Help For Making Decisions and Moving Forward With Fibromyalgia

Making a serious decision like moving into a new home or changing careers is stressful – even if you don’t have a chronic illness. But for those with fibromyalgia, dealing with chronic pain and fatigue can turn a common milestone into an insurmountable barrier. It’s hard to avoid such looming questions as: Will I make the right choice? How do I move forward without endangering my health?

Sylvia Lippmann, certified life coach and author of Don’t Let Chronic Illness Stand in Your Way: The Coach Approach to Reaching Your Full Potential, offers useful strategies that can help make a major change both easier to contemplate and less intimidating to begin.

Think Before You Act

Consider all aspects of a decision and what the choices are before you proceed. To get to the most workable solution:

  • Consider your options. Lippmann calls this the ‘what if I do/what if I don’t’ technique. Sit quietly and visualize what your life would be like if you made one choice instead of another. Try your decision on for size and mentally live in that perspective. Then visualize what your life would be like if you didn’t make that choice.
  • Do a values reality check. Another way to ease the decision-making process is to identify what your philosophy of life and core values are and consider how your options support them. These are the bright, bold words that speak volumes about you: Beauty. Creativity. Nature. Adventure. Challenge. Come up with a list of some of your core values, and ask yourself if your decision takes you closer or further away from these ideals. Use them as your guide.
  • Weigh the pros and cons. Make a list of the advantages and disadvantages of a particular course of action. It may sound simple but it really does work. Seeing these things written down can be very powerful, and may help you to address your fears. “A big part of that list is the impact each action might have on your health and your energy levels,” says Lippmann. “Energy is huge with fibromyalgia.” For each item, ask yourself how will this affect my energy reserves? Will my decision fuel or drain me?

Move Ahead as Planned

Once you have a general overview, you’ll need a strategy that addresses how you’ll manage your health while carrying out your plan of action. It will be helpful at this stage to

  • Know your needs. Start by squashing those self-defeating beliefs such as “If I rest, people are going to think I’m weak and just giving into my illness.” With fibromyalgia, self-care, both physical and emotional, is key – and there’s no reason to feel guilty about taking breaks when you need them.
  • Make a plan. Your best bet is to set up a daily routine and fit it into your day. Make a list of things you need to do every morning, afternoon, and evening to manage your illness effectively. Schedule in your naps, exercise, stretching – whatever you know you need to do to feel well. With a plan in hand, you’ll avoid wondering and worrying when (or if) you’ll have time to take care of yourself when the situation changes and things gets hectic.
  • Be realistic. It’s a good idea to come to terms with the fact that there will definitely be things you won’t be able to do. Leave enough time so that accommodations can be made. Know your boundaries and don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help.

Go Forward Fearlessly

Once you’ve made your decision, it helps to be positive as you move ahead. And you’ll also need to be sensible about your health and realistic about the limits of your endurance so that the process will go as smoothly as possible. It will help if you:

  • Recognize red flags. It’s important to build up trust and confidence in your ability to take care of yourself. Recognizing your body’s signals that you’re pushing yourself too far is an integral part of managing your fibromyalgia. Signals can range from greater fatigue to upper body pain to other sensations that you know mean trouble.
  • Do regular health checks. To avoid paying dearly – healthwise – for overdoing it, Lippmann suggests making a habit of checking in with yourself mentally and physically at regular intervals throughout the day. Rate your level of pain and fatigue on a 1 to 5 scale. If either one is above a 3, take a break or stop until the next day. It’s all about pacing yourself and avoiding the push-crash cycle.
  • Know your goals are possible. Most important, says Lippman, is to remember that the way you approach and accomplish tasks may have to change when you have fibromyalgia, but you’ll still be able to fulfill your life’s purpose. Her inspirational message: There’s always another way.
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Strategies for Making Decisions and Moving Ahead When You Have Fibromyalgia

A Pain In The Rear

Oh what a looooooong night.  So, what caused me to be up most of the night this time?  A pain in the butt that’s what!  So, there is what is called fibro tender spots and while right now they are all active the one that is causing the most OUCH is the left upper buttock one.  Alright the “technical term” for this spot is (hang on have to see how to spell it is,..Supraspinatus) Oh, but no it’s not just tender to touch it’s shooting massive amounts of nerve pain (thank you neuralgia).  So I get the lovely combination of both fibro and neuralgia, that just is not nice!

Let me see if I can describe what I am feeling here.  Hmmm, (thinking) have you ever been shocked before?  Okay, so multiply that 10 fold but not just a quick ZAP but a continuous zapping one right after the other and then it “kinks”.  It literally makes me jump from the owie.  Now, on to how the tender point feels…ever have a really bad bruise that if you even brush it with something it hurts?  Okay, that is how the spot feels.  Like a mushy, sore bruise.

This is the day where I walk around all day long saying ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?! So, walking makes it worse, sitting makes it be stupid; what to do, what to do, I have no clue!

Well regardless of how I feel as always I wish everyone else a wonderful pain free day…that is our goal right?


Moving Day With Fibro

Moving to a new home is stressful under any circumstances for a healthy person and I truly do not think there’s anyone who “likes or loves to move”.  Well, at least I’ve yet to meet someone that does, until then that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.   However, I will state for the record that I HATE (and I don’t like to use that word) moving!  I tell my friends whom I adore that if you ever need help moving please don’t count on me to help.  Hey, I’m honest.

Now, with having Fibro, moving terrifies me.  Why?  Because I KNOW the outcome will be days laid out on the couch with screaming pain.  My husband Rick and I just had to move due to a traumatic experience that caused us to have to move from our apartment.  When we moved to our apartment originally we swore we would not do it again for years but due to the event that was experienced, we had to.  So, this past week we did just that.

This time we decided to hire a moving company to come and take care of the huge bulk of the move and hire cleaners to go into the old place so we didn’t have to.   It was well worth the price. See, my husband too has his own issue of polycythemia and his job is highly, physically demanding and he didn’t want to move our home either.  Can’t say as I blame him one bit and in fact I was worried about him even attempting it on his own.

However, even with having movers and cleaners I still did  a lot.  There is still unpacking to do, getting everything put in it’s place, pictures hung etc.  We are on day 3 of our move and I hurt so bad I could cry.  Okay, actually I have cried, even screamed on a couple of occasions.  I haven’t even been dressed in real clothes since we moved into this new place.  The thought of getting dressed alone was enough to make me fall over.

I used to be so OCD with getting things put away as fast as possible and everything in it’s place.  Ya, well ok, whatever, and can I just say NOT SO MUCH. I’ve learned that those boxes will get unpacked just not at the pace I would love to have them taken care of.  They will get there and things will be in place, just a bit slower.  FM over the years is teaching me patience about what is and is not as important as what I once thought was.

So, now as I lay on the couch with my ever trusty lap top, licking my ‘wounds’ I just have to take it one day at a time, a little at a time and rest a lot and HOPE they pain subsides soon…like yesterday soon lol.