If you’ve been officially diagnosed with fibromyalgia, chances are that you’ve struggled to get that diagnosis for years. In fact, the average length of time for sufferers of this condition to be recognized by medical professionals is 3-5 years. With all that work done and out of the way, it can feel like a triumph in and of itself. The reality is that people with this chronic illness still have a difficult path ahead of them. With no cure and plenty of ineffective treatments marketed toward you, what are the next best steps to take?
Knowledge is Power
Simply learning more about fibromyalgia is a huge step. There’s plenty of research out there about this condition, some of it good and some of it bad. Try to tackle a bit of reading on the topic every day or week for a while. Your high school teachers were right, a 3am deep dive down the rabbit hole isn’t nearly as productive as spaced out learning sessions. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the common (and not so common) symptoms of fibromyalgia so that you know what can be attributed to the disease and what may be caused by other life factors.
Laying a Foundation for Health
Speaking of those late night sessions, you’re going to thank yourself later if you do actually get some shut-eye instead. Fibromyalgia can be a major energy suck under normal circumstances. Prioritize getting enough sleep — where ‘enough’ is a completely individual number that may be much larger than what you could function well on before. Sufficient sleep can really act as a good foundation for physical and mental health. It gives you the energy you need to perform your daily tasks, but it also makes you less irritable and more able to cope with life’s difficulties the next day.
Gather Your Crew
Support systems are the best. They’re ready to help you through the difficult times of your chronic illness and cheer you on through your successes, no matter how small. Some people will make a list in their head of their most supportive friends and family members, but you can even go one step further and make a physical one. That way, if you enter a time in your life with depression or high levels of stress try to convince you that you’re alone in this, you can look back and know exactly who’s there for you. Because sometimes you’re just going to feel like crud and you’re going to want someone to talk to.