I wake up every morning in pain. However, today’s pain seemed to be especially bad; probably because of the cold front that came through and the fact that I dared to work in my garden pulling weeds the day before. My fingers were stuck in a curled position that made turning off my alarm an interesting experience. In bracing for getting up, I took in a deep breath, and quickly regretted it as my chest muscles decided to protest the extensive quantity air in my lungs.
I knew from that point on, it was going to be a bad pain day.
After mentally cheering myself on to put my feet on the floor and stand, I finally was able to feel some of that pain subside as I headed for the bathroom to wash up. I remember being grateful that I had no face-to-face meetings scheduled for the day, so that meant comfortable clothing and no makeup would be acceptable. Running a brush through my hair as many times as I could withstand the pain from holding my arm up above my shoulder completed my fashion choices for the day,
Work and movement was at a bare minimum today. And the same rest-as-much-as-possible schedule will probably be the theme for the next day or two while I figure out what crime I have committed against my muscles for them to behave this way. I must have done something horrible, because even though I did the best I could to calm this flare down, pain levels have escalated to the point where Im uncertain if I will get a decent sleep tonight.
If it sounds like I’m whining, I’m not. If you read this and think I’m simply trying to get attention, I can assure you that isn’t the case, either. What I am trying to say is that fibromyalgia is a beast that no one but the sufferer truly understands. This beast not only screws with every system in your body, but it also exacerbates any condition that you ever suffered. Pull a muscle? Fibromyalgia will include lots of extra pain along with that muscle’s recovery. Attempt to do something out of your normal routine? There’s a flare for that too. Hell, I’ve had flareups of pain from a hard sneeze before.
The most serious, most important point I’m trying to make here is that someone diagnosed with fibromyalgia will always be in some sort of pain. And I mean ALWAYS. That pain will alway try to break down your spirit, your will, and your self worth very quickly. And those breakdowns happen quickly, especially when that pain impedes day to day tasks, like it did today for me. Listen – this pain is real, and the pain can be very dangerous to those of us with histories of anxiety and depression.
Tonight, I’m very lucky to know I have a support network that I can lean on (and I just did). But there are quite a few people out there that may not have that network. Instead, they may have people around them that don’t think they have the disease, are faking it, or are just thinking that they are blowing their pain out of proportion. Trust me, they aren’t.
There is a reason why there is a high rate of suicide within groups of people with fibromyalgia. I will say it from experience. This pain CAN get to be too much, and when that happens, there is no way out from thinking things are so bad that you would do anything to just end the pain. Trust me on this one; It’s very, very hard to stop yourself from thinking that way when every shallow breath you dare to take makes your ribs feel like they are on fire..
So just do me a favor. If you know someone with fibromyalgia, check on them a little more often. If they start speaking to you about their pain, hold space for them. And by holding space, I don’t mean to try to explain how your pain is just as extreme as theirs. Just listen to them. Help them feel heard and understood. Let them know that you recognize the severity of the pain and of the situation they are in. Maybe even help to get them comfortable by bringing them food or getting them to a place where they can rest. These can be truly lifesavers to someone with fibromyalgia.
Tonight, with the prayers and thoughts of my support network, I will rest with my pillows and blankets I crocheted just for this particular situation. I recognize that my spirit is starting to bend from the weight of this pain, so I’ve called in extra support, and I’m going to do all I can tonight to feel better.
But regardless of how much I hurt, I wanted to speak these truths about the pain. Not just for me, to hold space for myself, but for others who have friends and family who don’t really understand what its like to have fibromyalgia. And if this post reaches one person and makes them think about this disease in a new light, well, it will be worth the pain on my arms, hands and fingers to type it out.
Thanks for reading this far. Now go hold space for a friend with a chronic illness.