By NJR ZA (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) via Wikimedia Commons
By Wendy Burnett
It’s that time of the year again. Thanksgiving, Christmas, cooking, shopping, decorating, parties and other holiday activities can lead to over-doing things. Throw in the expectations (and demands) of family and friends and you get higher stress levels, too. Add it all together, and you get the perfect recipe for a serious flare, which can totally ruin your the season for you.
It doesn’t have to happen though. There are dozens of ways to cope with the holidays, and I’ve collected five posts and articles full of helpful tips for simplifying your celebrations, pacing yourself, and coping with the physical and emotional stresses of the season. Continue reading Top 5 Posts: How to Prevent Holiday Flares »
What do you pay attention to in your life? Is it the 5 people who say, “I hope your pain levels drop soon,” or the one who makes a nasty comment like, “fibromyalgia doesn’t exist, you just don’t want to have to work like the rest of us?” (Yes, I’ve actually had someone say that to me.)
I’m going to tell you something you already know, and you’re likely to think I’m sort of nuts until you read a little further.
You can only see the things you look at.
Yes, it sounds stupidly obvious, of course if you don’t look at it you can’t see it, but there’s a point to this statement that is directly related to living as well as possible with your chronic illnesses. It took me a LOT of years to make the connection (I’m a little slow,) and I’m hoping I can help you catch on a little quicker than I did. Continue reading Where is Your Attention Focused?: Positive Thinking for the Chronically Ill »
Credit: Free images from acobox.com
By Wendy Burnett
When I was in therapy, my therapist used to tell me I was comparing my “insides” to everyone else’s “outsides.” (Thanks Ginny, it took me a while, but I finally get it.) Intellectually, I understood what she was saying, but I never really “felt” it until recently.
What gave me the push I needed was one day when I was still working fast food. One of the people I was working with said she envied me and wished she had a life like mine . . . My immediate thought was, “darlin, if you knew what my life is really like, you wouldn’t want it.” That’s when it really connected for me.
She only saw what I let her see, the cheerful, funny me with the great friends and strong marriage. Continue reading Are You Comparing Your Insides to Everyone Else’s Outsides? »
Image by chadly via Flickr
By Wendy Burnett
When you have a chronic invisible illness, one of the hardest things to deal with is the lack of understanding from your family, friends, and co-workers. “Normals” (those without chronic illnesses) have only had illnesses that last a few days or weeks, then go away; so when they see you on a “good” day, they think you’re “getting better.”
If your friends see you out shopping one day, and then the next day when they ask you to go to lunch, or help with something; and you can’t because the shopping wore you out, they get angry or think you’re “faking.” After all, you were fine yesterday. Continue reading 3 Ways to Explain Your Chronic Illness to Family & Friends »
According to a recently released research study (Mortality in fibromyalgia: An 8,186 Patient Study Over 35 Years,) having fibromyalgia increases the chance that someone will commit suicide. I don’t understand exactly how much the risk increases, since the study provides an odds ratio rather than relative risk, but the simple fact that suicide is more likely is frightening enough. (The risk of accidental death was also higher in the fibromyalgia patients, which I’m guessing is at least partially related to “fibro fog” issues like forgetting whether you’ve taken your meds and accidentally taking an overdose.)
I totally understand why this is true, since my fibro has frequently triggered suicidal depressions for me, for various reasons. When I was first diagnosed, the total lack of understanding and support from my then-husband, combined with the lack of anyone in my life who DID understand and the terror of facing a life of pain and disability; threw me into a months long depression that only grew deeper as I dealt with the losses that came with the illness. I spent hours every day wishing I could die, and knowing that the fibromyalgia wouldn’t kill me.
There have been many more depressions since then, most related to the fibromyalgia in some way, even when it wasn’t the direct cause. The most recent one started 3 YEARS ago, Continue reading Fibromyalgia Increases Suicide Risk – Chronic Illness, Stress, and Depression Part II »
Depression has been a huge part of my life for so long that if it was suddenly taken away, I honestly wouldn’t know how to live. Even on the good days, it’s a constant, hovering just beneath the surface, waiting for the tiniest gap to escape through.
Peel an onion, and separate the layers. Take a good look at that delicate, transparent membrane between them; at how thin it is, how easily it’s torn. Something like that membrane is all that separates me from the depression that lives inside me like a monster, waiting its chance to tear through and eat every bit of happiness, every bit of hope, and every bit of energy I have.
Although I’ve been diagnosed as bipolar (accurately, I think;) my depressions tend to be situational depressions, not bipolar depressions. It may sound like semantics, or even denial, but there really is a major difference between the two. Continue reading Chronic Illness, Stress and Depression »
I got REALLY lucky a few weeks ago, and won a copy of FibroWHYalgia in a drawing on Living It, Loving It. I was THRILLED, because I knew it would be forever before I could afford to buy a copy. I drove everyone in the house nuts asking if it had come yet . . . until finally, it did (it seemed like forever, but was actually only about 5 days.)
I read it in about 2 days, and I keep going back and rereading different sections. I absolutely love this book . . .
Sue has done an excellent job of describing the difficulties so many have getting diagnosed, sharing her personal story in a way that resonates with the experience of those who spent years being told there was nothing wrong with them. Continue reading FibroWHYalgia – A Must Read for Anyone Who Wants to Improve Their Fibro »
According to a newly released research study (Mortality in fibromyalgia: An 8,186 Patient Study Over 35 Years ), having fibromyalgia increases the chance that someone will commit suicide. I don’t understand exactly how much the risk increases, since the study provides an odds ratio rather than relative risk, but the simple fact that suicide is more likely is frightening enough. (The risk of accidental death was also higher in the fibromyalgia patients, which I’m guessing is at least partially related to “fibro fog” issues like forgetting whether you’ve taken your meds and accidentally taking an overdose.)
I’d been wondering about this subject, since I’ve been dealing with some serious flare issues lately, and have caught myself thinking, “please just let me die and stop hurting,” quite a bit. Continue reading Fibromyalgia Increases Risk of Suicide »
We don’t say it often enough, do we? Thank you . . . Two simple words, but it can be so hard to remember to say them. Not for the big stuff, we usually remember when someone gives us something big, but how often do we remember when someone listens to us? How often do we thank our friends for just being there for us; for listening, for understanding, and for giving us the strength to keep going when all we want to do is curl up and die?
I know I don’t tell my friends how much I appreciate them nearly enough, so when I found out that the new PFAM blog carnival topic is “the nicest thing(s) anyone has done for you since you became ill,” I decided it was time for some “thank yous.”
I have a LOT of friends, both real life and online, and they’ve done TONS of nice things for me. I’ve been given computers, and televisions, and a home; I’ve had friends lend me heating pads, and cook dinner on my night to cook, and give me rides to work. . .
My wonderful friends have done more for me than I could ever repay if I had a million years to do it in; but the best thing they’ve ever done is just listened to me when I needed to talk about how bad I felt, how scared I was, and even when I was suicidal. Continue reading The Best Friends in the World »
Some of the fireworks I missed while in the hospital.
I just had the most awful holiday weekend EVER, thanks to my fibromyalgia, not having had insurance in two years, and the prejudice in the medical field against those living with chronic pain.
I got up last Friday(July 2) to start getting ready for work, and started passing huge amounts of fresh, liquid (and very red) blood. Naturally enough, that scared the hell out of me, and when it happened for the fourth time in an hour-and-a-half, I called in sick and headed to the emergency room at our local hospital. Since I wasn’t sure if it was related to one of my pre-existing conditions, and the insurance through my husband’s job doesn’t cover those for another couple of weeks (they have one of those clauses that says they won’t pay claims related to anything that was diagnosed before your coverage started for the first twelve months,) I went to the charity/teaching hospital, just in case it turned out not to be covered.
My first mistake was having the hubby drop me off, rather than calling an ambulance, assuming that even as a walk-in patient I would be seen within a reasonable length of time. (I guessed that it would take three to four hours to see a doctor, since I was bleeding, but it wasn’t VISIBLE. Boy was I ever wrong.) I arrived at the ER at approximately 2 PM Friday afternoon, and was FINALLY moved to a treatment room at 3 AM Saturday morning. That’s THIRTEEN hours of sitting in the waiting room, hoping I wouldn’t bleed to death before they got around to seeing me and watching people who came in after I did get treated and released because they didn’t need a “trauma room.” Continue reading Hospitals, Unfamiliar Doctors, and Fibromyalgia: What’s Your Experience? »