Getting through a Long Day of Work with Fibromyalgia

When I got to work this morning, my boss asked me if I was ready for the deadline we had by end of day today for the proposal I’m working on.  I was like “What deadline?”  I’m in marketing and we send out two drafts of each proposal for review/comment before submitting it to a prospective client.  This proposal only had a 2-week deadline versus our usual 4 to 6 week deadline, so I figured we’d only do one review.  Well, I figured wrong. So I had to scramble to get the work done in a rough draft form.  I had to work through lunch.  I didn’t stretch as much as I needed to.

Looking back, I did pretty well until about noon today.  I usually react very poorly to surprises thanks to my fibromyalgia.   My husband can attest to me going completely nuts for a bit when something surprises me or I can’t follow my usual habits for some unexpected reason.  I manage my pain best when I can control as much of my surroundings and my day as possible.  When that control is yanked out from under my feet, I usually lose my head for a bit.  So today, in that regard, I did pretty good.  I made myself of list of the things that HAD to get done today and a focused on doing each item and then moving onto the next.

One Step at a Time

By noon though I was exhausted.  I didn’t sleep well last night. Pain in my back and neck work me up several times last night.  I’m not sure what I did to my back but it is VERY angry right now.  I had a really hard time getting out of bed to get myself ready for work today.  So today’s surprise was poorly timed.  By noon, it hurt to breathe.  My back and ribs were killing me.  Hot, spiking pain would shoot from my ribcage around to my back with every breath.  So I reverted to my old, unhealthy habits to make it through the day.  I blocked out every signal my body was sending me from the head down.  I didn’t even think about doing it or make a conscious decision to make this change.  My mind just did it itself.  I must have kicked into fight or flight mode and those primal instincts took over.  My mind blocked out the pain so I could survive the day.  I didn’t eat lunch until 1:30 when normally I eat before noon.  I couldn’t tell that I was hungry.  If I hadn’t set an alarm on my phone to remind me to take my pain medicine, I know I would’ve forgotten to do that too.

As I write this, I feel the pain slowly returning.  My adrenaline must have kicked back off because I know that’s the only way I made it through the last 4 hours.  I feel what little bit of energy I’ve had in the last few hours leaving me. My hands are shaking and it’s making it hard to type.  Thank God for spell check!  I wonder how bad a price I’m going to have to pay for letting my instincts take over and reverting to my old habits to survive the workday?  The pain usually comes back with a vengeance whenever I block it out like I did today.  We’ll see I guess.  Maybe it won’t be as bad since at least I’m aware of what I did to get through the day today.  Before, I wasn’t even aware of it.  I didn’t understand why the pain was so worse once I got home.  It’s because the wall I throw up to block out the pain signals falls when I get home, the adrenaline surge passes, and my conscious mind becomes aware of the pain and fatigue again.

By 3:30, I was done.  only a few final things were left to do and my coworker said she could do it. So I headed home.

I’m going to go lay down and listen to the music that helps to calm and relax me.  I’m going to take my heavy duty, emergency only pain medicine because I can feel the pain coming back in spades.  I’m going to need chemical help to get through this evening thanks to my survival instincts taking over at work today.

I get asked a lot how I’m able to work with fibromyalgia.  Usually, I say I’m very lucky to work somewhere that offers a 30-hour work week option. It’s not as bad working 6 hour days. Today was tough but tomorrow is a new day.

Wishing everyone a nice and as pain-free weekend as possible! Soft hugs!

2 thoughts on “Getting through a Long Day of Work with Fibromyalgia

  1. csgomez79 says:

    I don’t know how you do it. I can relate to all that you said from when I worked. I had the hardest time dealing with life’s little roadblocks and often felt unappreciated. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to go back to work and how I would balance every thing then. I hope your weekend goes better.

  2. Journaling Pain says:

    I can certainly relate. I work as a housekeeper for a senior living community and even my best days can be hard. I don’t have the luxury of 6 hour days, either. I’ve often wondered how I was able to do it and the only thing I can say is lots of prayer and pain medications.

    I have found that when I’m busy performing a cleaning chore, if I focus on God, say a prayer, sing a song, or just meditate on what I read that morning, that seems to help me get through. And I often find a few minutes here or there that seem to come available for me to sit and rest just long enough to catch my breath and get the energy to keep on going. I always thank God for those moments because I know He provides them for me.

    Yesterday my pain was really bad…we had some rain and that always makes me hurt more…so I ended up coming home from work. I decided to take an extra day to help recover so I stayed home again today and I’m glad I did.

    Hang in there and enjoy your weekend as best you can…I’ll keep you in my prayers for days of less pain ahead.

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