Living With Fibromyalgia And Chronic Pain.

What is living with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain? What does it mean to accept Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain and what is acceptance? I think these are questions that every sufferer needs to look at and take time in their day to process. Acceptance is such a huge part of moving on and actually dealing with our condition. Whether that’s chronic pain, Fibromyalgia, heart condition, anxiety, depression, or something else, we need to accept that it is what it is. The question is 

How are we going to move forward and live with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain?

When I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, I was actually delighted. Not because I had a chronic illness, but I was delighted that it wasn’t anything more serious. At the time I was having bone marrow biopsies because they thought it could be cancer! So when I got my diagnosis it was a relief, to some extent. I knew that it was my nerves, it was the signals to my brain, it wasn’t that I was suffering from broken bones or terminal illness.

For me, that was a great thing. However, accepting that I couldn’t do the things I used to do, that took time. Especially, accepting that my flexibility and movement had both been reduced significantly. I couldn’t do Pilates moves that I had been absolutely over the moon to achieve previously. Overnight that went and I mourned the person I once was. I think that’s part of the process, we need to mourn ourselves. But we need to be careful not to get drawn into a negative downward spiral and mourn for too long. Because if we stay in that past tense, if we don’t accept who we are now, we’re never going to move forward and learn to live with Fibromyalgia and chronic pain.

Mental and physical health can be impacted

When we spend too much time mourning, that’s when our mental and physical health suffers. Once I got my head around my diagnosis, and I accepted that I wasn’t going to be able to do the things that I used to do. I wanted to find out who on earth I am now, and what I can do? What are my limits? What can I achieve in my day before the warning signs start to show in my body?

It’s taken me some time to identify my personal limits, but cardio is pretty much out for me. I had a diagnosis of a heart condition, which seems to be really under control now. There was a chance I would have to have serious medical treatment, there was talk of pacemakers and beta-blockers, I was under 40, I didn’t want that stuff. It’s now controlled with the holistic lifestyle that I’m leading, so isn’t medicated. 

Once I got past all that, I started to look at what I could do

I walk, walking is my thing. Now that cardio is out temporarily, I have discovered that 13,000 steps on my Garmin each day, is my point of comfort. If I go past that, I know I’m going to get a few aches and pains. But that’s okay. I manage that. I know that that is where I need to aim for. Yesterday I did 25,000 steps and today I am very much feeling it! But yesterday I wanted to live, I was exploring a new area and it was incredibly beautiful so I can live with the aches and pains today.

When I was diagnosed, there was no way that I was going to be off work and not do anything in case I might ache tomorrow. I learnt how to listen to my body, accepted what it was telling me and worked with it. I know it can sound a little bit hippy sometimes but there is so much holistic healing that we can do that helps us work with our bodies. 

How do I manage my Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain?

I plan!

I knew I was going out for a walk yesterday, so before I did, I got on my exercise mat and I stretched. When I got home last night, I stretched. I’m still feeling it today. But can you imagine how much worse I would feel if I hadn’t done that? Today, I have some important clients to meet, I know that if I eat the wrong things, I’m going to be feeling really tired, I know that my muscles are going to hurt, and I know that I’m not going to be at my very best. However, I know that I can be at my best if I eat everything my body needs.

I accept that my body is the way it is, and I have to think about what it needs, I’m living with Fibromyalgia. 

I have to plan a lot. But that’s okay, it’s okay to plan a lot because it means I’m living life! Surely that’s better than being a recluse and watching everybody around me do everything and being at the back of the crowd not getting involved?

If you want live a fulfilling life with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain, you need to plan too.

What is your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge I have now is horse riding. I absolutely love horse riding but I haven’t been on a horse for years. I’ve got jodhpurs, boots and my helmet staring at me right now. As I sit here today, making this blog and vlog, I am looking at rolling hills. The most beautiful vivid green scenery that you can possibly imagine with the sun beating down on every field. Cows and sheep are sprawling across the fields, I am desperate to hack across them on a horse right now. For me, that’s going to be my biggest upcoming challenge, because horse riding is a physical workout. You have got to control an incredibly strong animal, just holding on to the reins is quite a challenge!

I’m going to have to plan. I’m going to have to mentally switch on and to be in the game. If I don’t, it will go wrong and I could fall off and injure myself. There is no point in thinking about the ‘what ifs’ or I will never do anything and I won’t be living with Fibromyalgia, I’ll be surviving. 

I’ll stretch before I go and I’ll stretch when I come back. I will make sure I do all the good stuff, that helps me feel the best I can. If it’s too much, then I’ll just take it down a notch next time. If I was out two hours, I’ll take it down a notch to an hour and a half. And then I’ll take it down a notch to an hour. But I’m not going to miss out on anything.

I’d really encourage you to do the same

That’s what I’m really urging people to do is, accept who you are, and embrace it! 

You’re beautiful, everything about you is beautiful. Don’t let this condition, this pain, this mental cloud bring you down because you’re better than that, you can do so much more. Okay, sometimes you might not feel like it. But I can help you with that, I can guide you through that. Whatever that looks like to you, whether that’s Yoga, Pilates, meditation, mindfulness, or whether it means that we have one-to-one sessions to talk things through.

Never, ever, underestimate the power of talking, because somebody outside your family and friendship circle can really have a profound impact on your life. I’ve been there many a time and it really does make a difference.

A lot of us say that we want people to accept us for who we are. But we can’t expect other people to accept us until we do ourselves. I never ask anybody to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself. So that goes for this very subject as well.

So what’s next if you are living with Fibromyalgia and Chronic pain?

Start to write down the good stuff that happens in your life. Start to get the negative thoughts out of your head. If anything’s holding you back, write it down. But write the good and the bad down. Because if you only write the negative you can end up in a downward spiral, and your mental health can take a bit of a hit. You can look at what you’ve listed as the good stuff and pick yourself up. It isn’t easy. But it’s so worthwhile and can have a hugely positive effect on you.

I would absolutely love to hear how you’re getting on. Whether you found this useful and if I can help in any way. Take care of yourself, be good and kind to yourself. I’m sending so much love and support. All the best