Real Life

Coping with Fibromyalgia and kids

Date: May 11, 2013 Author: admin Categories: Real Life 3

 

I would like to say a big thank you to our guest blogger Kath who talks openly about coping with Fibromyalgia and bringing up a family.

 

As it is International Fibromyalgia Awareness Day today (12th May), I have been asked to write about my experience of this difficult syndrome.  Briefly, Fibromyalgia can include many different symptoms at different levels but predominantly it means constant fatigue, painful muscles, tender points on the body (which helps with the diagnosis of this disease), headaches, a flu-like feeling, dizziness, ‘brain fog’ and depression (which is understandable when you feel ill so much!)  The symptoms can be triggered by stress, physical and mental trauma, viral infection and so on.  Changes in the body’s chemistry have been found and research is continuing.  At present there is no cure.

Around twenty years ago, when I began to find physical work and exercise really difficult, Fibromyalgia was never heard of.  I had three sons and a husband working from home.  I can remember feelings of exhaustion and being overwhelmed with keeping up with housework, shopping, cooking, looking after the boys and other members of my family.  I couldn’t understand what was wrong with me and I often felt that I was failing in my life.  I was often so tired that I would be reduced to tears and often had to keep lying down.  Doctors could find nothing wrong with me and over the years I was occasionally put on antidepressants which quite often made me feel numb and tired.

About ten years ago, I started to get burning pains in my arms when carrying things, stabbing pains in various muscles and spells of tendonitis in my shoulder and elbows.   I found that if I did any unusual exercise, I would strain muscles easily.  Turning in bed was even uncomfortable.  I felt even more fragile.  As years have gone on I now have muscle discomfort and additionally ‘nerve’ pain, i.e. tingling, drawing and an unpleasant oversensitivity all over my body.

America seemed to understand this condition before the UK.  Many doctors here believed it to be ‘all in the mind’.  Not helpful, but no doubt the negative feelings brought on by the symptoms probably do exacerbate the problem.  Thankfully, the condition is now recognised, although not fully understood.

Managing Fibromyalgia usually means finding a sympathetic Doctor; some medications can help with pain and better sleep.  Gentle exercise, such as swimming and stretching can help, I found Stott Pilates especially helpful.  Hot baths and showers are soothing.  Different relaxation methods can be helpful, i.e. meditation, self hypnosis, music, etc.  Good nutrition goes without saying.  More importantly is pacing one self, not easy when you are a mum, and getting help if at all possible.  It is not easy letting go of your pride and allowing others to help you around the house, garden, etc.  If at the end of the day you are unable to help anybody because you are so spent then you owe it to yourself and others to be brave and ask for help and that includes the kids!  On good days don’t overdo it or you will put yourself back on subsequent days.  Resting between activities is also crucial.  Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help and positive thinking strategies, and a treat or two doesn’t go amiss!  In other words be kind to yourself!

There are many good websites and various books on Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME.  The more information you can find, the more tools you will have to cope with this syndrome, or be in a position to support another who has the condition.  Let’s hope a cure will be found before too long.

 

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3 Comments: "Coping with Fibromyalgia and kids"

  1. Published by: acne Date: May 15, 2013

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  2. Published by: My Homepage Date: July 15, 2013

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  3. Published by: Anonymous Date: July 31, 2013

    Hmm, I never thought about it that way. I do see your point and I think many will agree.