By Kirri Liepins
I’d like to run you through a typical morning during a fibromyalgia flare-up, though to be honest, no two mornings with fibromyalgia are quite the same.
The steps are as follows:
Wake up to the alarm on your phone placed on the other side of the room. Although it’s the weekend and you’ve had a solid block of sleep (thank you, medication), you don’t want to mess with things by sleeping half the day away, and you’ve got your mum’s voice in your head telling high-school-you that “there’s a big world out there and you’re missing it.”
Let the music run for a little while as you turn, flex your legs and carefully navigate the distance from pillow to desk because you can’t see very well. Turn it off and steady yourself against the doorframe for a minute or so until your vision clears enough to open the blinds and steer around the dog on the floor.
Glance at the exercise gear you’d set out with good intentions the night before, determined to be “healthy and strong,” and accept that it’s not happening today, like yesterday.
Splash some water on your face and load up your toothbrush. Shuffle around opening up the house. Turn on the coffee machine, knowing that caffeine is one of the worst things for your condition, but also knowing yourself well enough to understand that you will become liquefied if caramel coffee doesn’t happen today.
Start setting out your supplements and notice that there is probably a day’s supply of balanced vitamins and nutrients for three people in that pile. You haven’t noticed a difference.
You’ve barely been awake for five minutes, but the fatigue is so mighty, you are going cross-eyed as you stand. The muscles are beginning to catch up, and they feel like you’ve got a football team strapped to your body.
Open up a bag of coffee grounds and pour them into your mug. Set down the bag, stare and remember you’re making pod coffee and the grounds go in the French press, not the mug. The last time you checked, you couldn’t possibly be pregnant. Oh, right, fibro fog.
Make your coffee (properly) and take it outside with your phone to sit in the sun and go through your Flipboard for a few minutes — the vitamin D usually helps settle the brain and the body.
That’s one task that seemed to go as planned. Feeling good, you go inside and check your emails/social media profiles. Last 20 minutes before you’re making yawning sounds like Chewbacca. Goody, so it looks like chatting and studying from home are out of the question today, too. (Who could’ve thought opening windows required so much energy?)
Start making breakfast. Side-eye every option in your fridge/pantry because didn’t you read something last week about an ingredient people with fibromyalgia can’t have because X decreases the production of Y? Or does it increase it? You can’t remember. Put something in the microwave and leave the room to make your bed. Hear the ding from down the hall. Come back and stare at the coffee machine for longer than you’d care to admit, wondering why nothing’s happening. Turn around to see the microwave and realize.
Laugh. Try not to cry.
Stubbornly defy yourself, get dressed and head out the door to run some errands, insisting you’re still a fully-functioning adult who should be able to take a good long walk and pick up a few things. Try to ignore the dizziness and thumping in your chest. Catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and accept that you should get a taxi instead.
Cancel any social plans for the day. You’d be no good to anyone right now, you think. No one would want to hang around you if they saw you this way, you believe.
Set up camp with “Modern Family” and a bottle of water and try not to think, which, let’s face facts, isn’t all that hard right now.
Your energy might fluctuate as the day goes on, and you might even feel better, good enough to go out and pick up some groceries or see friends and family. But you won’t be able to do both.
Are you exhausted just reading all this? So am I.