Masking the Pain: Living with Fibromyalgia
I have been contemplating for a while now about being so open with this part of my life; it is not easy at all. But I guess I’ll start by formally introducing myself, I am Shawnta and I have a chronic illness, fibromyalgia.
I was really ill, about a year ago, and after having every test my doctor could run, this was my diagnosis. At first, I told my doctor that I’m not claiming that, that’s only for old people. But almost a year later here I am with the same symptoms as those "old people".
The reason I decided to even start my health diary and be more open about what I experience is, simply, because I need an outlet. I know there are others suffering like I am. I wanted to start the dialogue that no one really wants to spark up. I’m hoping that this will raise awareness because people always say "just because you don't look sick then nothing is wrong with you". And that's far from the truth, for me anyway.
Sometimes the smiles you see are just to mask the pain.
So, what is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a painful chronic disease the affects the musculoskeletal system that amplifies the way the brain processes pain, often leaving the body’s pain receptors in hyperdrive. The disease causes widespread pain and in turn fatigue, sleep deprivation, and often depression.
I’ve experienced pain in my life before but never this extreme. Some days I wake up and I can’t even move to get out of my bed. Other days I just stay in bed all day because my entire body hurts so badly and the only comfort is being balled up. Along with this comes many sleepless nights. Some weeks I don’t sleep for nights at a time because I can’t get comfortable and the touch of the sheets on my skin hurt.
The most frustrating part of this unwanted gift is that it really bothers me mentally. I hate that I can wake up and feel ok... then hours later, I feel like I've been hit by a semi-truck. This disease is definitely a mood changer, like at any given moment. Some days my body is so tender to touch that I feel like I have been set on fire. Not to mention that my body reacts to any level of stress or excitement, whether good or bad. So, how do I celebrate anything or how do I grieve if need be? I literally have to triple think everything I do or want to do.
The hardest thing to do is to hide my pain from my family and friends. I have to be strong for them because I don’t want them to worry, stress or even see me like this. Most people don’t know what to do when I have a flare up or even understand what my body is experiencing.
So let’s talk about the struggle of the past few days. With the weather changing and getting cold, it has been killing me. My bones hurt most days and sometimes it hurts to simply walk. At times, I really wish I could just take my bones out until they stop hurting. To add to this pain I suffer from severe migraines and of course, I had a bad one today and could barely function.
Some nights I cry myself to sleep because I’m just tired of all the pain.
So with all of this, how do I go about my regular daily activities? Starting a company and operating half of Strut in HER Shoes? How do I work? How do I do anything? How do I stay positive and in good spirits? What can I do to make myself feel better?
Things are questions I ask myself daily.
Stay tuned and follow my journey as I share the good, the bad and the ugly about Living with Fibromyalgia .