This picture is a summary of my present state.
(Forgive any typographical errors below. I am tired.)
There is a reason fibromyalgia is considered an invisible illness. If you were to meet me in my everyday life, more than likely it would not be evident to you that I have an illness. Actually, usually when I feel my worst, I tend to dress my best–lots of colourful pretty dresses–and so it has been for the past two days.
I am in the midst of a flare-up. I cannot say that it was sudden or unexpected or something like that. I’ve been running myself a bit ragged, and having started classes again means that I am outside every single day…which is never a good thing for me given my immune system.
Still, I am far from saddened by this development, because I was already expecting it to happen, which is winning half of the battle. The other half is taking precautions. Sure, you may not be able to stop a flare-up, but you can make an effort to diminish its impact on your life.
So, what do I do when I recognize I am going to have a flare-up?
- Pare back on everything that is unessential – If I don’t have to do it, then it remains on the back-burner until I can.
- Start consuming even more fresh fruits/veggies and water – I try rid myself of anything that may be adding to internal discomfort.
- Put myself on a schedule – Given that fibro fog can be a way of my life, I already know that I am going to be more forgetful and less able to concentrate. So, writing everything down that needs to be done for the day is one way to help me keep on track.
- Disregard my sleeping schedule/ Sleep when possible & necessary – Wait…what? How does that make sense? Well, because I already know that I am heading into a moment of high insomnia, it makes little sense for me to stress about whether or not I am sleeping when I am suppose to be sleeping. To me, there is a lot more stress to be had from worrying about sleeping than simply accepting the fact that I may not sleep. I cut stress wherever I can: internally and externally.
- Walk & stretch/ Generally increase activity level – It may seem counterintuitive. However, walking and stretching (increased activity) helps me to diminish the pain experienced daily.
- Practice Opposite Action— As a dialectical behavior therapy advocate, I use the skills of this approach in my daily life. Opposite Action or Opposite to Emotion Action is exactly what it sounds like…doing the opposite of what you feel. For example, if I were feeling angry, then I would engage in actions that were opposite/opposing anger, such as smiling or watching a comedy. With fibromyalgia, it means that I make an attempt to do exactly what I think/feel I cannot. Writing this post is an example of Opposite Action.
Truly, however, there is no right path to take in dealing with your FMS flare-up.
You have do what works for you and what feels best to you.
Check out this article by FM Net News: “Hurdling the Impact of Painful Flares”
Until Next Time,
ATR Challenge Day 11 – Doing what I can (is what’s right in my life). 🙂