Recent Posts

Trying to have a life and fibromyalgia gets in the way, sometimes

So I’m due at a 3 day festival this weekend.  I have a nice warm comfy camper to sleep in but the constant rain does cause havoc on my already fragile spine and fibromyalgia.  Last year was torrential rain and flooding for the whole weekend.  At this moment I don’t want to go I am so fatigued I hurt all over, even blinking hurts and writing this on my phone hurts.  I have 0 energy and today I spent my lunch break laid in the back of my camper in the car park at work just with my eyes closed resting.


The fatigue is crippling.  The constant rain is making my nervous system very over sensitive and I just want to curl up in bed for a couple of days.

I went to a gig at the weekend and I was having a great time watching a band I bought my husband tickets for last Christmas but I was overconfident and drank more than my upper limit of 3 beers and the 7 hour round trip has given me crippling fatigue, muscle and body aches and an awful headache.  I cannot make conversation and nothing is easing the pain.  It always takes 2 days to kick in.

I have to go to London for 2 days for work tomorrow and quite frankly I’m dreading it as I’m already feeling like I have the flu, I don’t it’s a flare up.

I need to focus my mind, think positive, it will pass.  I know I can do the festival I just need to do it on my terms.  Thankfully we have a couple of friends coming with us to keep my husband entertained so I can have plenty of rest.

No one knows how fatigue feels with fibro it’s like just starting off with flu and having the worst hangover ever and you also fell downstairs the day before so you feel bruised all over and it hurts to touch skin, I reckon that sums it up.  

It takes an hour to get in the bath that someone else to run for you then you have to rest after you’ve had a bath as your energy has gone ­čśé

So I’m going to get straight into bed and do some mindfulness and get focused.  Mind over matter.  I can get through London think of it as a mini break and the festival a holiday!! 

I can then moan some more next week and feel sorry for myself even more!

Anxiety, Depression and Fibromyalgia 

Apart from fatigue anxiety is second on my worst symptom list, certain activities make it worse and I think I’ve finally figured out why, from my personal experiences.  When I am getting ready to go out, see family, go out for a meal or whatever we obviously have emotions of maybe anticipation or excitement etc and think with over fibromyalgia our over stimulated nervous system confuses these feelings and we internally confuse these feeling into feelings of anxiety.  I get panicky, breathless, heart racing and anxious.  Once you recognise this pattern it can be controlled.  Don’t let these feelings stop you from going out and living, it may feel easier just not to go out but then we are giving in to this condition.  Recognising the symptoms, learn not to fight it, but use relaxation techniques and deep breathing helps. 

What I have also noticed is that the sensory over load from loud music and busy places can also cause anxiety.  I had to run out of a friends house the other week as the music was too loud.  

I tend to use ear plugs now that are especially made for noise reduction.  You can still hear conversations but it cuts out the bass and loudness. 


Depression is a part of fibromyalgia caused by the loss of your previous pre-fibromyalgia life, loss of friends, suffering constant pain, stiffness, anxiety, itching, skin sensitivity, food and chemical sensitivity.  I stopped taking anti depressants last year and thought I was coping well but it hit me like a train.  I asked the doctor to go back on them but at a reduced dosage of 20mg instead of 30mg.  I feel so much happier.  It’s well researched that a low dose of anti depressants increases serotonin and can reduce pain.  Why do you think doctors prescribe Amitrypyline for pain relief at night.  I don’t use this medication as the side effects were not worth the positives of taking the medicine.  Read here for more info 


All medication cause side effects as they are designed to change how we think and feel so always weight up the positives against the negatives and make your own decisions. DO NOT TAKE MEDICATIONS JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE RECOMMENDED.  Not all doctors understand Fibromyalgia they are General Practitioners not fibro experts.  I gave up several medications last year and I can categorically state my symptoms have reduced.  It’s a personal choice so make sure you do your research and always give meds a minimum of 2 months to get the full effect. 

Citalopram and Fibromyalgia study here. 

Emotions Impact Pain

I never understood the impact of emotions on pain until I studied for my hypnotherapy diploma back in 2013 and then took a pain management diploma last year.  I also didn’t realise how changeable pain is, it isn’t constant and it is controlled by our brain.

When people have a bad accident the emotional state of the patient is critical to recovery which is why medics often give high doses of medicines such as ketamine to relax the patient so that they don’t really know what is happening, reducing the chances of going into shock.

When I went for spinal surgery I was quite emotional knowing it was a 5 hour procedure with a high risk of paralysis or nerve damage, I was shaky and trying to be brave but my consultant and surgical team understood how I was feeling.  They gave me IV Ketamine as they were setting up my heart monitors and getting the operating table ready as I had to lay face down for my operation, I did not care what they were doing to me I laughed hysterically as the drug took effect then fell unconscious, meaning I was not stressed at all whilst they were putting me to sleep.

After surgery I began to notice that the more I fought (in my mind) not actually fighting anyone ­čśéwith the pain that came with developing fibromyalgia and recovering from surgery, the worse it got.

Fibromyalgia increases nervous system sensitivity as well as other other important roles it controls the messages that travel to and from our brain for pain management.  Have you noticed that when you’re sad, upset or in another ‘negative’ mood that pain feels worse, but if someone makes you laugh or you spot something that makes you smile inside the pain reduces, even if it’s a brief respite?  Have you noticed that when you wake up happy and the sun is shining that you wake up feeling less stiff and in less pain?  You might be saying to yourself ‘no’ but you do I assure you, it might not be for long but you will. 

I want you to try something for me, the next time you are feeling happy, are laughing, maybe you’re outside with your family having fun, just stop and do a mental scan of your body and compare it to when you have been in a ‘negative’ mood and I promise you your symptoms will feel much better, reduced, maybe give even forgotten about them!!

This does not mean it’s all in your head, pain is controlled through a complex system involving our nervous system which travels up to our brain through our spinal cord and how the pain is felt depends on the individual, emotions, past memories etc.  Some people can handle lots of pain.  Before my operation my twisting spine was very painful but I still went to work and the gym for 18 months and I had to have my painkillers increased to 20-25 a day until I begged the doctor to do something as none of them worked anymore and fentanyl was looking like the next option and no way was I quitting my job!! But now one little episode of pulling my back, a headache, banging my arm or whatever can quickly become so intense I can end up paralysed in pain or hysterical.

I had a very stressful weekend once dealing with some inappropriate behaviour of some I knew last year and the stress brought on a panic attack, something I’ve not had since I was 17.  I developed a migraine that was so painful I could not see, had to sit in the dark, my heart rate and blood pressure were off the chart.  No medication helped and the ambulance service rushed me to hospital for a potential brain scan.  I was horrified and embarrassed when we realised it was nothing more than a migraine.  Only the 3rd time I’ve ever had one and they had never been that painful, welcome to fibro.

Painkillers are a band aid for pain. Some are very effective but the brain gets used to them and more or stronger versions are needed, not a viable long term strategy for chronic pain.  My painful twisting spine was resolved with surgery but Fibromyalgia is in a league of its own as there is NO cure and not a pill that will keep the symptoms successfully under control long term.  

The nervous system is complex, feel free to read more about how it works here. I not only talk from being a qualified hypnotherapist and pain management therapist but someone who has Fibromyalgia.  I believe the messages/chemicals that are supposed to travel back from our brain to our nerves during pain do not work properly and no operation or pill is going to cure such a complex system.  Even if they did invent something to help at what cost would this be to our health.  All medications give side effects as they change our mind and bodies state.


I know some of you are desperate for a cure and hate having this condition and let me be honest I’d give a limb if I thought I could get rid of it but I can’t.  So I do the next best thing and accept it is part of me, fibro will never go away and me and my fibro (I’m thinking of giving it a pet name) have to coexist and get on.  Like you might have to with a naughty sibling or a demanding irritating boss at work.

Learn from your experiences; the most powerful skill you can learn is how to control pain, how to reduce the length of time a flare up lasts and how you react to both of these! 

My flare ups are rare and they don’t last longer than the same day they occur as I use my mind to help me get through it.  I can’t stop all flare ups as I want to live, I want to work, I want to go out with my family and I want to have holidays, but I can change how I feel about them.

My top tips for dealing with pain:-

  • Remember it will pass, pain changes and is not constant, it is like a volume control on a radio and you can change it in any direction you want.
  • Stay positive, if you are struggling then have a good cry and then do something to make you laugh.
  • Exercise helps and reduces pain long term whilst releasing endorphins like a natural anti depressant.
  • Stay away from fibromyalgia support pages that focus on negativity as this will NOT help you at all.  
  • Try yoga, not once but every day for just 5-10 minutes.  Have you ever met a miserable unhappy yoga teacher?  No of course not.  It’s relaxing and gives you focus and mental clarity.
  • Only temporarily increase painkillers then cut back asap.  Remember these are not the solution, they are a band aid.
  • Listen to music, meditate, undertake self hypnosis to lift your mood, clear your head, take you to your happy place ­čśŐ
  • This last one might sound crazy but I actually use my headspace app and focus my breathing through the area that hurts and it changes the pain.

One last thing do not sit and stew about the pain as this will feel increase the pain.  Talk to someone and if you haven’t got anyone you are more than welcome to talk to me ­čśü

Fatigue and fibromyalgia 

I have to be honest fatigue and anxiety are two of my most crippling symptoms at the moment.  I have had a busy weekend with a motorbike lesson Saturday morning, loading up the campervan for camping and unloading on return then I went out on my motorbike 3 miles to watch a stunt show for 2 hours.  Monday I felt great, Tuesday and Wednesday morning I have felt by far the worse I have ever felt in terms of fatigue.

I open my eyes and the stiffness and pain is extreme I feel it in every part of my body all over my skin, like I’m severely bruised, I cry lots more out of frustration I guess.  I struggle out of bed and it takes me between 90-120 minutes of waiting for my tramadoland the caffeine from my coffee to kick in.  I hate this feeling more than anything it’s horrible, getting into work is a massive struggle, today I have booked a days annual leave as I don’t even have the energy to get up.  I’ve been laid in bed for 3 hours now!!

Fatigue is a difficult one it’s all about pacing and you have to keep a diary of activities to learn how much you can do and when to rest to reduce fatigue flare ups, fatigue never kicks in straight away it takes my body 48-72 hours for it to kick in but when it does it floors me.  It’s a frustrating experience as I really had fun with my family this weekend and now I am paying the price.

Tips for controlling fatigue which I do not always follow hence why I am feeling ill today:-

  • Learn pacing; this means stretching out activities over a longer period.  I’ll give you an example I used to hoover the whole house in one go, now I have a lightweight rechargeable hoover and I do a room a night.  
  • Find easier ways to do things.  All my shopping is done online and delivered, any other essentials are fetched by my daughter and husband
  • Hire a cleaner or ask a family member or friend to help.  I am a proper clean freak so clutter and dirt stress me out so I pay my daughter a wage to clean.
  • Find ways to rest and this does not necessarily mean go to sleep, napping messes up your sleep health.  It means finding a way to relax which could be watching tv, reading a book, doing some crafts, sitting in the sun, etc etc
  • Meditate, get on the sofa and put on a YouTube and look up mindfulness meditation close your eyes, switch off your phone and follow the instructions.
  • If you are feeling down then have a good cry and get it out your system then move on, it’s my favourite way of getting all the frustration out!  Don’t let it ruin your day!
  • Stay positive, focus on what you have and what you can do not what you can’t.  I know this is hard but life is beautiful and when fatigue kicks in it’s overwhelming but we all have great things in our life even if it’s just the blue sky and sun today.
  • Keep telling yourself it will pass because it always does.  If needs be write it down ‘it will pass’ on an A4 sheet of paper and stick it on the wall to remind you.
  • Increase your painkillers to help you get through the flare up but remember to reduce back down or you could end up on a slippery slope of ever increasing pain meds.
  • Take a hot bath, not a shower and use magnesium flakes as they soak in your skin, at first you will itch and go redbut as your magnesium levels increase in your body this will stop.
  • Eat healthier than ever before, poor diet choices will increase fatigue.
  • Do not drink any alcohol as this will make you feel worse!!  The alcohol turns to sugar and is toxic to your liver it will only prolong the fatigue.
  • Get a massage it releases and removes toxins in the body and you will feel the benefit later on in the day.
  • Go and sit in the sun and top up your vitamin D levels naturally.
  • Remember your vitamins.
  • Talk to someone about how you feel, sharing your experience helps.  Why do you think I have my fibro page I need you more than you need me!!

Take a look at this site it’s got great tips and logs to help you plan living with fibro here 

Fibromyalgia in women and the menstruation cycle

I promised you all on my Facebook page to write an honest account of how fibromyalgia can interfere with our natural menstruation cycle.  So for all you men reading this it is not for you ­čśé

Before I was formally diagnosed with fibromyalgia but after I had my major back surgery I noticed some differences to how I felt physically and mentally during the run up to my menstrual cycle:-

  • Over emotional (even worse than normal)
  • Increased depression where I would cry for days so much my eyes would swell up
  • Increase in lower back ache and stomach cramps to the point I’d be doubled over, have to go to bed, use a hot water bottle and take morphine pills.  Work or any activities would be out of the question, thankfully this only last 48 hours
  • Irritable bowel for 2-3 days prior
  • Increase in headaches
  • Heavier periods
  • Insomnia for 1-2 nights where I get absolutely no sleep at all
  • High end fever ­čĄĺ 

All of these symptoms were troublesome and one month I was in excruciating pain and was sent straight to hospital with a suspected appendicitis I ended up in A&E for 6 nights. I was waiting for an internal ultrasound and cat scan, it must have cost more to keep me in the bed and fed than to just get the tests done!!

The result was a small cyst which the NHS refused to move as they said it was too small, my pleading was ignored as I explained even a tiny cyst in Fibromyalgia can cause immense pain.  I was sent home with about 4 different meds for pain relief and laxatives!! Brilliant ­čśé­čśé

Anyway I ended up going private and having endometriosis confirmed by having a laparoscopy, this was removed along with the cyst and I went on the cerelle pill for 6 months even though my husband had the snip.  It worked my monthly cycle has now reduced to how it was before I developed fibromyalgia!!

The moral of the story is that yes our menstruation symptoms cab increase through Fibromyalgia and we have to find ways of dealing with these BUT if the symptoms are so severe they impact on your quality of life then please please see your doctor and get checked out for problems in your reproductive area.  My endometriosis was stuck in my bowel and I lost 10lbs in weight and could not work, I went back to normal once I’d had my operation.

The great thing about having Fibromyalgia I believe is that it alerts you to ‘other’ problems at an early enough stage as pain is dramatically increased and you know your body better than anyone.  There is no Shane in insisting your medical professionals undertake further tests and get it dealt with quickly, you have to be pushy with doctors and tell them if there’s some underlying problem then they have a duty of care to help you no matter how small the problem.  Fibro is very painful and any other medical condition on top of this hurts like hell due to our oversensituve nervous system. 

What do I do during my menstruation cycle to help me cope?:

  • Cry as it’s a great relief, then I get on with things
  • Increase meditation in relation to happiness and for pain relief
  • I keep my bedroom cooler than normal
  • I sleep in the spare room
  • I do more exercise but shorter bursts
  • Go for more walks
  • Have a massage
  • Increase my pain meds
  • Hug a hot water bottle for the cramps
  • Remain positive knowing it will pass

Feel free to respond to this with your comments 

Useful site internet here

Poor diet leads to increased Fibromyalgia symptoms

Don’t take my word for it, google it.  Even people without Fibromyalgia are affected by what they eat and drink so it’s only natural for us fellow fibromyalgia to feel the most severe symptoms:

  • Bloating
  • Headache
  • Stomach upsets
  • Increased/decreased digestion
  • Latheragy
  • Energy spikes, manis followed by depression
  • Insomnia
  • Brain fog
  • Weight increase
  • Itching

And the list can go on and on.

When you think back to our grandparents era there wasn’t the processed food we come to rely on now.  Everything was cooked fresh and most of the veg was homegrown.  Nowadays as our lives get more fast paced we rely more on ready made food, that takes no more effort than warming up in a device or ordering from a fast food joint.

Not only have I researched this subject to death at sites like this but I’ve also kept a food diary for 6 months and logged how I felt directly after eating and 20 minutes later and I was shocked when I reflected on the results each week.   Many foods were making me ill, feel worse and feel most of the symptoms above!!

It’s no secret that eating more natural food is much better for you and eating less sugar and salt will help you not only sustain good health but to feel better too. 

I like to focus on what I can eat rather than what I can’t.  Focus on the positives.  I’m not here to preach how you should live your life but if you want to change how you feel then you need to do something different!!

Take a look at this site here and do your own research.

Why do I rave about a good diet?  As the difference I feel since changing my diet is fantastic and I will never revert back to what I did eat before.

Start cooking fresh, over cook and freeze your own fresh TV dinners!!  Buy a hotspot and throw all your ingredients in and let the hot pot do the cooking.  Get your kids involved or your husband if you’re exhausted.  Cut down on takeaways to once a month.  Quit drinking alcohol or at least reduce your intake.  Look for sugar alternatives.  Bake yourself using healthier products like almond flour and honey etc.

You have a wealth of knowledge on the internet so why not use it?

Pain flare ups with fibromyalgia

I find there are a few reasons our bodies hurt, for me I’ve put them in to 3 categories:-

  • Psychological; for instance when I get stressed or I am under pressure, say from work, my brain then relays this into physical pain into my weak spots – my spine.
  • Not using pacing; doing too many activities and not resting enough, again my brain warns me by creating physical pain, mostly into my weak spots, my spine or all over aches and pains in my muscles or skin pain by touch, allodynia.
  • An injury, say from twisting my body or falling over.  I find that with fibro I hurt a lot by just simple acts I performed before I had fibro which might never have caused any lasting pain.

It’s important to understand which of these we feel during a flare up.  For example when I developed fibromyalgia and I didn’t know I had it and I was sure I had another serious problem with my back.  The pain was actually my heightened sensitivity to pain and the fact I was trying to undertake lots of activities such as before I had back surgery.  But when I learnt I had developed fibro I realised that my back did not need further investigation and that I had to learn to pace myself and I understood that my brain was increasing the pain signals through my nervous system instead of in a non fibro sufferer reducing the pain signals.  

An example would be falling and hurting your ankle with a sprain that Fibromyalgia could increase the pain and symptoms such as touch and to feel more like a break.  It took my sprained ankle 2 years to heal instead of a normal 3-9 months, even for a bad sprain!

Plus when you understand how pacing works, you can begin to understand your limits and reduce activities to a level that flare ups are rare and manageable.  Keeping logs and diaries are a great way to help you learn about your condition, body and reduce the boom or bust scenarios.  Please read here for more information. 


The above shows you how boom or bust works and learning to pace activities will help to reduce or even eliminate these.

Now I’m not an expert, I came home yesterday in tears as I pushed myself too hard this week at work.  I called my new manager and asked to come and see me this week as I needed to talk through my new role, his and my expectations and make it clear I will not risk my health for work.  He agreed and seemed generally caring, which is a start.

I have tried to deal with fibromyalgia by popping pain pills but this treatment does not work.  Eventually our brains get used to them and then you have to keep moving onto stronger medications.  I weaned off 5 tablets and now find that I deal with fibro much better by just taking them during flare ups, as they seem to actually work and the rest of the time I use a holistic approach, I’ll give you a brief run down of done of the things I use:-

  • Regular massage
  • Magnesium flakes in my bath
  • Mindfulness and meditation
  • Pacing, spreading out activities with regular rest
  • I use a hydraulic desk and spinal chair at work so I can work standing and sitting
  • Heat, I have hot water bottles everywhere
  • I take a varied amount of natural minerals and vitamins
  • I use positive affirmations all the time, by saying out loud positive things such as I love mornings, I am going to have a great day today
  • I use essential oils in a device click here

I am not sure where you are on your journey with fibromyalgia, but if you understand why you get flare ups and increased pain you can learn to reduce or remove these episodes.