For those who don't know what Fibromyalgia is, here is the basic definition, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic's website:
FIBROMYALGIA: Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals. Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.
- Widespread pain. The pain associated with fibromyalgia is often described as a constant, dull ache that has lasted for at least three months. To be considered widespread, the pain must occur on both sides of your body, and above and below the waist.
- Fatigue. People with fibromyalgia often awaken tired, even though they report sleeping for long periods of time. Sleep is often disrupted by pain, and many patients have other sleep disorders, like restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea.
- Cognitive Difficulties: Often referred to as fibro-fog. Impairs ability to focus, pay attention and concentrate on mental tasks.
- Other Symptoms: Depression, headaches, and pain or cramping in the lower abdomen.
Personally, I was diagnosed six years ago at the age of eighteen. Usually, I have more episodes during the winter and have to go to the hospital at least once to get drugged up just to be able to even sleep (generally my ankles ache so bad I am on the verge of tears an unable to do anything, especially sleep). Lately though, with my forty hours a week at a crappy retail job, where I am on my feet CONSTANTLY, I have been taking two painkillers every day (Gabapentin is what works for me) just to be able to stay standing up without being in hospital grade pain. It makes me slightly high, unfocused, hyper and magnifies the fibro-fog. Not to mention how depressed I have been lately, and my financial situation is definitely not making things better. I have begun "Waldening" (otherwise known as downsizing) my stuff, to make money and gain space. I am on the verge of losing the house I have spent my entire life in. I don't know what's going to happen to myself, my family or my animals.
Books and escaping into different worlds are really the only things that make me smile anymore, or keep me going. And my fibromyalgia is taking that away, with my inability to focus. These are the reasons my blog has been sporadically updated over the last few months, along with some personal crises involving a family member being in the hospital for over a month. I have been trying to find the light at the end of the tunnel. It's not always easy, but I have to believe that things will get better. This is my daily struggle, but I am kicking it's butt just by getting out of bed, going into work and living my life. This is just something that I wanted you to know, as people that have been involved in my book life for about three years now. I am pretty private generally and don't usually do many personal posts. But if someone else out there is dealing with this too, maybe this post will say the most important thing it even could: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. And you are a survivor! Separately we're just a drop in the ocean, but together we are formidable.