You can’t pour from an empty cup, but what if the cup has a hole in it? That is what it is like ” Living With Fibromyalgia”
I’ve read a lot of great articles the past 2 months about not being able to pour from an empty cup. Basically stating you need to take care of yourself first before you can take care of others. For those of us living with fibromyalgia, or any other chronic illness, the problem is the cup that we pour from has a hole in it. There are days when we can barely take care of ourselves, much less others.
Today we’re going to be talking about some tips and tools that can help you patch the hole, to fill that empty cup!
In living with fibromyalgia, the first thing I want to touch on is learning to live with in my new physical limitations. Now 38 years old, my fibromyalgia begin with exhaustion muscle pain in my legs and my lower back and I developed a sleep problem, that I know now is sleep apnea.
Before I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I went through a kind of death, the loss of a person who I once was. I was not as active, or pleasant to be around as I once was. I was tired all the time and could not understand why was in pain.
I began looking for answers, in the worst possible places. Asking friends, reading unknown and unverified blog posts, doing random Google searches, and of course never thinking to actually speak to a medical professional.
Once I broke down and went to the doctors, to receive my fibromyalgia diagnosis, I found I had to find a new way to live. Fibromyalgia is not something that has a quick cure.
Armed with this information, I wanted to share with you some ways I have found that have helped me and living with fibromyalgia.
In learning to live with in your new physical limitations, can definitely take patience. This can be a hard struggle both physically and psychologically! The best thing I have found to help you with this, it’s called biofeedback. It is a basic meditation technique, that can help calm the pain, and the mental suffering that comes with living with fibromyalgia.
Now by mental suffering, that means it is time for a huge attitude adjustment. Which leads right into our second tip. It became very clear to me, in the early days of living with fibromyalgia, that I could live with depression caused by chronic pain and fatigue, or I could step up and do something about it.
By doing your best to find a good balance of activity, rest, and exercise comma I have personally found that focusing on symptom reduction, rather than symptom eradication made it easier to focus on having a better attitude, leading me out of depression.
As an example in living with fibromyalgia, this weekend my wife and I have a wedding on Friday night, a birthday party on Saturday for dear friend, and another birthday party on Sunday. We may not make all these events, but these are not events we have to go to. These are events that we get to go to. It can be an exhausting weekend, if we allow it to overwhelm us, feeling like we have to be at each then for our friends.
But by focusing on the positive, and the fact that we can do, and choosing to do them to spend time with people we value, makes a huge difference in the expenditure of energy. I look at it this way, instead of saying: “I could go to the party but I am in pain.” I now say: “I can go to the party and I am in pain.”
Either way I’m going to be in pain, so I can be depressed about it or I can go out and seek enjoyment in life. As long as I live within my limitations. Perhaps I won’t stay as long as I used to, but I will still be there and present in the moment with my friends.
The next tip I have for you, is to use a daily timer. What I mean by this is to schedule your activities, in 15 or 30 minute increments and then take a 10 to 15 minute break. I know many of us who can no longer work 9 to 5 jobs, however we can work a limited part-time schedule, as long as we know what are new limitations are.
In living with fibromyalgia, and in learning how to use a timer, I am able to pace my activities in such a way that I will not burn myself out, or set off a fibromyalgia pain flare.
I will cover many other tips in upcoming articles, however for now I want to close on what I believe is one of the biggest tips I can give you for living with fibromyalgia. And that is one simple word, acceptance.
I have learned that there are many benefits of accepting my new life with fibromyalgia. I’m focused more on my daily health, I know when I’m feeling better not to overdo or try to catch up on past activities, as that may push me into a flare. When I focus on my daily health I feel better, I can do more, in on a daily basis everything in my life seems to work better.
Now I know some of you are reading this and going; What about when a flare hits?
Pain and/or exhaustion flares, are part of the acceptance of living with fibromyalgia. It’s going to happen no matter what we do, however as I said at the top of this article we cannot pour from an empty cup.
In learning a new way of living with fibromyalgia, focus on acceptance, daily health, and a positive mental attitude. These are just some of the few ways you can patch the hole, in that empty cup to fill it for yourself and to let it overflow into the life of others.