If you live with a condition like Fibromyalgia you may well have three types of day. The worst ones when you have a symptom flare-up. The best ones where your symptoms are as insignificant as they ever are. Finally, in-between days.
My early days of Fibro
When I was first learning to live with Fibromyalgia I often found myself bouncing between downward spirals. In effect, I would have a good day and try to do all the things I had been feeling guilty about not doing. This level of overdoing things would then trigger a flare-up. As soon as I recovered from the flare-up and seemed to be doing well I would again try and do all the things… then rinse and repeat.
It was whilst I was trying to figure out what kept going wrong that I learnt the importance of pacing yourself. Every time I did too much I would be causing the next flare-up. Now, this is perfectly obvious, but in the very early days of living with a chronic illness, I could be forgiven for simply not having a clue about these things.
The other lesson I needed to learn was to remove guilt. I did not ask to have Fibromyalgia and I did nothing to cause it. Because externally there is nothing to indicate that I have a chronic illness it was so easy to judge myself. Let me tell you this, there will be enough people in society (including a percentage of ill-informed medical professionals) who will judge you. You need to become your own best advocate and supporter.
The way I overcame guilt was to put myself in someone else’s shoes. If somebody had an accident and landed themselves in a wheelchair would I expect the same from them? Of course not. Well I may not have had an accident and I don’t (yet, thank goodness) need to use a wheelchair. But I have had a major change in how my body feels and also how it responds to outside stimulus. I needed to give myself the same compassion as I would give to others. Joining a spoonie virtual community is also an excellent idea. I can recommend the Fibro Connect group on Facebook.
I’m pacing myself now
Since I have learnt all of this I now aim to be in the in-between state, which I refer to as recovery. You could also just call it pacing myself. When I have one of those miracle good days I understand not to abuse it and overdo anything. By playing it down I may be able to fend off a flare-up or recover from it far easier when it happens because let’s face it, there are many triggers like the weather that is completely out of our control.
So, compared to how I have been feeling my low mood seems to be lifting and my energy level, ever so slightly better. I am once again on the verge of entering a recovery phase.