I have made many lifestyle changes to cooperate with fibromyalgia. I say cooperate because I can’t fight it, it’s always going to be there and I have to live with that. I have found peace with my diagnosis. I’m not going to be the victim anymore. There are certain things I must do in order to keep the peace.
- I accept that sometimes I need help, and that’s OK.
- I have to be careful of triggers, and there are many of them. The supermarket, the heat, the cold, sitting down for too long, doing too much. I have to be careful. I have to look out for myself.
- I plan things. Even something as simple as the steps I have to take to the bathroom, or how to do the housework in the least amount of steps possible. I plan how to do things in the least invasive way I possibly can.
- I have a shower stool. Sometimes I can’t find the strength to stand up in the shower, so sitting down is the only option.
- I have a cane. I accept that sometimes I need to use my cane, and that’s OK. Sometimes my legs give way at any moment. I named my cane so it’s more of a companion rather than an aid.
- I’m honest about my condition. If anyone questions why I’m struggling, I tell them the truth. “I have fibromyalgia.” It’s important to raise awareness, and it’s also important to help the people who care about you understand what’s really going on. It’s not easy, but it’s absolutely necessary. Not everyone will respond well, but there will be people who are supportive and actually listen.
- I have distanced myself from the people who aren’t supportive of me, or have unrealistic expectations of me.
- I hold onto the people who are supportive of me. I’m lucky enough to have a very supportive partner who doubles up as my carer sometimes, yet never complains. I also have some very understanding friends.
- I spend more time relaxing and relieving my pain. I invested in a massage device that I frequently use. I go to the hot springs. I take my time.
- I’m becoming minimalist. Having less stuff really does lessen my stress.
- I do whatever I can to keep my anxiety levels down. I keep a journal next to my bed. I focus on doing the things I enjoy. I take pictures. I make videos. I get creative in ways that don’t exhaust me. I focus on things I can do, rather than the things I can’t.
- I make sure to keep seeing the medical professionals I trust. My doctor, rheumatologist, exercise physiologist and psychologist.
- I accept that sometimes I am in so much pain that taking painkillers is OK.
- I remember that this is my health, this is my body and I am my own best advocate.
- I am grateful for the joys in my life, for the supportive people around me and for the things I am still able to achieve. I am grateful to have an opportunity to live my life in spite of chronic illness.