Today, May 12th, is Fibromyalgia Awareness day.
Lately things have been particularly hard for me and I’ve been dealing with fibro flares brought on my work stress, and lack of sleep.
What does a flare feel like? Every day I hurt, but a flare feels like I have been run over.
For me, it starts in my neck and shoulders. My neck gets so tight and rigid that it’s hard to turn my head. That migrates down to my shoulders which stiffen up and feel like rocks. The knots I get can be felt by someone else, but it’s too tender to touch. I feel like someone has been hitting me with a bat and expect to see buises that never come.
Then my back, the very center of my back knots up, exactly where I can’t reach it. It feels like bands around my ribcage and makes it hard to breath, it hurts so much. My leg muscles ache and cramp and I can’t take the weight of one of my cats sitting on my lap – it’s too much.
The pain makes it hard to sleep as every postion hurts something. Sleep is one of the things that a fibro person needs most as it’s one of the few ways we can recharge. With no sleep, there is no recharging and fatigue takes over. I’m so tired that the smallest task seems huge. Conversations are hard to follow and it’s difficult for me to find the right words to form a sentence. I can’t remember what someone has just said to me or what I’ve just asked.
It’s especially difficult because I don’t appear to have anything wrong; I look like myself. I’ve dealt with disbelief and dismissal of what I feel. I’ve been told to pay more attention, to stop feeling sorry for myself, to take some Advil.
I would love this to stop, I really would. I would love to not dread having a flare. I’d like to be able to remember comversations and be able to articulate my thoughts. I would love to be able to take an Advil and have it all go away.
I’m so fortunate to have a partner who recognizes that this is a part of me and understands my limits. I’m also incredibly fortunate that my fibro is much better that some people’s and that I am able to leave the house and hold down a job.
Invisible illnesses are still illnesses, and still need compassion and empathy.