Your working, with fibromyalgia?

Yes

I’ve had fibromyalgia since 2004 and have kept working.

How?

Fibromyalgia is not a degenerative disease; studies have shown, for most sufferers it will stay the same or improve. Knowing this fact can help to give you a positive outlook on your future. Perhaps working towards small achievable goals to improve your health.

My story 

When I was first diagnosed and before this.  I felt tired, fatigued and had pain in my body for months that just got worse. Nothing I did seemed to help. To some extent it was a relief to find out what was wrong.  I had managed to keep working and had odd days off.  These days stretched into longer periods of time off. 

After the fibromyalgia diagnosis, I slowly started to learn, how to manage my symptoms on a daily basis. Finding out my limitations and how much I could do without making my symptoms worse or triggering a flare up took time to find out. I found stress played a big part in making symptoms worse. Making sure I took adequate rest breaks during the day was essential. 

At some point during these initial first weeks you will want to consider what changes you need to make in your life to help manage fibromyalgia symptoms. One of them may be to re-evaluate your work choices. Perhaps looking at alternative jobs after doing thorough research.

Thinking about what would help you do your existing job and talking to your employer is worth considering. Beforehand gather together evidence to support your diagnosis such as doctors letters. Get the support of your superior and other more senior staff.  Explain what your symptoms are and how they affect you. Perhaps taking along a diary of symptoms, would be easier to illustrate how to adapt your job. Approach this in a positive way showing you can be flexible.

If you are newly diagnosed, your first step could be to educate others working with you, what fibromyalgia is. Your relationship with colleagues is important when your working, if they have a understanding of your condition it will help you feel more confident about work.

Things that could help you……

If you live in the UK have a look at the following information.

If your looking for a job, finding work with an employer in the UK who is disability confident can make a difference. Depending on what they have signed up to they are encouraged to recruit new staff and retain existing employees who would be defined under the equality act 2010 as having a disability.

The equality act 2010 states that all employers in the UK must make reasonable adjustments  for people with disabilities, or a long term health condition, so they aren’t disadvantaged when carrying out their jobs. 

Your employer can look at ways you can adapt your role, within the reasonable adjustments criteria. This could include switching your working hours to more suitable times or looking at special equipment to help you carry out your role. 

A UK access to work  assessment may be able to highlight things you have overlooked that could help you carry out your work. The assessor contacts you to find out more about your circumstances and makes recommendations to suit you.

So, what else can I do?

I personally think that having a long term health condition has made me more aware of my health and well-being. I look after myself better than some of my peers.

Because I need to exercise regularly to keep my body moving I have a very good awareness of what I need to do to keep as fit and healthy as possible.

Take a look at my pages on

Exercise

Diet and Irritable Bowel Syndrome and

Fibromyalgia Self Help.

Telling your family and friends and explaining how it affects you. With their support you will be able to achieve more.

Having a positive mental attitude and setting yourself realistic goals. I use meditation to help me find focus and a positive direction in my daily life. Follow my link to meditation  for information about this.

Lastly…post me your experiences of working with fibromyalgia and other related illnesses.

Motivate yourself ? and lose weight….

appetite apple close up delicious
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

If you’re trying to lose weight your probably also trying to find the answer to this question.

It’s even more difficult to do when you’ve got a chronic illness, like fibromyalgia, sapping all your energy and enthusiasm.

I know I lack motivation.

It’s something I’ve been trying to unlock the secret to.

It’s especially true for my diet.

Since my carer went on a low fat diet recently and lost a lot of weight. I’ve also cut back on saturated fat, cheese and cake.

sliced cheese on brown table top
Photo by NastyaSensei Sens on Pexels.com

Now I try to eat low fat alternatives, which is not always easy.

My body wants to eat snacks and other unhealthy food.

I asked my carer how he managed to stay motivated enough to only eat certain foods.

He said he eats enough at meal times to feel full up and only snacks on fruit and healthy alternatives, when he is hungry.

He added.

Once your mind is set on achieving a target weight it’s easier to get motivated to keep working towards it.

Regularly checking your weight and keeping up exercise  which helps to keep the weight down.It’s obviously a formula that’s working for him.

But everyone is different and what works for one person is not necessarily going to help someone else.

You may remember my post about Keeping Positive and Motivated with Fibromyalgia from earlier in the year. I suggested a number of ways to reprogram the mindset, using positive thinking.

I read recently that the opposite is true for some people. Looking at things in a negative way motivates them more. Although I find it difficult to recommend using this technique to motivate, due to the downward spiral of thoughts it can trigger.

I have noticed that it has worked for me in the past. For instance the negative comments of others inspire me to prove them wrong. When someone says,

”You can’t achieve —————”.

”You’re be unable to complete ———“.

I will always prove them wrong and work really hard to achieve that target and surpass it.

Its a bit like us fibro warriors when we pretend to be well and not ill. We’re constantly striving to show we can do things, we want to engage in life and contribute.

To sum up, choosing the best way forward to motivate yourself is something that can be down to trial and error.

A period of experimentation could be helpful to find the way forward. Loosing weight is down to choosing the best motivational techniques for you.

assorted sliced fruits
Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com

On reflection from…

black withered tree surounded by body of water
Photo by Kyle Roxas on Pexels.com

So, you think you know all about fibromyalgia.

OK, tell me what your understanding of fibromyalgia is…

It’s a chronic illness,

With no cure,

It’s an invisible illness; because the pain or symptoms a sufferer has are not visible.

It predominantly effects women but also some men,

What are the main symptoms?

it’s not a definitive list because fibromyalgia symptoms can be combined with other illnesses which can in some cases magnify the symptoms.

Pain throughout the whole body; the pain can vary in intensity and type.

Joints and muscles feel stiff

Poor quality of sleep

Feeling tired and fatigued

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Extreme Sensitivity

Cognitive problems, feeling confused, or dazed, sometimes called Fibro fog

Headaches

Depression

Anxiety

Painful periods

The symptoms can vary from person to person.

Symptoms can get better or worse from time to time.

Factors that influence this are:

the amount of stress you are experiencing

how much daily exercise you have

and changes in climate and temperature

How does fibromyalgia effect your daily living?

Everything I do from buying groceries, doing household cleaning, ironing clothes and cooking meals.

Using the example of household cleaning; my carer does the hoovering when it involves moving furniture. I can do some, but it varies how much I can do from day to day with fluctuating pain levels.

I wanted to reflect on my previous post partly to think about what has changed and how it can be improved.

I’m pleased that others with chronic illnesses and fibromyalgia liked my other fibromyalgia related posts. Thanks for your likes and comments, which are really encouraging.

I’ve been in situations with others not understanding what fibromyalgia/invisible illness/a chronic illness is and how it effects me.

I started my blog originally to give others some insight into what it’s like living and managing with fibromyalgia.

But, apart from surviving the constantly fluctuating illnesses and pain associated with fibromyalgia.

The main problem for me is,

getting others to understand that having 

fibromyalgia

means I have limitations on what I can do.

It’s not just one thing that’s affected

it’s everything, every day, all the time.

There’s a lot of ground to cover helping others understand what fibromyalgia is, but hopefully after reading my post you will be some way towards it.

Further information is available on the NHS website.  

If you think you may be suffering from fibromyalgia, consult your doctor or health professional.

Going back to the fact there’s no cure.  I’ve lived with fibromyalgia for 14 years and found although some times are really tough. I have been able to boost my general health through diet, exercise and meditation.

The positives are my symptoms are still there but have improved since I was first diagnosed. I can now do some hoovering!

A lifetime free from pain

attractive beautiful beauty black and white
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I wish……..

Living with a invisible illness like fibromyalgia I can never forget about it. 

I’m naturally a positive person and find every day my body feels different in some way. 

I can wake up with my head full of things I want to do and a body unable to carry them out. Normal everyday tasks are restricted by fibromyalgia. Over time I have adapted tasks to enable me to carry out as much as I can.

The single biggest obstacle I face on a daily basis is based purely on other people’s perceptions of me with fibromyalgia. Just putting it into words is difficult. 

I’m constantly frustrated how difficult it is to give an accurate explanation of what fibromyalgia is and what it’s like to live with.

Saying that, it’s difficult to be accurate because everyone that gets fibromyalgia has different symptoms and severity which can complicate a good definition.

This difficulty is illustrated well by my carer who recently said….

‘Every time I explain what it is, it takes half an hour,’

‘People go quiet,’

People seem to second guess what it is, and not listen to a explanation…

‘I know, Fibro cystic……. yes, I’ve heard of that, that’s not good,’

Oh,……I had something similar when I was young, it made me really ill for months,…..but now I’m fine.

Just to be clear,     IT’S    NONE    OF    THE    ABOVE

I am going to try now, with the following definitive list of symptoms.

My definition will be accurate in my individual case only.  Some of these symptoms may be shared by others with fibromyalgia.

The fibromyalgia I live with varies from day to day in severity. It can include all of these symptoms at sometime, not always together but occasionally I can have several at once.

Aches and pain throughout the body 

Anxiety 

Balance problems 

Bladder problems 

Bloating 

Cognitive problems 

Depression 

Dizziness

Dry mouth and eyes

Fatigue 

Fibro fog

Frequent Headaches 

IBS

Jaw pain

Light sensitivity 

Lower back pain

Muscle spasms 

Noise can impact on my symptoms 

Numbness

Painful periods

Pain in joints and muscles 

Physical activity increases can exacerbate my condition 

Poor quality sleep 

Rashes

Restless leg syndrome

Sensitivity to smell

Stress can affect my symptoms on a daily basis 

Stiffness 

Sinus’s problems

Temperature changes effect pain in the body

Tingling 

Tinnitus 

Types of pain experienced a ache, burning pain and sharp stabbing pain 

Varying degrees of pain 

There’s no cure, but with exercise and diet symptoms can be improved to some degree.

As you can see Fibromyalgia is a difficult illness to describe and live with, because it encompasses so many variables. 

If you are worried about having similar symptoms and have not received a diagnosis for them, you should contact your doctor or health professional for advice.

Have a look at the NHS description of fibromyalgia,  and links to support groups and the online community if your a sufferer.

UK Fibromyalgia is a brilliant site that covers a wide range of information about fibromyalgia. Also Fibromyalgia Association  is a registered charity that provides information and help to sufferers.

black framed wayfarer eyeglasses on book
Photo by Manfred Hofferer on Pexels.com