A question that seems to get regularly asked is” Are Fibromyalgia symptoms consistent?” Unfortunately, as is usually the case with Fibro, the answer is not a simple one. Here are some of my thoughts.
What is Fibromyalgia?
If you are new here and you are only just discovering the Syndrome I recommend you first check out my post: What is Fibromyalgia? Who are Spoonies? It will give you a good understanding of the basics of the condition. To understand some of the common symptoms or co-symptoms of Fibromyalgia syndrome you can read the posts Fibromyalgia is not just Fibromyalgia.
Living with Fibro
Now you hopefully have an understanding of the complexity of the syndrome I wanted to talk about how your life can be affected. Please remember as you read this that it is a complex condition and it manifests itself in many different ways. To speak plainly, ten people can all be diagnosed with Fibromyalgia but have a selection of different symptoms and different severity levels. It stands to reason then that how their lives are impacted will vary, even if two people are on very similar paths, the speed they are travelling could cause life changes to happen at varying times.
Recently I talked about Fibromyalgia Flare-Ups and what they involved, including discussing my three types of day. But as I explained in that post you can’t always group a whole day together. It is entirely possible to have flash flare-ups that last for a much shorter period of time. Unlike other conditions, there is often no warning when these flare-ups may occur. This article from as far back as 2007 shows that some epileptics can predict a seizure. There are some conditions both within and without a spoonie’s control that can trigger a flare-up.
Some of the common triggers of Fibro Flare-ups help answer the question: Are Fibromyalgia symptoms constant?
- Changes in the weather
- Emotional responses
- Overdoing things on good days
- Regular bugs and viruses
Let us break these down a little:
If you have been reading my blog for some time you will be aware that back in 2017 I asked to be dismissed from my employment. One of the hardest transition points I have had since the condition appeared in my life. I enjoyed my job (most of the time) and hoped to progress up the career ladder with time. Ultimately there were two ways that stress brought upon this decision.
The first was every time I was off work sick because of the Fibro (or very occasionally, otherwise) I had to deal with the back to work procedures including when necessary disciplinary meetings. I am aware that some people have a personality type where these affairs have no real impact on them. For me it was a massive deal, as early as the end of the week before I would be due to go back, the stress level began to trigger new symptoms. This resulted in a triple flare-up and ultimately became unsustainable.
The second stress trigger I was even less in control of. As my job involved working with the general public (who on the whole were lovely) I also had to deal with some extremely offensive individuals. Although on the surface I usually managed this in a calm professional manner, I can’t tell you what it did to my pulse rate. Remaining calm and carrying on when your fight/flight response is shouting in your ears is a really stressful situation.
Although leaving my career removed two intense types of stress it has left behind the slow-burning stress of no longer bringing in a living wage. I am aware of this and do all I can to both reduce if not remove the stress and to try and find ways to raise an income within my restricted circumstances.
Changes in the Weather
I talked about this in the post: Fibromyalgia and changeable weather. Personally, the biggest symptom the weather triggers for me is headaches. But it can also affect muscle pain, joint stiffness and even my IBS when there is a real chill in the air. As I live in the UK the weather is as unpredictable as my Fibro symptoms can be. Let’s face it we Brits are well known for talking about the weather. I have to confess although my Fibro doesn’t like it. Visually I love the changing seasons and wouldn’t want to give them up. But ultimately they play a big part in disproving, are Fibromyalgia symptoms consistent?
In the post How Emotions impact Fibromyalgia, I explain how something as simple as sitting and watching a wedding caused a flare-up. Researching into this I find much mention of how the response of stress is involved in physical responses but very little on a broader emotional impact. There seems to be the fight/flight stage (spike in blood pressure) and relaxation (reduced blood pressure) mentioned in this article on Massage Today and very little else in terms of physical medical evidence.
For some people like Sarah Garone, treating their emotional problems as she describes in this article is enough to pretty much put her Fibromyalgia in remission. For many of us, this just isn’t enough. It would be fair to question did she even have Fibro in the first place? Please don’t think I am saying she was faking, far from it, simply that she may have been misdiagnosed.
Overdoing things on good days
Pretty much everyone with Fibromyalgia has been known to have some good days and overdo things only to deal with the repercussions later. Sometimes you have to balance the benefits for your mental health. I can do X, Y or Z because it will make up for many things I have missed. But I understand next week I may be totally floored and allow for that. In general though, other than those odd exceptions it is far better to learn to pace yourself. This post provides some useful ways to do this and again focusses on the three different days.
Regular Bugs and Viruses
Just because we live with a multi-faceted Chronic Illness doesn’t mean we don’t sometimes just get ill like anybody else. As Nicola, from the Lord and Lordette’s YouTube channel refers to it (and so do I) we get muggle sick. In the post: Fibro and a Cold battle it out I talk about some of the complications of dealing with, what should be a relatively simple illness. Spoiler alert, when you have a chronic illness any normal illness on top of this is a much bigger deal than it ever was before becoming a spoonie.
Are Fibromyalgia Symptoms Consistent?
Having looked at just some of the triggers of Fibromyalgia Flare-Ups I hope you are beginning to see the answer to this question. No, they are not. When you live life with a chronic illness your health can change at any given moment. But what is consistent is that you have to be permanently aware of your Fibro and how your body is reacting to what you are doing and what is happening around you.
I sometimes think life with a chronic illness is a bit like it must be with a conjoined twin. You need to constantly be aware of the other and adaptable to their needs. The pre-Fibro part of myself can no more forget everything and do what I want any more than conjoined twins can walk in separate directions.
But you don’t look sick
Finally, I want to reiterate that sometimes spoonie’s make the decision to do something knowing they will pay for it later. For Instance, Lady Gaga may appear on stage and perform as if she didn’t have a care in the world. But you didn’t watch all the recovery process afterwards. Someone with Fibro may dress up and go out to meet a friend (when not in a pandemic) but they may be barely able to walk the next day and struggling with the little things for several days afterwards.
Why are you here?
One of my most-read posts is Fibro or Faker Signs to Look For. If you are here from the perspective of wondering if someone you know who has a chronic illness really has one because at times they seem fine. I would ask you to think about everything I have talked about in this post and re-consider any possible negative opinion. Of course, as I addressed in that post sadly some people do fake having chronic illnesses, but if there is the possibility that this is happening you have to question their overall mental health if they are prepared to give up a large part of a “normal life” to live their lie.
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I hope this post has helped you answer the question: Are Fibromyalgia Symptoms Consistent? If you have found it useful I would be grateful if you could share it on your preferred social media channels so others can find it too. If you have any opinions about what I have said (good or bad) I would love to read them in the comments below.