Guest Post By Claire Collopy of clairescomfycorner.com
Being diagnosed last year with the chronic pain condition Fibromyalgia (FMS) was scary. I read as much information as I could on the internet. My future looked bleak.
For people who are in constant pain, keeping an optimistic outlook can be difficult but I was determined that I was not going to let Fibromyalgia steal my smile and sense of humor. It was not going to beat me.
My new mantra became “with pain comes strength”.
Image from clairescomfycorner.com.
Living With Fibromylagia
Unfortunately, many are still unaware of the condition or the terrible effects Fibromyalgia has on both sufferers and their families. Fibromyalgia is an invisible illness.
I may look fine on the outside. Most people look at me and think there is absolutely nothing wrong with me.
In truth, so many things are a struggle. I feel old before my time.
There is no cure for Fibromyalgia. It is a long term condition; it is chronic pain. I sometimes have good days, but it will return with a vengeance.
The pain varies in intensity from moderate to severe and I can feel it anywhere: My shoulders, neck, left arm, knees and hips are where I feel the worst pain. I have severe burning, throbbing and shooting or stabbing pains. It can consume my every thought. It’s like being a prisoner in my own body. I take opioids and other strong pain killers, but they mostly only take the edge off the pain.
Image from clairescomfycorner.com
Living with Fibromyalgia is challenging. It can affect every part of our lives—mind, body, and spirit. Fibromyalgia can interfere with our ability to carry out daily activities. I’m often so exhausted that everything becomes an effort. It’s like trudging through a muddy field because my legs feel so heavy.
Even lifting my arms is so tiring as they feel like lead weights. Despite the fatigue and exhaustion, a refreshing sleep is impossible. Whichever position I lie in, I feel such discomfort. When I finally fall asleep, the pain wakes me up again.
In the morning I’m so stiff that even getting out of bed or dressing up takes so much energy. I dread walking up and down the stairs as that alone hurts so much. I have to get up earlier than normal for work because it now takes me longer to get ready for the day ahead.
Blogging, Baking, and Carrying On With Life
I started blogging to try to keep positive and distract myself from the painful symptoms of Fibromyalgia. I blog about life with chronic pain and how I’m attempting new challenges like learning to bake, cook and even make my own laundry powder, soap and gifts.
Pure Soapmaking: How to Create Nourishing, Natural Skin Care Soaps
Learning how to make home-made soap.
These new hobbies keep me going and help me to focus beyond the pain. On my good pain days, I try them out, but my bad pain days are definitely not wasted: I plan new blogs, search for recipes and inspiration. Through blogging, I have gained courage, strength, and confidence.
The written word is truly a wonderful thing. I can record my innermost thoughts and share them with the world. Happiness is a journey, and my blog is my companion. I’ve received an overwhelmingly positive response to it and inspired others who also live with chronic pain.
Making A Happy Life
You don’t need to do much to make a happy life. It is all within yourself; in your way of thinking. Change your negative thoughts into positive ones – wipe the word “can’t” from your vocabulary and replace it with “I will try!”
Fifteen months ago, I couldn’t bake because I didn’t know how. I didn’t even have a wooden spoon! I just told people, “I can’t bake”. I didn’t even try. But I’ve turned the self-doubt around.
How? By changing my thinking. I bought a wooden spoon (and lots of baking essentials) and a book on how to bake. It’s been a wonderful experience: I’ve baked yummy cookies, a delicious cheesecake, a huge Victoria sponge, an ugly banana cake, a luscious cappuccino cake, healthy banana bites, and more.
Most of all, I discovered I can bake! Lots of people have enjoyed my baking and most importantly they haven’t needed the emergency services so far!
The last year has taught me to stay strong through difficult times. I’ve unlocked my true potential by adopting a positive outlook. I’m learning to live my life to its fullest, even with my physical limitations.
Life isn’t complicated. I can be happy or sad. I choose happiness. There is so much beauty in this world. I take time to appreciate life’s simple pleasures: coffee with a friend, a new recipe to try, the laughter of a joyful child, a snuggle with one of my cats on the sofa. All these fill my heart with joy.
What simple pleasure has filled your heart with joy today?
Keep smiling 🙂
Claire Collopy is a teacher, blogger and Fibromyalgia Warrior. You can read more about her take on life with chronic pain in Claire’s Comfy Corner.