Don’t judge a book by it’s cover

I’m pretty sure you heard the adage “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” before. Most of us apply it’s wisdom in many different situation, but when it comes to invisible illnesses those words are often forgotten.

Invisible illness
Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

Although I might look great today, remember that pain is something you can’t see and each person feels it differently. You cannot judge someone’s pain by their image or appearance.

Chronic pain and chronic diseases are often invisible. I’ve experienced firsthand on a number of occasions just how cruel and intimidating people can be, when they feel they have the right to challenge my invisible illnesses. Or how clueless others can be when they come to you about their regular aches looking for support as if it compared to an incurable disease and excruciating pain that never goes away.

What they don’t get is that the bad parts, the pain, the struggles, all that stuff goes on privately. Just because you can not see it, does not mean that I am not in pain.

I choose to fight for my life. Not just to survive, but to live. That is, by far, the hardest battle.

Flareups can cause an anxiety attack

The only thing that’s certain about fibromyalgia is that it’s unpredictable. When you have flareups of symptoms it can cause you to have an anxiety attack. It can make you feel like you are choking and shaking all over and every touch feels like you’ve been hit by a baseball bat.

What can cause flareups?

There are numerous things that can cause fibromyalgia flareups and sometimes it’s impossible to figure what happened. Here are the top 5 things that cause flareups:

  1. Menstrual periods;
  2. Change in temperature;
  3. Stress;
  4. Sickness, such as a cold;
  5. Activity.

Why does flareup cause anxiety attacks?

I personally get anxiety attacks because I fear the consequence of a flareup.

  • Will I lose my job because I’m taking another unscheduled day off?
  • How bad is this flareup going to be?
  • How long will this extra pain last?

I try to meditate and calm my breathing. I try to remind myself that this is something that is happening to me outside of my control and not something that I am responsible for.

Don’t quit

No matter what is your situation in life, whether you are fighting a chronic illness or mental illness or both, life can sometime feel like a burden and each day can feel like a challenge.

My struggle often makes it a challenge just to get myself to work in the morning and it can feel as if each interaction is a struggle. Each word you speak is a drain on my supply of energy.

Like most people, I have a sense of accomplishment when I finish what I start. This used to be a lot easier before mental and physical health issues made a permanent home in my body. I am still fighting never give up never surrender.

“You might be sad because you’ve been through a lot, but you should also be proud of yourself for being strong enough to make it through it.” – Unknown

Menstrual Cycle & Fibromyalgia

This comes from my own observation only and not from actual medical research. Every time I start my time of the month, I get really bad migraines and my Fibromyalgia flares up. Pain hits another heightened level.

Last night I was waken up by a migraine only to realize that I had no migraine medicine left. I remembered that my sleeping pill have a migraine pain agent in them and took another one. I slept until noon because of this, but the most intense part of the migraine attack is gone. Now all that is left is extreme muscle pain, exhaustion (yep, still tired even after over 14 hours of sleep) and no will to do anything. Thank goodness it’s the weekend.

Understanding migraines

A migraine is characterized by headaches that can be very intense and last from four hours to several days. Headaches are often accompanied by nausea, dizziness, visual disturbances and hypersensitivity to noise or light. During a migraine your head throbs, and you may feel sick to your stomach and throw up. Some people are so sensitive to light and sound during a migraine that they have to turn out all the lights and lie down in a darkened room until their headache goes away.

I once had to be driven back home from work because my migraine got so bad I became blind.

In cases of a chronic migraine, seizures take place more than 15 days a month. That’s definitely my case. I have miracles pills that help a lot, but I still have to take them regularly. If it wasn’t for them, I would be able to function.

Migraines affect about 850 million people. This is one of the most incapacitating conditions in the world.

Sleep apnea (which I also have) also causes migraines. The most obvious connection between sleep apnea and migraines is related to stress. This is very obvious for patients who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea since they wake up numerous times each night. Insomnia leads to irritability and ultimately stress, which is the most common migraine trigger.

Between 50% and 70% of people with fibromyalgia get headaches, according to The American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association.

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