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?