Something happened to me 2 weeks ago, I was travelling home on my motorbike and I’d been having a hard time with withdrawing off all my fibromyalgia medications, crying every day and generally feeling very disturbed, lonely and depressed. But one day whilst riding home, I felt free, different, like I’d dropped something off on the way home. I got home and after locking up my bike I just sat in the house smiling, knowing I felt different but not really understanding what had happened.
I thought about this most of the night and I thought maybe this was due to the transition of coming off a number of regular medications, which quite frankly didn’t work or did for a short period of time and transitioning to natural supplementation. I mean what else could it be? Acceptance, maybe my mind had shifted by undertaking mindfulness practises every day with yoga and meditation? Maybe it was a combination of everything?
Well whatever it is it’s like it all clicked into place. I’ll be honest since that day the fibromyalgia really hasn’t bothered me too much as long as I stick to the plan. What plan is this you might ask? It’s my plan. Something I’m working on for me, something I will share with the world once I prove it works and something I dream about doing as a profession. This is why I’ve been given the gift of fibromyalgia after my spinal fusion. It’s to learn optimum health, the meaning of my life and to help others, thats what I feel happened to me 2 weeks ago.
So what are my tips for starting your plan? Tackle the number one problem; stress. Work on your diet, you must find the right exercise for you and do it every day and find the right supplementation. Retrain your brain using mindfulness meditation, self hypnosis and other techniques. It takes blood, sweat and tears but one day the weight will come off your shoulders too.
You’ll never cure fibromyalgia but you’ll learn to live with it like I have, even maybe learn to love it ❤️. Sound crazy? Not at all, do you love yourself? Learn to love the condition and help your body cope using the power of your mind. Your body deserves that.
Tips for managing stress:-
- Don’t worry about the things that are out of your control (for example developing this condition, just accept it)
- Take things one step it day at a time (don’t worry about tomorrow or next week, use mindfulness to bring you back to the present time)
- Prepare for stressful events by taking 5-10 minutes to focus and calm your mind. (Close your eyes and visualise your favourite place, taking in all the sights, sounds, smells and turn up everything including the colours and noises)
- Try and look as change as positive or as a challenge, instead of assuming it is an hindrance. (List down the positives of what the change could bring)
- Ask yourself what you can learn from things, and how you can inspire or motivate people from your experience. (Is there a friend or someone in a focus group who is having a hard time that can benefit from what you have learnt?)
- Share your worries or concerns with like-minded people. You are not looking for sympathy, but empathy. (Sharing with a focus group or friends can be empowering)
- Take a 5 minute walk if you can. Walking and stretching can renew your energy. (I walk every day for at least 5 minutes and do mindfulness yoga daily. It’s relaxing and clears your mind).
- Remember to eat (fibromyalgia makes your nervous system over sensitive so how often you eat and what you eat makes a massive difference to how you feel both mentally and physically, make it natural, organic and small meals every 3 hours).
- Try and set realistic goals – but don’t push yourself, you have been through enough already (your goals can be simple enough to be achievable and you need to have them pinned up somewhere where you see them).
- Journal your thoughts or begin a simple blog. Reaching out to others who have been through similar experiences can be life changing (I do this both on WordPress and on Facebook, my sites are not to share negativity but to share my experiences with others but also to allow me and others to laugh at the ups and downs on finding my path, you need to write down the purpose of your blogging, this will keep you focused).
I read a great fact based article today about this condition and why it’s predominantly women who get diagnosed. I absolutely do agree with the hormone link and why it’s again predominantly around middle age, but there are a few exceptions as there is with most conditions, ones that fall outside the ‘norm’. Read more here
I know why I developed it, I have spinal disabilities and had major surgery on my spine to correct the twisting and collapsing of my spine. My dad also has ankylosing spondylitis, another link to why I developed this, it’s in my genes. I am certain if we all reflect on our family history and health we can work out why us?
This condition does not have a cure, it’s a chronic condition. It will not kill us but it DOES have a serious detrimental effect on our quality of life. We CAN however takes steps to improve our quality of life; keep diaries of our condition, what we eat and drink, sleep journals, activities we do, how we feel mentally and physically. From this we can work out what is toxic and needs to be removed or reduced in our lives in order to improve our symptoms. This IS going to be a challenge, if it was easy none of us would be suffering!
I will not give up this challenge, why? Because this is my life and I will live a good quality of life. The best that I can.
Are you with me? Or are you prepared to give up? Trust me I have been to hell, I’ve suffered so much pain, given up so much of my old life, landed in the gutter so many times.
I WILL NOT GIVE UP, NOT UNTIL I AM OLD AND DEAD. BECAUSE IF I HIVE UP I MIGHT AS WELL BE DEAD.
I am not going to lie, the pain is at an all time high as it feels like I’ve got the early stages of flu. I felt rough this morning, had 2 cocodamol felt slightly better, went to the bike shop to get our new bikes and had another coffee, one more than my usual, felt great, Christ I felt high. Then I crashed big time, I felt dreadful, exhausted and in pain.
I decided to go for a little trundle out on my new bike to learn how to use gears, I’d passed my CBT on an automatic bike. Now the way Fibro works is every little amount of ‘stress’ which normally I’d just deal with, my head and body go into full on ‘fight’ mode, I either hold my breath or take fast small breaths, the pain starts and I feel exhausted. I managed to deep breathe and kept it under control.
After an hour I went home exhausted and in great pain, like having the flu, especially in my lower back around where I have had it fused. I went to bed, listened to 2 mindfulness meditation sessions, ate a chicken snack, used a hot water bottle and after an hour of being in agony I took 2 cocodamol, begrudgingly, as I do not want to rely on pain pills.
I’m sat in bed still, hoping I feel better so I can go round the block on my new bike to get used to it. Then I have all night and day to relax!! Wish me luck.
Do you have tips and techniques you use to get you through the early stages of a bad Fibro attack?
I have been reading chapter 4 of my Mindfulness for Health book by Vidyamala Burch (read the reviews here) about how our mind wanders whilst we try to meditate and why it does the same when we are in pain. If we try to force the mind to be still it will kick and resist and we get exhausted by the struggle, if however we let it roam and follow it with our awareness, it will settle down of it’s own accord. Our minds struggle as we oppose it, if we are patient and focus our awareness in the minds struggle, then it will become calm. We can then refocus on the breath or body and the mind starts to get curious about the object of you refutation. It will become gently calm, yet alert and vibrant.
The other reason why our minds refuse to settle, especially if our bodies are in pain or highly stressed while we meditate. It is natural for the mind to avoid unpleasant sensations in the body. It will want to distract especially after chronic pain sufferers are told ‘keep yourself busy, and distract yourselves’ only to stop and be in agony!! We try to avert the pain. Pay attention to your thoughts, see how it bounces around and drags up past troubling memories and then exploits them in the future, creating stress and anxiety. Just notice them and give these thoughts and feelings names, but not judging them and then coax your mind back to the breath or your body and continue meditating.
Think of your thoughts as passing clouds in a beautiful blue sky. You notice them and let them go and the blue sky is always there.
I have been using this app now for 18 days, please see the site here. It is a fantastic app and I would highly recommend it to everyone, regardless of your health. I am a big daydreamer and unfortunately due to the nature of my health I tend to twist my daydreaming round to negative thoughts. Or I daydream off to try to resist pain. Headspace uses mindfulness meditation to not distract from or resist our pain but completely the opposite.
The company formed by the 2 gentlemen above, more info click here is used you top athletes and Wall Street stars. Mindfulness meditation is nothing new but it’s only been recent times that more people are realising that the mind is more powerful than the body, after all your mind controls your body, good and bad times. Your brain controls how we feel pain, which comes from signals from the nervous system. Fir be if I look after my mind I’m looking after my body.
I qualified as a hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner about 3 years ago now, read about NLP here so I was well aware of how powerful the kind could be. I helped people stop smoking and even lose 3/4 stone in weight, amongst many more bad habits. But when I got ill with my back I stepped away.
Never again will I neglect my mental health, because if I get that right the physical health will fall into place.
Can Fibromyalgia be cured with the mind? Who knows!! But I believe it can be controlled by it and more importantly I can live with Fibro quite comfortably. No I am not quite there yet but when I do get there I will help you too