Last week was not exceptionally pleasant I had a Fibromyalgia Flare-up (you can read a bit more about flare-ups in this post), and there has been a bit of an IBS take over this week.In this post I explain what it is like dealing with IBS alongside Fibro Thankfully I didn’t have the stress of letting an employer down because I am now my employer (although I don’t have an income to pay myself anything yet!) I am also fortunate that my husband is on hand (except when he is at work) to give me practical support. This practical support is very gratefully received, but it is nothing compared to having a husband who gets it and understands what life is like when you are living with Fibro, once again this weeks post is written by Michael where he gives you a Husband’s View of Fibromyalgia. So over to Michael:
Accepting the illnessUnderstanding the condition is real and not in your wife’s mind. I think one of the most significant problems with Fibromyalgia is like any other invisible illness or chronic disease; you cannot see it, this makes it much more difficult to come to terms with, for yourself and other family and friends. This understanding is an important step to take for any partner of a Fibromyalgia suffer. Without acceptance, you cannot move on with your new life together because things are going to change in a big way for both of you now.
Research and educate yourselfBeing able to research the condition will give you a better understanding of the problems you are going to face moving forward. Pain and fatigue are two of the main areas of the syndrome most suffer from, but there is a multitude of other symptoms on-top of these. I read forums and blogs about Fibromyalgia and any new research on anything that could offer a possible solution to my wife condition or help relieve the symptoms.
The Best-laid Plans of Partners and Fibromyalgia SuffersOne of the things you notice early on with this condition is that things very rarely go to plan and are changed or cancelled often. You need to be patient with your partner with this. Chronic pain and fatigue is not something that will disappear with a good nights sleep or by taking medication; these things can help manage the symptoms but very rarely make a sufferer feel healthy enough for everyday plans. You will notice that a lot of people with this condition start to withdraw from their social life of friends and family as they do not like to commit when they know there is a good chance they will not be able to attend the event anyway. Susan and I have had to cancel nights out with family and friends on short notice and have also cancelled holidays because Susan has been in a flare up and was not up to the travelling. You need to make sure you do not start to take this personally as someone with fibromyalgia does not know from day to day what their pain or energy levels will be.
Help With The Little ThingsIt is not just helping with the big things, offer to help with the little things in life, it could be as easy as an offer to get your partner a drink or snack or running a bath for them. These all help in small ways but shows that you do think about them and care enough to help with what may seem a little thing to someone without fibromyalgia but could mean so much when someone is in the middle of a flare-up.
Always Keep TalkingThis is so important in any relationship, but more so when one of you are suffering from a chronic condition such as Fibromyalgia, you need to be able to have a frank discussion about how the situation is going to change your life plans. But more on a day to day level you need to be asking how your partner is feeling and if there is anything you can do to help with the problems they are having at the moment. Also, you must tell them how you are feeling and do not bottle things up and become frustrated about the situation then and become snappy or angry. Seeing someone you love in constant pain can become overwhelming and you need to be able to talk about this with your partner to avoid it escalating.
Outside InterestsIt is essential that you have interests outside your home and relationship with your partner, this is one area I have fallen short of recently, and it is something I need to work on as outside of work and home, I do not have an outlet for fun or exercise. I spend my time at work or home with Susan although, I do go out to visit my Father once a week. I must get back into walking as I used to do this regularly with a couple of colleagues from work. Research has shown that being a husband, wife or partner to someone with Fibromyalgia increases your chance of being diagnosed with depression. You should try and take steps to combat this, make sure you are eating healthily, taking regular exercise and doing things you enjoy, play a sport with friends or just enjoy other social activities with friends and family. Merely making little time each day for yourself, read something, listen to some music do whatever you find enjoyable and relaxing as you need this time for yourself so that you are in a better place to support your partner.
Have a Support Circle in PlaceGetting support when you need it is very important. Hopefully, you will have family and friends that can offer help when you need it but remember there may be other avenues for support, there are many forums and online groups you can join, or local community groups that will get you out of the house for a cup of tea and a chat. You need to find what works for you and your partner.
Thank you, Michael, for writing this post. Once again I feel incredibly lucky to have a husband who is so very understanding. If you are not so fortunate with your partner, maybe you should show them this post. Michael can be found on Twitter at @mpearson_uk, and I’m sure he will be happy to answer any questions you have. Also feel free to drop a comment below, we love reading what you have to say. As usual, there will be a new Fibromyalgia post next Friday but don’t forget about the creative news on Monday and the following segment in the digital organisation series on Wednesday, if you missed it you can see how ActiveInbox helps me stay on top of my email in this weeks post.