Fibromyalgia and Motivational Quotes

I’ve found these motivational quotes to have personal meaning to me in my daily fight against my fibromyalgia.  I try to find a quote I like daily.  It sometimes gives me that little boost I need to get through the day.

All things at first appear difficult.
–Chinese proverb

It’s not the situation… it’s your reaction to the situation.
–Bob Conklin

Difficulties should act as a tonic. They should spur us to greater exertion.
–B. C. Forbes

Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.
–Robert Collier

No one knows what he can do until he tries.
–Publilius Syrus

Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.
–Swedish Proverb

The habit of persistence is the habit of victory.
–Herbert Kaufman

You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.
–Margaret Thatcher (So true. We fibromyalgia sufferers fight the battle every day against chronic pain.)

All the so-called secrets of success will not work unless you do.
–Unknown

Smooth seas do not make skilful sailors.
–African Proverb

Character is what emerges from all the little things you were too busy to do yesterday, but did anyway.
–Mignon McLaughlin

There are two ways of meeting difficulties: you alter the difficulties, or you alter yourself to meet them.
–Phyllis Bottome

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.
–Anais Nin

Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.
–Gandhi

Your toughness is made up of equal parts persistence and experience. You don’t so much outrun your opponents as outlast and outsmart them, and the toughest opponent of all is the one inside your head. (Or the pain inside your head for us.)
–Joe Henderson

Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of.
–Anonymous

Our greatest battles are that with our own minds.
–Jameson Frank

The true measure of a man is not how he behaves in moments of comfort and convenience but how he stands at times of controversy and challenges.
–Martin Luther King Jr.

The best way out is always through.
–Robert Frost

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Fibromyalgia and Sleep

This post got me thinking about my own sleep (or lack thereof).  I read it yesterday evening and it seemed to turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy for me.  I’m always hoping for the elusive good nights sleep.  I remember as a teenager sleeping for 13 or 14 hours on the weekends no problem.  Nothing and no one could wake me up.  Now I wish I could just get a few hours of that same deep, restful sleep.  I have to take two medicines to fall asleep and help me stay asleep every night.  I dream a lot.  I never used to remember my dreams.  Now it’s like my brain is watching TV in my sleep.  My dreams aren’t like a whole storyline that only makes sense when you’re unconscious.  It’s like I’m channel flipping.  I just get a clip here, a clip there, all strung together all night long.  When I do have a long dream, 9 times out of 10 it’s a bad dream.  My husband had to wake me up last night because I was talking in my sleep.  In my head I was screaming but he said I was just mumbling.  I’ve asked my doctors about my dreaming and they said that this type of dreaming isn’t the type of dreams you get when you reach the deeper, more restful levels of sleep.  I’m stuck in one of the higher levels dreaming these weird, channel flipping dreams, and not getting the rest I need.

Before I took my leave of absence from work in April, I was running on fumes.  I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in months.  I started sleeping better a couple of weeks after taking a break from work.  Now that I’m back at work, I’m having trouble sleeping again.  It’s not as bad as it was before April, but it’s still not fun.  I long for a good night’s rest.  When I was young, I was only able to nap when I was sick or had a migraine.  Now, I can usually nap whenever.  I don’t get as much rest from it as people without fibro do, I think, but it helps.  As the weeks pass now that I’ve returned to work, my sleep is slowing improving.  I just hope it improves faster before I start to crash again.

Taking the Road Less Traveled By

Wooded path

Two Roads Diveraged

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
–Robert Frost

This has always been one of my favorite poems and I’m come to feel that it sums up my life pretty well.  I feel that in my battle against my fibro I have taken the Road Less Traveled By, as Robert Frost writes.  I feel that if most (if not all) of the people I know were put in my shoes — not that I wish this pain on anyone!! — they would take the more traveled road.  They would give up, crawl into bed, and never get back out.  They would not be working a job.  They would not run errands, go to the movies, or leave their house.  They’d give up, give in.  I refuse to give into the pain.  I refuse to let the pain win.  Losing gives the pain control of my life.  I’ve tried that.  It sucks.  It’s no way to live.  If the pain wins, you have no quality of life.  Your life is pain.  So I’m taking the Road Less Traveled By and searching for a life with the pain, around the pain.  I’m looking for ways to live and enjoy life despite my fibro.  I’m constantly searching for more weapons to add to my arsenal in the daily war I wage against my pain.  A war with no end in sight, but a war where I will not accept defeat.  Defeat is an unthinkable thing.  So I work on myself, I look for new hobbies that are both fun and help ease the pain, I meditate, I do tons of yoga, I write, I lose myself in a good book/movie/TV show, etc.  My weapons range from the simple to the surprising.  Anything that helps ease the pain is a great thing in my book.

What is Fibromyalgia?

For those of you who (unfortunately) aren’t already intimately aware of what fibromyalgia is, I thought I’d give a brief introduction to it.  Fibromyalgia is also know as Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) and chronic pain disorder.  It actually has some links to PTSD, as far as the way the brain works — or rather the way it works but isn’t supposed to be working.  Here is the definition of fibromyalgia from the Mayo Clinic’s website.  I find that WebMD has some outdated information on fibromyalgia and prefer to reference sites like Mayo’s.

Definition
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.

Women are much more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression.

While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of medications can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction measures also may help.

Symptoms
The pain associated with fibromyalgia often is described as a constant dull ache, typically arising from muscles. To be considered widespread, the pain must occur on both sides of your body and above and below your waist.

Fibromyalgia is characterized by additional pain when firm pressure is applied to specific areas of your body, called tender points. Tender point locations include:

  • Back of the head
  • Between shoulder blades
  • Top of shoulders
  • Front sides of neck
  • Upper chest
  • Outer elbows
  • Upper hips
  • Sides of hips
  • Inner knees

Fatigue and sleep disturbances
People with fibromyalgia often awaken tired, even though they report sleeping for long periods of time. Sleep is frequently disrupted by pain, and many patients with fibromyalgia have other sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea, that further worsen symptoms.

If you want to read more about fibromyalgia, here is the link to information it through the Mayo Clinic:  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fibromyalgia/DS00079/

My Fibromyalgia

For me, fibromyalgia at it’s best is the “dull ache” described in the information above.  I hurt everywhere, all the time.  I have trouble relating to people how much pain I’m in.  If you’ve never been in chronic pain, then you really have no clue what I’m going through.  The closest analogy I can come up with — and it’s a poor one — is having a migraine headache only the headache is your entire body.  It hurts to move, it sometimes hurts to breath, sometimes it even hurts to be awake.  I have every single “tender point” in the so-called diagnostic test where your doctor pokes you all over and if you yelp in pain to enough of his pokes, then you have fibromyalgia.  My rheumatologist did that to me once and it spiked my pain so badly, he hasn’t done it again.  He likes to do it at every check up to see how much his patients improve, but for me he doesn’t bother.  I can tell him if I’m improving or not and don’t need him spiking my pain by poking me.

I often use the scale of 1 to 10 (1 being no pain and 10 being the most pain you can imagine) to try to tell people, especially my husband and immediate family, how much pain I’m in on any given day.  An average to good day is a 5 or a 6 on that scale for me.  I always feel the worst right when I wake and as the evening progresses.  10am to 2pm is the best part of the day for me, and unfortunately I spend those hours at work.  After 4 solid years of non-stop, chronic pain, you get used to a certain amount of pain.  On the good days where I drop below a 5, it’s actually kind of startling to suddenly realize “Hey, I’m feeling pretty good right now.  My pain isn’t terrible.”  At those times, your inclination is to rush out and do something fun, or something you don’t normally have the energy to do, like go shopping.  That’s an urge you have to fight because if you overdo it any given day, you’ll pay for it the next day.  Living with fibro is all about balance.  Balance in everything.  You have to balance the amount of time you sit in one place (like at your desk) with the amount of time you stretch, walk around, and exercise.  You have to get a full 8 to 9 hours of sleep each night to balance out the toll the pain takes on you every day.  You have to balance out your depression with good emotions to try to stay in the “up beat” state of mind doctors have found leads to the least amount of pain on a daily basis for people with fibro.  You have to eat a balanced diet.  You have to balance the time you spend working with time you spend on yourself, meeting your needs and your pain’s needs.  You have to balance the time you spend with your husband and family with the time you want to spend in bed, exhausted, just giving in to the pain for awhile.

This blog is about my search for balance in life.  My path to making the best of my life in pain.  My search for the best path out of the mess fibro has made of my life.  I’m always trying to make myself feel better, be better.  I’m trying to learn to control my pain and improve my quality of life, and thereby improve the quality of life of my husband and those around me who are affected by my fibro.  I hope that writing about my experiences and my journey will help me but will also help anyone out there reading this as well.

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About me

I’ve suffered from chronic pain off and on for my of my life.  I’m 28 years old, but the last 4 years have been the worst.  I live in pain.  Early this year, pain ruled my life.  I struggled to get through my work day so I could come home and crash, pretend to sleep, so I could do it all over again the next day.  My weekends were spent resting and trying to get some energy to get through the next week.  Pain was my existence.  It blinded me to everything else around me and in my life.  It got so bad that I took a leave of absence from work.  I spent those 11 weeks working on myself, examining every corner of my brain, looking at everything I do, every habit I have, and figuring out which ones contributed to my pain and had to go.  I’m still a work in progress, but I’m working very hard to reshape my life, myself, so that I can have a better quality of life.  So I can live, even with chronic pain following me every day.

I wage a battle every day against my own body.  I fight every day to control the pain, to do something each day that the pain wants to stop me from.  I’m in a war with no end, but I keep going.  I have to.  That’s what we sufferers of chronic pain do.  We keep fighting.  There is no alternative.  The alternative is giving up and letting the pain win, and that cannot happen.