Friday, July 15, 2011

Stress and Faith

I quickly learned when I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia, just how much stress can trigger a fibro flare up. I didn't realize until I began to conciously monitor my stress levels just how quickly sudden stressful news, a stressful situation or event can trigger a flare up. My stress flare ups tend to consist of muscle pain across my upper back/shoulders, a headache and fatigue. I can go from having a great day - feeling good - to wanting only to curl up in a ball on my couch or in bed.

It can be difficult to explain this to those arround me and more so for them to understand it. I am very lucky to have a husband who is very understanding and supportive, but I do have many family members who don't quite get it, or understand - and worse yet, friends who don't. It can be hard to explain in a way that makes sense to some of them why I suddenly have to change or cancel plans. Often times I come up with "excuses" not related to my fibromyalgia, because the "excuse" seems easier to explain and for them to understand than the truth. 

This is also difficult when it comes to work. I do hold a full time job in an office environment as well as have my own side business (photo booth rental business) which together keep me very busy. I do my best to trudge through either or both jobs during a flare up because I'm not willing to "admit defeat". I have had to call in a handful of times to my FT job because I physically could not get out of bed in the morning - but generally during a flare up, I somehow convince myself I have the energy to get out of bed, I drag myself through getting ready and exist through my day at work...not a fun day.

BUT, on the bright side of all of this, I have found that my Faith has helped me through so many stressful times, situations and events that have arose over the past couple years. I am usually able to turn the situation that is causing me stress around simply through Prayer. It is very relaxing, theraputic, uplifting and cleansing to get to the point of being able to turn the situation over to God and put the Faith I have in him to work by trusting that he will get me through it and that whatever the issue, that it is all part of his plan and his will in my life.

I know, this doesn't seem to be a method to "manage" fibromyalgia, but really, it is. One of my biggest triggers - next to gluten (will discuss another day) - is stress. Everyone has a different way of managing and dealing with stress - some might try yoga, exercise, talking, eating, drinking, or arguing - and others fall back on what they know and believe, their faith. I have found my Faith and prayer to be the fastest and best stress reliever. To anyone who might be reading this - I'm still not even sure how to find out if anyone has read or is reading it - How does stress affect you? Does it cause a fibro flare up? How have you learned to manage your stress?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Here we go....!

Hello World!

This is my very first blog entry - ever! I have decided to start a blog to share with others out there who are doing their darndest to live a full and active life despite a Fibromyalgia diagnosis. I plan to share those tips, recipes, tools, activities, etc. as well as those adventures I experience along the way.

Just a little bit about me...I am 30 years old and was "officially" diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in December 2009. I was one of the "lucky" ones - I was diagnosed by the second doctor I saw about my symptoms. I currently take gabapentin, to help with sleep, but have gone to natural options to manage other symptoms. After reading over and over about how a gluten-free diet worked for some other people, I decided it was worth a try...and to my delight, it makes a world of difference! Since going gluten-free it's like day and fatigue and all over muscle pain are greatly reduced - and let me tell you...I definitely know when I accidentally eat something that has gluten in it! Of course, a gluten-free diet would mean nothing if I wasn't able to also manage my stress levels.

Being able to manage my symptoms naturally makes all the difference in my life, I am married (with no kids yet) and work a full-time job, plus have a part-time home business. With all of this my life can at times become quite crazy, chaotic and stressful. With the help of my loving husband and our faith I have been able to keep my life "in check" or at least the things that come up in perspective to reduce stress. As most of you who have Fibromyalgia know, stress can cause a fibro flare up fast!

I have read a lot of articles, FB posts, etc. from people who have struggled with Fibromyalgia in all aspects of their lives, not just the symptoms, but also with their loved ones, friends, co-workers, doctors, etc. and my heart goes out to every single one of them. I have been blessed with a very understanding and helpful husband, family and friends who have educated themselves so they can understand why it is I might not be able to do something I had previously "committed" myself to, co-workers who are amazingly helpful, caring and who have also gone out to learn more about Fibromyalgia and have actually found natural supplements that have been helpful along my journey. I don't tell you this to make anyone feel bad - only to show that there are people out there who understand, and are willing to educate themselves so they can begin to understand what we go through day in and day out.

I hope to be able to share with everyone out there some of the recipe's I find, new information as I discover/find it and life in general (beware...I love taking pictures and cooking - so you're likely to see that in future posts). Thank you for taking the time to read and follow my posts - please feel free to comment with interesting tips, ideas, etc. that you may have found/discovered that helps you LIVE a full and active life despite Fibromyalgia!