A day in life with Fibromyalgia

The alarm goes off.

You wake up exhausted. More than you were when you went to bed.

Your body is stiff. The skin on your arms feel like there are ants all over it. On your legs it’s numb. You only feel a sharp pain going through your sciatic nerve in your left leg. Fingers in your right arm feel like there’s a drill through inside your bones. At least you think it would feel like it if bones were nerved there. 

Last night was rough. All the tossing and turning. You could not make yourself comfortable, because every position you laid caused discomfort and pain. You carefully swallowed saliva because you felt like something in your jaw is about to break. You have completely healthy teeth and nothing to fix, yet the pain is there. You just have overactive nervous system.

Getting up is a struggle. One spot on your back, slightly below the right shoulder, especially gives you a hard time. It feels like there’s a ball with metal spikes, sunk in your muscle. The exhaustion dictates you to sleep in, and get more rest.  But the efforts would be futile, and the world doesn’t stop for your convienience, so you roll off the bed.

You are lucky – you don’t have to go out anywhere today. You don’t have to wear clothes that press onto your skin and hurt you, feeling like a skinny suit made of sandpaper. You can wear comfy, loose clothes. What a relief.

You wear thick, soft socks to remove the tough feeling the floor leaves on your feet. You sit on the bed, still dizzy. Your vision becomes black, you know you have to carefully place yourself in a safe position. You had a lot of practice as to what to do when the seizing happens, you put yourself slowly to the floor, on your hands and knees, and try to keep your head from hitting anything nearby. Short, subtle electric shocks, from your head to your feet, make your body twitch few times. After few seconds you can get up and move on with your day.

In your apartment you can hear the street and neighbour constuction works. Even if not loud, constant sounds give you a massive headache. You think ‘nobody will see me anyways, if I wear sunglasses at home’. Lessening the light getting to your eyes helps with tolerating the noises. That’s why you live mostly with all your window courtains shut.

Your stomach growls. You know you should eat something. Nothing seems appetizing, as you are nauseated. You take your meds, drink a glass of water. You briefly consider all edible types of foods before deciding that you will just have some more water.

Later in the day you remind yourself that you should eat. You pick a light snack – a white toast with peanut butter and a banana. You figure it should be fairly inoffensive to your digestive track.

You can’t bring yourself to enjoy the meal. You remember you loved it at some point, but eating became a chore that requires constant strategizing to not upset your body.

Your efforts turned out futile, as you feel the acidic taste of food coming back up to your throat, the stab in the guts, the cold sweat, and chills going down your spine. You sit in one tensed position for twenty minutes, trying to not make it worse.

The pain eventually goes away. The only thing left is the discomfort, and a thought that you don’t really feel like eating anything else today.

You have some free time. You have plenty of chores to do, but you don’t have the energy to do anything productive. Your muscles feel weak, especially in your hands, you notice, as you try to open a bottle of water, or hold a glass. Your hands shake. You are cautious – once you lost control of your hands and broke a glass in your hand.

A day off, you decide. It will be okay if you do the chores tomorrow. Perhaps you will feel better by then. Maybe even you will manage to fall asleep early today, to be more refreshed in the morning.

You always think that, but you don’t know when was the last time it happened.

You look at your books. So many of them you want to read. You know that you are smart, and usually a heavy reader, yet you don’t think you can focus on anything at the moment. Having that in mind you pick one of your favorite novels, that you’ve read plenty, and it never disappoints. You make tea, grab a blanket, and lay down to read.

Eventually you give up, as the letters you see don’t form words in your head. You need to pick something else to pass the time.

You wanted to write and draw so many things these past few weeks. Your head was so busy with ideas. But right now it’s just as blank as the paper in front of you.

You have wonderful friends who just need a word, and you’ll all go somewhere nice, and talk for hours. Maybe go on a short trip. It sounds lovely, but you are so tired. Your body glues itself to the soft mattress. It hurts to lay down, but the movement is even worse. It’s okay, you will go another day. You are not fun to be around anyways. You like people to see you energetic, passionate, and strong. Not like this.

You can’t lift others when you can’t lift yourself first.

Going to the shower takes forever. You would love to just wash yourself in the sink, but your hair really needs some shampooing. The water stream will painfully hit against your skin, but maybe at least the warmth of the water will relax your tensed body a little. You stand there for few minutes, and notice your arms go numb.

It feels like an accomplishment when you’re done. A sudden spark of motivation lets you finish your skincare routine, check your calendar, write some things down, and maybe put the dishes in the dishwasher.

You decide this will have to be enough for the day. Acute, immobilizing pain stabs the left side of your chest. Your left arm hurts as well. You can’t move, and hold the position you just happened to be in, until the pain goes away few minutes later. You know it’s not a heart attack. It surely felt like one, but you remember all the times you were tested, and reassure self, there is nothing wrong with you. You just have overactive nervous system, that interprets stimuli too strongly.

The pain and its inevitability causes you stress, both mentally and bodily. Your body starts to feel even worse. More tension, more pain. You’re not dying though, nothing is happening, your stress hormone levels just grow thirty times, instead of just five to seven, causing a havoc in your system.

You try to relax. You put on a lavender incense. You love the smell. You stretch lightly for few minutes, and try to massage your sore muscles.

You bring all the pillows and soft blankets to the bed to make a nest, bring your laptop, and put on the only TV show you can bring yourself to tolerate – some stupid sitcom you’ve seen hundreds of times. You feel too dumb to watch anything else, and it doesn’t matter anyways, all you need is a distraction, a time killer. And if you feel particularly chatty and need company, you’ll just gonna play some video games with your friends. That’s your primary method for socializing, nowadays.

As you lay down you notice that your calves burn like fire. So do your fingers. You try to just enjoy the show and ignore the discomfort. It’s difficult, because you feel like your clavicles are going to be ripped away from your body. Your jaw clenches. You try to find a comfortable position to lay on your left side, so that at least your stomach doesn’t upset you. Something pulsates painfully beneath you, so you turn to other side, away from the screen, and close your eyes.

Time passes. You find yourself hungry again. You decide to make a protein shake, hoping that the liquid meal will work better. You feel nauseated, but also full. Protein shake passed the test. You feel only slight discomfort in your guts.

A bit more energized, you decide to be social. You take water, and sit to the computer to play some games. Your whole body aches as you sit up. You keep massaging your hands, because they feel like you’re an eighty years old lady after her whole life spent on handwork. You feel more stabs in the heart area, and a pressure in your lungs, that makes it hard to take a deep breath. Your heart races.

It’s nothing new, and you know nothing is wrong with your body. You just have an overactive nervous system.

You keep stretching between the games. Stretching and a deep tissue massage is the only relief you can have. Both hurt ungodly, but it’s worth the suffering. Done regularly it greatly improves your functionality.

But it cannot take the pain away.

You are exhausted. But you choose to play few more games to pass the time between now and an acceptable bed time.

When the time comes you can’t wait to go to bed and lay down in soft sheets again. You take your meds, without them you will not be able to fall asleep. Usually they take about half an hour to work.

Not now, though. You are sleepy, but the pain keeps you awake. No position is comfortable. It feels like if you move your hand or neck wrong, you’re going to injure them. Your skin everywhere feels like it’s being stung with needles. You catch your breath between the sharp pains that wander through your body.

Your jaw.

Three fingers on your right arm.

Your right foot.

Stabs in your stomach. First low and to the right, then left and high.

The sciatic nerve on your left.

Your jaw again.

For a moment it’s nothing.

Then all of sudden your chest and jaw get stabbed at the same time.

And so on.

Hours pass as you occupy yourself with listening to the TV show, and noticing parts of your body that suffer at the moment. You toss and turn to find comfort. If you find a position, it works for few minutes. Then it becomes painful, you need to look for another one again. Tensing once in a while to not make it worse.

You check your phone. It’s 3:00AM again. There goes your plan to fall asleep early.

You turn around, and eventually fall asleep. Your last thought revolves around feeling bad, that once again you won’t get up early. But right now you just want to go to bed. You are so exhausted. You hope tomorrow you will be less. Maybe you’ll finally be productive, or just do one of the things you’ve been meaning to do for a while now.

You wake up at 6:00AM when your head gets hit by pulsating pain, thanks to the sunlight and neighbourly noises. You roll over for more comfortable position. You will ignore the headache, and sleep for few more hours.

Around noon you decide it’s enough. There is no point in sleeping more.

You are exhausted anyways.

2 thoughts on “A day in life with Fibromyalgia

  1. I have fibromyalgia and I totally feel all of this!! I’ve managed to do a whole bunch of stuff to manage the pain and exhaustion and haven’t been in this place for 2 years. All of your descriptions brought me right back into those excruciating long ass days of knowing that the pain will never go away. I’m here to say that it will. Keep fighting. You are a frigging warrior and never forget that!

    Liked by 1 person

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