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8 Things That Change When You Have Fibromyalgia

Updated on March 19, 2018

How Life Changes With Fibromyalgia

A diagnosis of fibromyalgia rocks your world, no questions asked. In the blink of an eye, you go from being a physical machine to barely getting out of bed, on a good day.

All the food you like exacerbates your symptoms, and your skin, muscles, and joints suddenly age a hundred years. To boot, you're confronted with trauma and pain aggressive enough to break even the strongest among us–daily.

As part of my self-care, I look for the small things to celebrate – whatever wins I can count. I've found that doing so is almost as crucial to my health as taking my meds. While very few things stay the same with fibromyalgia, here are eight of them that change for the better.

We have no choice but to learn to communicate with doctors in ways most of them aren’t accustomed to – pushing back with our own findings and never giving up.

While there is no perfect diet for people who suffer from fibromyalgia, there are some foods that can help alleviate symptoms like ginger, turmeric, almonds, and beans.
While there is no perfect diet for people who suffer from fibromyalgia, there are some foods that can help alleviate symptoms like ginger, turmeric, almonds, and beans.

1. You Clean Up Your Diet

My husband and I became vegan three years ago. Though I went kicking and screaming, the plant-based diet has helped tame my inflammation tremendously. My “sed rate” has gone from an all-time high of 120 (20 is normal) to hovering right around 30. Amazing, right?

If you're looking for a way to up your energy and lessen your pain without medication, cutting out meat and dairy is a free and easy solution. Got to have pizza night? No worries! Start by making small shifts, and as you notice your levels change, you'll naturally make better decisions more often. Winning!

2. Your Clothes Fit Better

There's a special place in my heart (and in my tummy) for M&M's and gummy bears. These little morsels of happiness used to be a way I celebrated my small victories – like making it through the week, or up a flight of stairs.

Much to my dismay, I began to notice that my face would swell and my hands were barely usable the day after devouring my sweet treats.I investigated and found out that sugar is a direct cause of inflammation! Oh, the horror!

Sadly, as much as I cherished my sugary rewards, they had to go, and with them, went the stubborn four pounds I thought I'd never lose – that's pretty sweet!

3. You Can Read People's Minds

Well, sort of... Fibromyalgia "enhances" our senses in ways that can be perceived as a blessing and a curse. Either way, you're more "in tune" with the universe.

Most of us experience sensory overload – too many lights, too much noise, too many people. The plus to all this is you develop keen "Spidey senses" and can read a room in a flash.

My husband, co-workers, and family find it strange that I know their mood as soon as I hear their voice on the phone or they walk in the room. Just remember, with great power, comes great responsibility.

4. You Become a Fierce Advocate

Doctors are getting better, but a majority of them aren’t well versed in fibromyalgia. They don’t understand that even a cold will send our bodies into a downward spiral.

We have no choice but to learn to communicate with doctors in ways most of them aren’t accustomed to – pushing back with our own findings and never giving up. We soon learn there's no better advocate than ourselves.

Have you made significant lifestyle changes after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia?

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With strong support from family, friends, and therapists – and an optimistic outlook on your future – you can create a life that is healthy and satisfying.
With strong support from family, friends, and therapists – and an optimistic outlook on your future – you can create a life that is healthy and satisfying.

5. You Become Closer to Family and Friends

It is true that over time many of us lose close friends and some family members due to a lack of understanding of our illness. But the ones that stick around become closer to us than we could have ever imagined.

Quality versus quantity, right?

6. You Become More Confident

At first, coming to terms with our illness is daunting: finding the right doctors, and trying different treatments and medications can be incredibly frustrating and exhausting.

However, the challenges we face every day, and the courage it takes to fight through each painful minute is something that cannot go unrecognized.

It's empowering to take a step back from our suffering and examine how much strength it requires to do what we do. Even on our worst flare days, we still get up the next morning.

We are fiercer than most!

7. You Have Extra Time

For me, evenings and weekends are mandatory downtimes to recover from my workday/week.

We all know that if you can still work while having fibromyalgia, it is a miracle in and of itself. A work-day is like running a marathon, so rest is required to recoup.

My mandatory downtime leads to successful self-care, nurtured relationships, and rewarding engagement - like writing this article.

It's empowering to take a step back from our suffering and examine how much strength it requires to do what we do. Even on our worst flare days, we still get up the next morning.

Living with an invisible illness can help you understand how others feel about living with other similar conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, diabetes, depression and more.
Living with an invisible illness can help you understand how others feel about living with other similar conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, diabetes, depression and more.

8. You Become More Compassionate

Any fibromyalgia warrior will agree that having an invisible illness is especially frustrating compared to say, having a broken arm.

If people don't see "proof" that you're sick, like a cast or a wheelchair, it's easy for them to forget, or worse, not believe us in the first place. It's because of this treatment that we're more sensitive to others who may be fighting battles no one can see.

The devastation that comes from constantly being doubted transforms to empathy for others.

In Conclusion

While it’s hard to see the sun through the clouds after being diagnosed with Fibro, as we evolve with our illness, we perform mini-miracles every single day.

To capitalize on your small victories, end each day by jotting down your tiny triumphs in a journal. Drift off into dreamland, feeling proud of yourself – you've earned it!

Written by Puja Rios.

© 2018 NewLifeOutlook

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