of this without him but it hasn't always been like that. He has had to learn as much as I have and sometimes I feel he understands and accepts more than I do now. Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, IBS, cluster headaches/migraine, arthritis, MS, ME etc are all out in the media more now because of the internet and social media's so there shouldn't be a stigma anymore but their is. Hopefully in time this will be abolished. I know employers are more understanding of these conditions now and I am amazed at how many people I know have the condition's but don't want to talk about it or feel they can't. That in itself is exhausting
but we shouldn't have to hide away. True strength comes from accepting who you are right now. Not who you were, who you want to be or who others expect you to be but how YOU are right now, this very second. Embrace that and the world suddenly becomes a much brighter and more positive place to be. There's always tomorrow
Hi my Name is Philippa Woodsford and I am a Holistic therapist, Reiki Master Teacher and Hypnotherapist. I suffer with anxiety and depression due to a condition called fibromyalgia which I believe is linked with an auto immune disease I was diagnosed with at just 17. My blog is written for me as a sort of journal but also in the hope it may bring hope and healing to others suffering with similar issues on a daily basis. Enjoy