Read these 25 Fibromyalgia Attitude Adjustments Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Fibromyalgia tips and hundreds of other topics.
Fibrofog does not mean that you have lost any mental ability. You can still think and reason as well as ever, and if you took an IQ test chances are that your score will not have gone down. It simply means that you have problems with your short term memory. Think back to grade school – a long term memory – and chances are good that you remember a lot.
Most people who get fibromyalgia tend to be overachievers – usually with Type-A personalities. This means we have set impossibly high standards for ourselves – standards that are difficult to achieve when you are fatigued and in pain. This often leads us to feel guilty when things that we were accustomed to doing aren't getting done. Remember – you can only be guilty of things done deliberately. You cannot feel guilty about getting fibro and thus acquiring new limitations. That is not your fault.
Keep a pain journal. Track how you feel each day, at different times of the day. Record what you eat, what the weather was like – anything that may contribute to pain and discomfort. Not only will this help you to learn what activities and foods to avoid, but the journal may prove valuable should you be trying to support a disability claim.
Fibro victims tend to be over-achievers. We have had unrealistic expectations of ourselves all of our lives. It's time to get real. Set some new goals. They don't need to be large- just realistic. Instead of cleaning the garden, weed one flower bed. You don't have to be perfect. Ignore anyone who tries to make you feel guilty. You can only do what you can do.
Keep a journal to write out your thoughts and feelings. You know people will get weary of listening if you try to express them out loud, but they do need an outlet for you to express them. But even more important, a journal may help you to pinpoint the types of situations that cause stress for you – and may also help you to pinpoint what types of stress lead to physical problems for you.
Learn to pace yourself. Not everything has to be done all at once – and plunging into a frenzy of activity is only going to lead to a flare-up of symptoms that will cause you to get even further behind. Break chores down into smaller segments that can be done in a reasonable amount of time. Do not push yourself until you are too tired to move. Do a bit, then take a short rest, then do a bit more. Try setting the timer. You may be amazed at how much you can accomplish in 15 minutes.
Make lists. Write down everything you like about yourself. List all the things you like to do and can still indulge in. If you're depressed make lists of what depresses you. Take that out when you are in a good time and see if you can do anything about those things. And make lists of things you enjoy doing. When you're depressed you'll forget those - so take out that list, select one thing - and DO it!
Accepting fibromyalgia is similar to coping with the death of a loved one. It starts with denial. As happy as we were to get a diagnosis at last, we start thinking that maybe it's wrong. This can't be the way it's going to be from now on! We all go through it – although not everyone's experience is identical. But we need to move forward, accept what is there and then take positive actions to make it better.
Just because you qualify for disability doesn't mean that you are disabled. It simply means that there are some things you can't do as well as you used to. But you are quite able to do many things, some of them quite well. So don't go playing possum because you are on disability. Instead, focus on what you CAN do.
Keep in mind that the doctor who says that you are depressed is probably right. But the depression isn't causing your pain – it is caused by it. Some people have dragged around to different doctors for months or years, only to get the shake of the head and the quick dismissal as a hypochondriac. Of course we're depressed! Being in pain and also being dismissed is reasonable cause.Don't let it drag you down. Find a doctor who believes in FMS and understands that it is real.
Try reporting different aspects of FMS as though they were interesting facts that you are discovering. Like "Did you know that the average person with fibro gains between 50 and 100 pounds after the onset of symptoms?" Reporting facts tends to be better received than reporting your aches and pains – so a fact sounds kind of interesting rather than like whining – and may explain why you want your partner to please turn down that stereo!
Fibromyalgia is sometimes known as the invisible disease. We don't look sick. People find it difficult to understand that we really are sick and not just making excuses. You need to anticipate this, and the reactions that people will give you when you say no to things you don't feel able to do. Your true friends will understand; the others don't matter. And you must learn to say no or you will run the risk of causing a flare-up of your symptoms.
Set aside one day a week as "Be good to yourself day." On this day make sure to take some time for yourself – absolutely guilt free. Take a bubble bath or give yourself a manicure, pedicure or facial. Go shopping online for a special treat for yourself. This seems hard for many of us to do, because we feel we don't deserve it - we aren't achieving like we once did. But we also need to keep a positive attitude - and that means a bit of self-indulgence.
Concentrate not on the things that you can no longer do, but on all the things that you CAN do. It's not only a more positive outlook – which helps you to maintain a more positive attitude – but you may find that you can resume old hobbies and crafts that you didn't have time for in your former, too busy, Type-A days.
Identify situations that stress you. Then do your best to avoid them. If you can't avoid them, find ways to think about them more positively. Sometimes even knowing what stresses you helps - forewarned is forearmed. You may want to keep a list of stressful situations so you know what to try to avoid.
Keep track of your good days and see if you can't discover what you did different to make it a good day. More exercise? A new medication? A hot bath? Look at the bad days and see if anything you did may have contributed to them. See if the things you eat may in any way contribute to your feeling good or bad. If you have Chinese food three times this month and have bad days the next day three times, you're getting a clue. Tracking things this way will allow you to modify your behavior to encourage more good days than bad.
Friends and family will have difficulty understanding what you are going through. Try writing them a letter explaining what you feel like and how it makes you feel. Begin with the idea that FMS means spending most days feeling as though you are coming down with the flu - is a feeling most people can relate to. If you can't find a way to express yourself, there are letters available online for families and friends of fibromyalgia sufferers.
Find a support group. It's incredibly reassuring to discover people who know what you're going through - who have similar experiences. Support groups are not about wallowing in mutual misery. They are about understanding and coping. If your doctor doesn't know of anyone, do an online search - there are many lists of support groups available through different fibro sites.
Even when things look bad, find something positive in the situation and verbalize it. It's a way to start thinking positively instead of negatively - and it works. It's not always easy, but if you try really hard you can find something positive to hang onto - a silver lining.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|