How to Live With Fibromyalgia or Other Chronic Pain
You are rarely or never without it. Sometimes it seems as though it takes on a personality and that he is overwhelming who you are. He brings his friends depression and fatigue. The light at the top of the pit you are in seems to be farther away all the time. But YOU CAN WIN! Here's how.
*1)Take a personal vow. Word it in a way that is meaningful to you. Be determined to live a full and happy life. Survival is not enough. You may have to renew your vows to yourself every day, but make each day as productive as it can be. You may only accomplish one thing, but you did accomplish it!
*)2Understand and accept that you will have bad days and that this is not giving up, or being defeated. Tomorrow will not necessarily be as bad, but even if it is, just do what you can and look for some beauty and success in each day and move on.
*3) Understand and accept that you may need to make some significant lifestyle changes. Not committing to that will lead you to lapse into a non functional mode of behavior.
*4)Make use of ALL of your resources. Physicians, healers, medicine, dietary modifications*(see tips), alternative therapies, family, friends, bosses, co-workers. They all have valuable parts to play in your fully functional life.
*5)Find a good support group, if you don't have a family/friend network that is supportive, that will encourage you to do the things you need to but can't find the motivation to do on your own.
*6)Understand that functional is a relative term. You will be able to do more some days than others, but it is YOUR responsibility to make the most of each day.
*7)Exercise regularly. Exercise releases endorphins and promotes the production of neurotransmitters. This can be as simple as taking a brisk walk for 20 minutes, a yoga or T'ai Chi class, Aquatic Aerobics, Basic Pilates, whatever you can do. It should be low impact and not endurance based. *(see tips)
*8)Be careful not to overdo on good days as you will generally pay for it later on. Pace yourself.
*9)Get at least 8 hours sleep a night. If you feel you don't sleep well, tell your doctor. There are medications/treatments that can help. Deep uninterrupted sleep is required to replenish neurotransmitters and other needed elements that you use up during the day. *(see tips)
*10)Do not brood on what you can't do, concentrate on what you can do. If your hands hurt or are to weak to open a jar, find a tool or other way to do it. There are ALWAYS alternatives.
*11)Grant yourself time to be weak/tired/just-plain-in-pain. You can be stronger longer if you know that at some point you don't need to be "on". That you will just be able to veg or take a nap for a short time.
*12)Keep your sense of perspective. Some things tend to seem more overwhelming than they really are when you are in a lot of pain, or are just exhausted. Try to take a mental step back when you feel this way. Don't concentrate on the problem, seek the solution. Or just put it aside for a while and come back to it later.
*13)'Fake it 'til you make it!' You may feel lousy, but you stick a smile on and greet everyone enthusiastically. They respond with a smile and maybe even laughter at your perky response. You allow yourself to giggle back. That makes you feel good. After a few people are startled into greeting you with a smile, you find you feel a little better. The longer you do this, the more true it becomes, until it is an integral part of your day. (It really works if you let it.)
*14)Decrease your stress level. Life is made of stresses or else we would still just be wallowing in the mud somewhere and making no progress. However, you must learn to minimize it. We tend to make a lot of our own stresses.*(see tips) Learn methods of de-stressing such as meditation, yoga, listening to soothing music, aromatherapy, etc.
*15)Use humor/humour as a natural analgesic and stress reducer. Find ways of interjecting humor into your day. The more you smile and laugh, the more natural endorphins and healthy neurotransmitters your body will produce.
*16)Educate yourself. Find information on your condition from doctors, healers, friends, websites, and support groups. Knowledge is power. Power is control over your own life. That control is the difference between living and merely surviving. *(see warnings)
*17)Educate those around you. If a friendly slap on the shoulder makes you want to jump through the roof, let your friends and co-workers know that you would prefer a hug, or a high five, or just a "Great to see you!". Let your friends and co-workers know that your don't want them to ask you how you are feeling. Tell them you appreciate that they care about you, but that you don't want to be concentrating on that aspect of your life. *(see tips)
*18)Find something inspirational that will help you motivate yourself when needed. It could be a song, a short poem, a quote, a combination of these or anything that has meaning for you.
~ Many people find that eliminating certain things from their diet ("trigger foods" and adding other foods can make them feel better, have more energy, and less pain.
~Common trigger foods (keep in mind that not every one has the same reactions to certain foods) to avoid or eliminate are: corn, high fructose corn syrup, concentrated or refined sugars, refined (white) flour, and other refined grains, green peppers, food preservatives (as in prepackaged food), saturated fats, and caffeine.
Foods to use include: whole grains such as, brown rice, spelt wheat, whole wheat/spelt/whole grain rice pastas, soy products, fresh fruit, red/yellow bell peppers, olive oil, honey, ginger, rosemary, thyme, and cinnamon.
~Exercise needs to be done on a regular basis; if not daily, at least 3-5 days a week.
You won't always feel like it, especially if you are a full time worker, parent, or both. But you must do what you can. If you can only walk 10 minutes today, it's better than none. You can shoot for 20 minutes tomorrow.
~Get an exercise buddy. Someone who can help keep you motivated and who needs you to keep them motivated as well.
~Do not choose a buddy who serves as an enabler (someone who will allow you to rationalize or make excuses).
~For restful sleep earplugs and eye covers can also help maintain the sleep cycle, however, these are not feasible for some people (parents of small children, for example). People who are found to have sleep interruptions due to sleep apnea may benefit from some of the devices to assist breathing at night.
~How do you make your own stress? For instance, you can't face opening your mail because it is all bills that are overdue because you missed so much work due to pain and fatigue. You then become more stressed when you received shut off notices and repeated calls from bill collectors. You feel more and more like a worthless heel. Instead, most utility companies, doctor offices, agencies, etc. are only too willing to help when you explain your situation and are willing to make payments in good faith. Many of them will waive interest charges, defer payments, etc.
~Select a few people who are willing to be outlets for you when you do need to vent about your pain/fatigue/inability to accomplish what you want, etc. Tell them that you will go to them when you need them. Make a conscious effort to to this infrequently so it does not become routine.
~Go to well established and credible websites and weigh all information gathered carefully before trying to incorporate it or initiating new treatment regimens.
~Select support groups carefully. Many of these so called support groups are only places for people to complain and are counterproductive to your wellbeing.
~Be wary of websites that claim miraculous cures, especially if they are 'revolutionary', if they have been developed by a single "doctor" or "healer", and if they are not supported by several studies from different sources.
all excellent ideas, many of which i already utilize and find extremely helpful. especially like the ending with the warning about support groups ~ thanks for making this a safe and supportive one, my feisty batgirl!!!!!!!!!
Disclaimer: The information provided in MDJunction is not a replacement for medical diagnosis, treatment, or professional medical advice.
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