I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia almost 20 years ago, but it never flattened me the way it has this time around. I’d like to blame the whole thing on Donald Trump. In fact, I think I am going to blame it all on him. He has raised the national stress level to such a degree that we have an actual national epidemic of high blood pressure and overall stress.
For the past six weeks, I’ve been too exhausted to function at any normal level. Unfortunately, life doesn’t stop because you’re not dealing with it well. Life charges on, crawls along, limps, wheezes and generally somehow or other gets the job — whatever it is — done. This has been a rough one.
I have been so tired that all I want to do is sleep. Except that sleep is difficult at the best of times and this is not the best of times.
According to the Mayo Clinic
Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.
Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.
Women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, and depression.
There is no cure for fibromyalgia, although a variety of medications can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction measures can also help.
The pain associated with fibromyalgia often is described as a constant dull ache. I think it has long passed dull pain and moved into higher thresholds but that’s just my opinion and not having a medical degree, what do I know? Oh, and it has to have lasted for at least three months. Do years count? To be considered widespread, the pain must occur on both sides of your body and above and below your waist.
You have no idea how much I hate being asked how much pain I’m in. It brings out my violent streak.
People with fibromyalgia often get up tired even though they have slept for long periods. Sleep is often disrupted by pain. Many patients with fibromyalgia have other sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea.
Discovering you’ve forgotten how to think
A symptom commonly referred to as “fibro fog” impairs the ability to focus, pay attention and concentrate on mental tasks. Writing one or more posts a day has really been difficult. I feel like my brain is packed in cotton-wool.
Although no one knows exactly what causes fibromyalgia, it most likely involves a variety of factors working together, typically arthritis (rheumatoid, osteoarthritis, or both), IBS, insomnia, etc. Since fibromyalgia can be triggered by psychological stress, I blame Hizzoner.
Why does it hurt?
Researchers believe repeated nerve stimulation causes the brains of people with fibromyalgia to change. This involves an abnormal increase in brain neurotransmitters. Also, the brain’s pain receptors develop a sort of memory of the pain and become more sensitive, meaning they overreact to pain signals.
Fibromyalgia is diagnosed more often in women than in men. If you have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, you are more likely to develop fibromyalgia. I have two out of three. So far, I’m missing lupus, but the future holds unlimited hope.
The pain and lack of sleep associated with fibromyalgia can interfere with your ability to function at home or on the job. The frustration of dealing with an often-misunderstood condition also can result in depression and health-related anxiety. Many doctors don’t seem to “get” the link between fibro and emotional overreaction.
I don’t see any problem connecting the dots between being in pain (everywhere), exhaustion, lack of sleep, and a feeling pissed off about pretty much everything. Mostly, I’m pissed about feeling so crappy and trying to somehow manage life anyway because it doesn’t take a pass while you recover.
So I figure, why not blame it on Orange Head? I loathe the bastard anyway, so it’s got to be his fault.
Why am I writing this?
I’m having a lot of trouble keeping up with life. I’m tired. I feel dull and stupid. It’s hard for me to read. It’s hard to think. I feel unusually awkward, clumsy — as if I’m always on the verge of falling down. So if I’m not reading as many posts or for that matter, writing as well as I think I should, all I can do is blame it on my dying brain.
And Orange Head.