Fibromyalgia and Fear. You would be forgiven for thinking that these are two words which belong together. Well not in my world!!
For those of you recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia or those who may have an inkling that perhaps you are showing symptoms of having the condition, it is easy to allow some fear to creep in. When words like “incurable”, “chronic” and “heightened pain responses” are used it is understandable that an element of fear will kick in and your outlook is considered gloomy.
My symptoms first started appearing in 1989, back in the day when the condition was referred to as “yuppy flu”. Doctors really didn’t have much of an idea about what was happening. After endless tests which always came back clear, I was worried that maybe I was imagining all of the fatigue and pain. A real fear for my sanity crept in. This carried on until I finally got my diagnosis.
In 2000, my doctor uttered the words Fibromyalgia ~ I broke down and cried.
Not because I was scared or shocked, the reality being I was relieved. I was right all along, there had been something wrong with me and now they knew what it was, I could be cured…
Oh, how wrong I was. I asked the doctor excitedly, what was the cure? He then told me there wasn’t one and the fear crept in again.
Since 1989, fear has tried to overtake me many times. My condition has threatened to overwhelm me but it has never quite succeeded because I was determined that for as long as I could, I was not going to allow the fear of Fibromyalgia get the better of me.
Each new day gave me an opportunity to keep on keeping on. My attitude has always been to push on through whatever the condition could throw at me. There have been times when it has knocked me down but I never allowed the fear to keep me there. I was more afraid of not being able to enjoy my family and my life, to not be able to hold down a job and becoming a burden both financially and physically.
I didn’t have a crystal ball and could not see into the future. I did not know what Fibromyalgia would take from me and when it would take it, so I tried to get through each day the only way I knew how – which was to get up and getting going.
Fibromyalgia is not the robber it is made out to be.
If I had listened to my GP when I got my diagnosis, then for sure I would not be functioning the way I do now. My life would have consisted of anti-depressants and strong painkillers which ultimately would have stopped working and having to be replaced by stronger medication. Most likely I would have ended up in the wheelchair that he promised me further down the line and I would not have been able to hold down a full time job.
For some, I know that this condition can bring with it additional health issues which means some people struggle massively with their Fibromyalgia. But I would say to those people and all of the newly diagnosed sufferers, don’t be afraid to push a little. Life is for living and making wonderful memories. Even with a chronic condition, it is possible to have a positive mind set that speaks to our body and says “I can do this”.
I can get out of bed today, I can have friends over for dinner, I can attend that wedding, I can make that trip for a few days holiday, I can do some gentle exercise, I can make healthy changes to my diet, I can take some quiet time to just be. I know some of you are reading this and saying I would flare – well yes, so do I but I try to compensate and be gentle with myself for a few days after doing something which exerts me. I almost build it into my schedule. I have a late night, I follow it up with 2 early nights to try and rest my body.
Feel the fear and do it anyway.
We have all heard that saying, and I believe that fear could be the thing that cripples us long before the Fibromyalgia. It is said that our deepest fears rarely manifest. If I could offer you one piece of advice that I know to be true for me it would be to “do it anyway”. Don’t allow the fear of what may or may not happen hold you back from living your life. Don’t let the expectation of what you should be going through as a Fibromyalgia sufferer stop you from creating special times and memories. Your body may surprise you and give you an easy ride – you won’t know until you try.
As Richard Branson said “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and falling over”.
Baby steps they may be but they are still steps in the right direction.
I heard a poem today which inspired me to write this piece. it is by Jeff Foster and is called Nothing to Fear.
99.99999% of your fears live only in your imagination, in anticipation and in memory.
Even if the worst happens, you’ll find yourself dealing with it in the moment, responding from a place of presence.
You don’t have to deal with it now, you’ll handle it then.
And who knows: The “worst” thing may turn out to be your greatest teacher, your most profound call to awakening, an invitation to the kind of courage of which you never thought yourself capable.
Fear isn’t your enemy, but a signpost ~ breathe into the moment.
Wow!!! I am feeling so inspired by this piece! I love your attitude and honesty here And I’ve really had my eyes opened about Fibro because of you. Its inspiring to see you are living life to the fullest and have not let your illness consume you! I’m glad for that!!
I love that you mentioned dealing the with fear, its something everyone deals with for different reasons and I think we can all take something from this article, Fibro sufferers or not.
Thanks so much for sharing your heart xx
Thank you so much Kelly for your lovely comment, it means a lot. I agree, fear affects us all in varying degrees and it is what we do with it that counts.
You have such a great attitude. Thank you for being so open and honest xx
Thank you Rachel, much appreciated x
Omg .. this broke my heart & inspired me at the same time. I am in awh of you and you journey! Thank you for sharing
Thank you so much for your lovely comment, it moved me to tears. My passion is to reach out and share my story in the hope that it can help somebody else. I will always share what is on my heart and hopefully it finds the people who need to read it -Fibro sufferers or not.
Chronic Illness are so difficult to live with, the fear of the consequences is actually even more limiting on your quality of life its a self perpetuating cycle of fear. Great post.
Thank you for stopping by Gabrielle and leaving your comment.
I’ve your writing but I think that you really put it out there that if you push through your fear you can do anything like a late with two early nights but that isn’t always the case for some and it doesn’t mean what you had categorized it into. Fear is not always the cause of someone being bed ridden. No Fear and Mind Over Matter are totally my daily reminders. I would say thay I always have pushed through fear as I.oove the challenge, the energy you get from it but that doesn’t mean that I won’t be bedridden. Fybro can put you down and out and pushing through fear and or substituting a couple early nights for a late night isn’t at all as simple and easy as.I find you have made it seem. I love your writing so don’t get me wrong there but I also found it insulting because you make the point of being positive, pushing through fear and you will work full time , dinner parties with friends etc and that’s not reality for some and I speak from personal experience. I face and push through fear anytime I am faced with it. I substitute bedtime for a late night and I watch my diet and have gone the holistic way ands much as possible. I am a positive upbeat person most of the time and I have Fybro, fybro isn’t me. All that being said reading this post is insulting because by what your sharing than I must not be facing fear. There are times many terms in the year that I am bedridden and a couple early nights after a late night would definitely in most cases not work for me and I would be or my body would be in total chaos. I just find your article here insulting and saying that if you have fybro there is no reason to not be able to work full time or be bedridden as all you need is positivity and face your Fear. I have zero fear around fybro. I worked full time for my entire career and I am not able to work full time due to my flare ups being so severe I used my teeth to get my babies diaper off at times. I found it quiet distasteful the way you put it and I was looking forward to the article as I do agree about facing fear head on and being positive however even those don’t always or even half the time conquer fybro. I’m so glad that it worked for you. That is great. I j7st wish that the wording had been not so insulting to the people who are positive and face fears leaving the feeling well are obviously just not doing it right cause if we were we would be working furtive having dinner partied and going to bed a couple nights earlier for a late night.
Thank you for your message and firstly, I would just like to sincerely apologise for any offence that I have caused, it absolutely was not my intention. I would NEVER deliberately belittle anybody’s experience with Fibromyalgia or any other chronic condition. This blog is very much about my journey with Fibromyalgia and what has worked for me. I am totally appreciative of the fact that there will be other sufferers who struggle much more than I do and in all likelihood, I suffer more than some others but I can only share what I have found to work for me. I would never generalise and say that my approach works for everybody as I know that it will not. When I talked about having a late night and then compensating with early nights, again this is what works for me, I was not suggesting this would work for everybody. Nowhere in the article did I say that there is no reason why Fibro sufferers can not hold down a full time job, again I was talking about me personally and what I felt would have been the impact for me had I gone down the route of strong medication. In fact my GP told me just a couple of years ago that had I have gone down that route, I absolutely would not be functioning today the way I do.
In conclusion, I am sorry that I offended you or anybody else reading this post but as I say, this is my personal journey that I am sharing, in the hope that I can help somebody else a long the way. This post was inspired by the fact that this week I managed my first yoga class in 8 months as I am still suffering the effects of a car accident, which has meant I have been off work since July. I was nervous and scared about going to the class even though it was specifically for injured people and those suffering chronic conditions, I was scared that I would not be able to do it. But I went, I pushed through that fear and thankfully I got through the class and felt better for it. There is no right or wrong way with Fibromyalgia, only what works for any individual. I opted to share my story in the hope that I could help even just one person on their Fibro journey.
Sending you my best wishes and again thank you for taking the time to comment.
Thank you for being such a strong advocate for people living with Fibromyalgia. I know so little about this condition but am glad to know you so that I can become an advocate too!
Hey Hayley, thank you for your lovely comment