On this occasion, I believe the major flare up I am experiencing is down to me. I knew what to do, I had the power to keep it at bay and yet I got lazy and hey presto…. here I am.
I went on holiday a few weeks ago and despite my best efforts, the meditation slipped away with the yoga, my good habits and early morning routine got swallowed up with the fun holiday things and despite my best intentions, the yoga mat stayed for the most part rolled up. I gave myself that one, I was on holiday after all but when I got home, I came down with a very bad case of flu (unheard of for me) which set me back again and then as I recovered, I played catch up at work and then just got tangled in the usual day to day stuff promising myself I would set the alarm for 6am the next morning.
I got that bit no problem, setting the alarm was a doddle, getting up wasn’t so easy. The longer it went on the harder it was to motivate myself to make the move from bed to mat. I went to my usual yoga class which I loved when I was there but the reality was the flare was setting in. The alarm would go off and I would snooze it, not wanting to get up any earlier than I needed to. I was working a full day and then coming home, not full of energy or get up and go but tired, lethargic and just wanting my bed. I did not succumb though, opting for early nights as opposed to crashing out on the couch when I got in from work.
My healthy eating didn’t suffer too much although, I did up give up on the water and I have craved the odd sweet thing, be it chocolate or cake, the piece of fruit just wasn’t cutting it. My much loved and most welcomed massage proved painful and made me realise that despite my best efforts the Fibromyalgia hadn’t gone away, it was just controlled but lurking, ready to strike when I gave it the slightest chance of getting a grip again.
So, all this got me thinking and even though it wasn’t planned, I have kind of become my own experiment.
I have pretty much proven to myself that if I want to feel good, with lots of energy and less aches and pains then I know what to do. I have already found the secret to success for me which is clean eating, no meat, gentle but daily yoga, meditation and my massage therapies. I have not experienced a flare up this bad for a long time and it has shown me just how I don’t want to be.
The pain has been hard to bear given that in recent months my pain had given way to just niggling aches, the lethargy has been overwhelming and it took me back to the very early days before I was diagnosed but more than that, the frustration that I had put myself back to square one was the thing that really got me.
All of my hard work and commitment had disappeared with one holiday and a bout of flu, the feelings of failure were back and I don’t like it – not one bit.
If anything, this has proved to me that when we don’t listen to our body, it tells us what it needs or rather shouts in the case of Fibromyalgia. If we ignore it’s subtle nudges, it normally knocks us down to the point that we struggle to get back up. If we don’t be gentle with ourselves, the tiredness sets in, then we move less. As we move less the stiffness and pain follow, we then get caught up in the vicious cycle of pain and fatigue. Finally, if we don’t push through it, then it takes over and robs us of so much…..sleep, quality of life, laughter and fun. Our get up and go, truly has got up and gone!!
So if you are in the middle of a flare, remember the last time you had one or the next time you get overwhelmed by one, take a moment to stop and look at the reasons which could have contributed to the flare up.
I would say that there will always be a pre-cursor to your symptoms kicking off – stress is a great one (have had a share of that over the past few weeks myself) and I would go as far as to say that potentially we will have brought on the flare ourselves – controversial I know but in all likelihood it is the truth.
Ask yourself did I eat the wrong things that you knew wouldn’t agree with you? Did you overdo the party at the weekend? Did you stay up to watch the late movie on TV last night? Did you sit in a cold house because it is June and you didn’t want to put the heating on? Did you (like me) get lazy and stop moving? Think about it……
I would never, ever suggest that we bring Fibromyalgia on to ourselves, I know better than many that this is not the case but I do wonder if we neglect ourselves, try to be all things to all people, we overdo it and then we suffer. I knew what has been working for me and yet I allowed myself to get overwhelmed by illness and work, now I am paying the price.
The good news is, tomorrow is another day. Another day to listen to what my body is saying, to understand what it needs to function and a day of gentle submission back into the realisation that I have no choice but to move and stretch, to relax, to eat well and to nurture me and my achey body.