Living with Fibromyalgia

I have fibromyalgia and I can’t do this anymore

First, I’m sure you’re wondering what this “this” is which I can’t handle any longer. Let me put it simply for the world to see. “This” can be anything. Hear me out.

We all have things that we do, things that we have to do and things that we love doing; but fibromyalgia likes to remind us that she’s here and she wants our attention.

She is like a nagging little sister. She won’t leave us alone and our mom makes us take her EVERYWHERE with us. Ugh.

Truth be told, my “this” may not be your “this.”  “This” can literally be any activity to which you are not able to dedicate yourself fully because of pain, stiffness, Fibro Fog, you name it.

Because fibromyalgia holds you back.

(That nasty little sister….)

So what’s my this?

My “this” yesterday was working, as in, having a paid job.  Did I mention that your this can change from day to day? No? Well, now I have.

Oh, and for good measure, I’m going to drop the quotation marks around this for two reasons:

1- it’s really annoying to have to put them around the word “this” every time I want to mention this. So now it will be italicized.

2- giving our this the power of being protected by quotation marks is not going to happen anymore.

Hiding between quotation bodyguards is a cowardly move and we need to expose our this if we want to defeat it!

So anyway, my this yesterday was working. It’s a bit grim and a bit whiny of me to complain having a job. I know. I am aware of my many, many shortcomings, trust me.

The Universe reminds me often enough that I am just a peon and that it’s having a blast pushing me around the game board. I am also aware that I am fortunate to be able to work at all.

Between the uncooperative job market and the inability to hold a steady job, you can bet I’ve had my share of rejection job-wise, and I appreciate the fact that I do have a job.

I am one of the lucky few who has an amazing boss. And I mean, AMAZING. (Hi Jenna!)

I have the opportunity to work two days a week at a local cafe (The Pantry in Winsted, MN – come see us!).

Some weeks go smoothly, and some other weeks, well not so smoothly. My boss is understanding and truly cares about her employees.

Just the other day, I was able to sweep half the dining room and then my body quit on me.

Jenna picked up the broom and finished up my task, not once complaining or shaming me or what not. She is that awesome.

With that said, the customer flow varies from day to day and there is no way to predict how many tables will show up all at once. And yesterday was one of those days when everything was quiet.

You turn around, next you know, you have a full dining room. This is taxing on my body, and when my body quits, my mind isn’t far behind.

Fast forward to this morning. I am at work and everything is going well. No issues, I like the cook I’m working with today. All the regulars are here. Looks like my this won’t be work today.

And there this hits me. I have an appointment with a neurologist tomorrow. It’s 45 miles away and I can’t drive due to that pesky little seizure I had last month.

This gets me thinking about all the things I’ve been unable to do lately. Being independent and driving are often taken for granted, but when that independence is taken away from you, that’s when you realize its importance!

This is a burden I hate bearing. I do not like to ask for help, cause I am always afraid I am imposing on people. I’m not the type to disrupt everyone else’s lives just because of me, me, me, look at me!

I guess my this today will be relying on other people for things as trivial as grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments and picking the kids up from school.

I hate this.

When my this hits me, I am oh-so-tempted to whine and lament myself over my boo-hop sob story.

I’m not ashamed to admit it. And most days, I do wallow in a pool of self-pity and despair, but by golly, I take myself out of that pool as if it were infested with alligators!

Come on now! Get a grip, Me! I don’t want to give in to this and I certainly don’t want this to win!

You’re better than this!

There! That’s the spirit! You are so much better than your this! It’s got nothing on you!

Identifying your this is a the first step you will need to take to defeat it. Again, keep in mind that your this will vary from day to day, and maybe even from hour to hour.

It’s not easy to come to the realization that there is something you just can’t do, simply because Fibromyalgia is in the way.

Some days, I wonder why fibromyalgia is such a soul sucker. It gets deep down in your being and it twists heart and rips to shreds your hopes.

Fibromyalgia is the Big Bad Wolf, and we are the Little Riding Hood. And the wolf may have the upper end at the start of the day, but we all know how it ends: the Little Riding Hood prevails and kicks the wolf’s butt!

Because let’s be honest: if Fibro Warriors were to give up every time we have a bad day… none of us would be standing today!

I have fibromyalgia and I cant do this anymore

Ok, so I know what my this is. How do I move on?

The trick here is not necessary to identify your this, though it will make your life overall easier if you can recognize the issue before it drags you down.

The real trick is to know how to conquer, how to win the fight against this.

There are no magical ways to feel better. I know, shocker. A lot has to do with how you can face adversity.

As a Fibro Warrior, you have had your (un)fair share of hardships. And when everything else seems to be doing great, there is always that one lingering problem.

Since we’ve established that there is no magic wand I can wave about to make you better, the next best thing is for me to tell you what I personally do when a this has me down.

1- You are not a superhero. It’s hard to admit, but it is OK to have moments of weakness. The trick is to not succumb to the weakness.

As long as your defeated feeling is temporary, allowing yourself to lament you once in a while is a good thing. It will make you appreciate the good times even more.

2- Know your enemy. The easier you can identify what brings you down, the more equipped you will be to deal with it.

I know that some triggers or some this are nearly impossible to avoid. But if you know that a particular activity, or time of day, or thought, is bound to bum you out, you can mentally and physically prepare yourself.

Maybe it’s wearing a wrist brace at work, or taking a few minutes to meditate before going into a meeting. You are the only one who truly knows, deep down inside your being, what puts you over the edge.

3- Have a strategy. Just like major cities have escape routes, and just like you should know what to do in case of an emergency, you should have a plan just in case you can’t do this anymore.

A good plan does not need to be elaborate and complex. It can be as simple as breathing exercise, taking a walk around the block or watching funny cat videos on the internet.

4- You are not weak! It will be very tempting once your this hits you to just feel down.  Do not be too hard on yourself.

You are a good person, and bad things sometimes happen to good people.  There is no need for you to feel ashamed, or to feel bad about yourself.

That does not mean that you should weep all day about your condition, of course. But it certainly means that being to hard on yourself will not help anything.

The idea is to feel better, not worse! So take it easy, and focus your energy on overcoming your this rather than spending it on feeling guilty.

5- You got this! You are a rock star, there is no denying your absolute awesomeness! Here is the deal: no matter how much you feel overwhelmed, there is nothing you can’t handle. NOTHING! After all, you are a Fibro Warrior!

But this is not fair…

And I will certainly not try to convince you that this is fair.  Of course, it’s not fair. Get ready for some tough love.  Ready?  OK.  Remember what your mama used to tell you?  Yep. “Life is not fair.”

Well, now that we have re-established some age-old adage, let’s see what we can do to switch things around.

The fact remains that there will always be things in your daily life that will trigger some unpleasant feelings, and you may from time to time think that you have reached the end of your rope.

No matter how cheesy this sounds, you need to remember that there are always better days ahead.

Sure, at first it may not be days, but just hours. And sure, it may take a good long while before you see the bright light at the end of the tunnel.

But you are going in the right direction. After all, the first step to solving a problem is to admit that there is a problem. And since you are reading this, you most likely already know what the problem is.

So grab the bull by the horns (figuratively speaking, unless you are a ranch hand!), and take back control of your life.  Do not allow any type of this to dictate your life.  You are in charge of you. 

No matter what you’re this might be, you are a Fibro Warrior. Nothing will have you down for too long!

Do you know what your this is? How do you deal with your this?  Let us know in the comments!

Until next time, Fellow Fibro Warriors!

About the author

Servanne Edlund

Servanne Edlund

Narcolepsy. Ankylosing spondylitis. Fibromyalgia. The perfect trifecta to sleep through life! As a mom of two teenagers, I need to keep going - so I have found coping mechanisms to overcome the hurdles placed on my path.

3 Comments

  • I can really relate to this article and I like that our various this’s (I know, not a word but my fibro fogged brain couldn’t come up with anything better…lol) are being talked about. I was diagnosed 14 years ago with RA, herniated discs, POTS (actually I was diagnosed with LOTS about 30 years ago when the research into what it was was just starting), and I’ve had classic migraines for 30+ years. Within two years of being diagnosed with RA, I could no longer work as a RN and had to retire from the job I absolutely loved and that was truly where I found my self esteem and my identity. I fell into a deep, deep depression. I had just married the man I had waited 40 years for three years before this and I convinced myself that he would probably leave me….after all, what good am I at this point, and since they were having no luck getting my disease into remission I had no hope that anything was going to get any better. I should add, at this point, that I had been fighting PTSD for thirty years…a result of a marriage filled with emotional, physical, sexual and financial abuse. So you see, between my career and my new marriage, I thought I had the world by the tail. It had taken a very long time to start to find some self esteem again after my first marriage and now it was pretty much gone again! Rational no, but people who survive domestic abuse sometimes aren’t rational! Soon after all of this I was diagnosed with Crohn’s, fibromyalgia (something I knew very little about), spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, and severe major depressive disorder and severe anxiety. I was a mess! Some days I still am! I have spent my entire life building my world, only to be hurt and broken by people or my health. I have pulled myself back up by the boot straps so many times and had everything fall apart again so many times, that I really didn’t know if I could keep fighting. I was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted and having had a history of the suicide attempts in the past, I found myself slipping back into that mind set. My rheumatologist saw how much I was grieving for all that I had lost and found me a female, nurse practitioner who after a career of caring cancer patients found what seemed to be a missing link in the world of psychology/psychiatry. She, along with several colleagues with varying degrees and various specialties, opened a counseling practice devoted entirely to people with chronic illness, chronic pain, and end of life issues. In this group is a couple of NP/counselors, a medical massage specialist, a Raki master, a nutritionist, and a former hospice nurse. These people, collectively, have literally saved me from diving even deeper into depression and have walked with me along the path of trying to accept what has happened, while dealing with the symptoms, pain, and other ongoing and worsening problems that go along with chronic illness/pain. I’m sorry that this got to be so long, but I wanted to share past of my story to show how multi layered everyone’s “this” are and how they can change every day. Heck they can actually change minute to minute some days! It’s been almost 15 years since I started on this chronic illness pathway. I’m happy to announce that I’m still married to this wonderful man, who even tho he’s not real good with words, continues to show me every day that I am still important to him and still the only women he wants….he says, “… even if you’re broken you are still the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with.” Together we have seen all five of our children graduate college, get married, build careers, and give us nine (and counting) beautiful grandbabies. Without these people working so hard to keep pulling me thru, I might not still be here fighting my “this’s”. Hang in there everyone, even in the dark moments there’s things to look forward to in the future!

  • My daily plan Hopefully are the 3 P’s Plan, Pace, Prioritize. I try to stay with these and more often than not it helps me get from one day to the next. Although I get extremely depressed Even though I’m on medicine for it. I try not to let myself go too far down the hole so it’s not so hard to climb back up. Thanks 🙏🏻 and have a good day

  • I have fibromyalgia I think I have had this for a long time but never new what it was until it got so bad I went to my Dr and he sent me to see someone at our hospital and it cam back fibromyalgia so I am trying to find out as much as I can

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