I wanted to share some things I've learned over the last year about coping with FMS. I hope that you will all share what you have learned as well.
I crossed a major hurdle in learning to cope with Fibromyalgia once I discovered that the act of focusing on something besides my pain was the best therapy for my pain. I am not saying that it takes the pain away. But, shifting my focus from the pain / disorder to something else has become my most valuable coping mechanism.
I have grouped what I focus on into three categories:
1) Solutions - this could either be solutions to find comfort for a symptom or things to make our lives easier (I stopped wasting time trying to find a cure). An example of this is that I realized that cooking the old fashioned way was creating a ton of dishes and standing in the kitchen for long periods of time was causing discomfort. So, we made a standing rule in our home that all meals must be cooked in ONE pot - either a skillet, pot, or crock pot & required almost no chopping. This gave me a new project - I set out to collect recipes that fit this criteria. I poured over websites to finid recipes (betty crocker's website is great), put together a binder of ones that looked good, tried out the recipes on my family, etc. I was now focused on a solution rather than the problem. The act of focusing helped push my pain into the background.
2) Comfort - I love hot showers. They help my aching muscles feel soooo much better. Rather than focusing on how much my muscles ache, I focus on how good that shower feels. I thank Mother Nature for providing water and scientists for developing hot water heaters and showers. If I'm achy at work, I make myself a hot cup of Vanilla Chai tea and focus on how warming it is inside my aching body rather than on my achy body itself.
3) Something unrelated- For a while, I became quite interested in Myers-Briggs personality types (mine is INFJ). I researched and read about it every chance I could get. After a while, my interest shifted to Robert F. Kennedy and his life (JFK's younger brother). I found audio books, regular books and videos at the library to feed my curiosity. Lately, I have been reading about the Great Depression and what caused it. In all of these cases, I found something that I could become engrossed in. If I am completely fascinated and focused on something like this - at that moment - I am not focused on my pain. I may still be in pain, but it is not taking center stage.
What have you found that has helped you cope?
"Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live." Robert F. Kennedy
Great thread Kerri!
I too rely on a very hot shower to loosen my muscles and get me going.
I ignore the FM as much as possible. I do not talk about it or think about it whenever possible. It frustrates my wife sometimes, but it is my best defense. :)
Great thread, Kerri! I also think distraction is a key element. Along with moist heat and warm showers. I break tasks down into doable portions - so planning ahead is part of taking my mind off the pain. This forum is great for feeling connected, which helps. My big thing right now is trying to simplify life in all contexts, and figuring out how to stay warm this winter - indoors and out - since I seem to just get more cold sensitive every year. I try to go for a walk at least once a day - which often doesn't sound like such a good idea, but 90 percent of the time I feel better afterward. I drink lots of water to stay hydrated, and I am happiest when I have a project of some kind in the works....knitting, card making, artwork, rug hooking, painting, organizing pictures....all great distractions. Oh, and I try to anticipate what is coming up and try to keep from loading too much on any one day.
I am happy that so many of you enjoyed this topic. It was wonderful to read all of your responses and how you cope and enjoy life with Fibro.
Linda, your post about your grandchild touched my heart. What a little sweetie she is! I must say, my own children are such wonderful therapy for me too. It's hard to focus on pain when snuggling with a child!
I really enjoyed reading all of the responses to this post. It is nice to hear about the enjoyment and pleasure we find in life, in spite of our difficulties. Thank you so much for sharing.
I would love to type more, but I'm very dizzy and foggy - so I will stop now. :)