When you live with fibromyalgia you know that health setbacks and flare-ups are bound to happen. A bad day or two, maybe a bad week or two. But there seems no end to the one I have been caught up in this last year. As daily living became more difficult, negative thoughts and feelings took over. I allowed myself to get hung up on how bad I felt and it opened the door to a major depressive episode.
There were plenty of signs that I was headed toward a major flare-up. Waking up exhausted, increased pain, brain fog, dizziness, constant headaches. The signs were there, but I ignored them and kept pushing beyond my limits. I made such progress over the last couple of years I didn’t want to acknowledge I was backsliding.
Everything came to a head in May when I went to my granddaughter’s graduation. I wasn’t feeling well but I was not going to miss her big day. About halfway through, my face, neck, and scalp started feeling itchy and prickly. By the end of the graduation ceremony, I was having trouble breathing, felt very weak, and blacked out.
My doctor came believes the exposure to all the scented products people were wearing at the graduation caused a severe asthma attack. Further testing confirmed that along with asthma, I also have COPD.
I spent the summer isolated and completely exhausted. What really knocked me for a loop was how depressed and hopeless I felt. The more depressed I felt, the more I isolated myself, the more depressed I became. I really wanted to go to sleep and never wake up. When I would wake up, I didn’t want to get out of bed and face the day. It was a vicious cycle I couldn’t get out of.
Then one night when I couldn’t sleep I read a book about Saint Mother Teresa. I was surprised to learn that Mother Teresa sensed a dark emptiness within herself and often felt rejected and lonely. She prayed every day that God would fill the darkness with his love. Her story made me realize that I was asking God for the wrong thing.
Instead of asking God to end my pain, I started praying that He would give me the strength to deal with the pain and the ability to find joy again. I prayed a lot and I started keeping a gratitude journal. Little by little, the darkness has lifted and I am feeling hopeful again.
My Current State
Even though I feel more positive (most of the time), I have no energy. I just can’t shake the fatigue. Some days I have to drag myself out of bed. On other days, I wake up feeling rested only to be hit with a wave of exhaustion within an hour or two. Even the simplest task is draining.
Often, the fatigue comes on suddenly and I have to stop what I’m doing. It can happen anywhere at any time. Several times while writing this post the fatigue forced me to shut down the computer in mid-sentence. I still need a lot of rest time.
When my depression was at its worst I thought of shutting the blog down completely. But then I would read one of your comments thanking me for helping you feel a little less crazy, a little less alone.
Thank You for showing me that I am not alone either and stopping me from making a bad decision that I would surely regret.
Health setbacks can be the hardest part of living with chronic illness. Negative thoughts and feelings make them even harder. I have allowed myself to feel the sadness and frustration of failure. So, now it’s time to pick up the pieces and start over. Again.
Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to just try one more time. – Thomas Edison
Bouncing back after a long health setback takes time. It also takes a plan. Since I am still exhausted and fuzzy-headed I need a step-by-step guide. Recently I was contacted by the author of “How to Create Your Own Action Plan for Recovery” asking if I would review her eBook which is a step-by-step guide on rebuilding your health after illness or injury. Her offer couldn’t have come at a better time.
In the coming weeks, I will share my review of the eBook. And of course, I will share what works for me and what doesn’t. A couple of topics I have planned for the blog this year include reducing chemical exposure and using essential oils to help fibromyalgia symptoms.
Are there any particular subjects you would like to see on the blog? If so, let me know in the comment section below.