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Living Creatively with Fibro | Not All Flare-ups are the Same

Not all Flare-ups are the Same

Today I am going to talk about Fibromyalgia Flare-Ups and in particular, my flare-ups as I am going through one. Whenever I look at official medical websites they often talk about flare-ups as if a flare-up is exactly the same for everyone. When I read these websites one thing always stands out to me, they don’t look to have been written by someone who actually has Fibro because not all Flare-ups are the same.

Where to find useful Fibromyalgia Information

I am not alone in blogging about Fibromyalgia there are many other people who do this as well. In fact, you may have spotted in the sidebar that I am a member of both The Fibro Bloggers Directory and Chronic Illness Bloggers Network. The first as the name suggests is based on people with Fibromyalgia whereas the Bloggers Network covers a wide range of Chronic Health Conditions of which Fibromyalgia is just one.

I and the majority of other bloggers are not doctors and we are certainly not here to help diagnose people but what we can do is offer support, lend an experienced ear and suggest non-medical or alternative remedies that have worked for us in the hope they may help you too.

Living Creatively with Fibro | Medication

I have been looking at my fellow bloggers’ sites to see what they say about flare-ups. The following comes from Brandi at Being Fibro Mom:

For me, having a flare means elevated or heightened:

I sometimes also experience heightened anxiety or bouts of depression. How long do flares last? Again, the length of flares vary from person to person. Fibromyalgia flares can last a few hours, a few days, or a few weeks. I’ve had flares last as long as three months and recently experienced an anxiety attack that lasted days. What causes a flare? There are many triggers for a flare. Triggers could be:

  • stress
  • something you’ve eaten
  • the weather

There are other triggers for flares, but these are the most common ones. What treatments are there for flares? There isn’t one treatment for a flare. A flare is an elevation of symptoms, so the treatment depends on what is flaring. Treatment can be:

Brandi Clevinger, Being Fibro Mum

Hannah at My Fibro a New Beginning writes about starting her blog after a bad Flare of her Fibromyalgia symptoms. I think this is something that most of us can relate to. Let’s face it I’m sure I am not the first Fibro blogger who has found that the majority of people they know have never heard of the condition. A flare-up is a time when we are at our most vulnerable and it makes sense that we want the people around us to have an understanding of what we are experiencing because let’s face it nobody can SEE what is wrong.

Not all Flare-Ups are the Same

I have had about four main flare-ups in the last twelve months that have needed me to take time off work and most of them have been no more than a week long. They do seem to all start in the same way with a sensation on my skin. The only way I can describe this is it feels like I am having a nettle rubbed all over me. It is both stingy and excruciatingly distracting and annoying. What happens next varies but it always includes an increase in the variety and level of pain in my body as well as a complete takeover by exhaustion.

I am at the moment in a very scary flareup cycle. I began with a Flare-Up that may have been caused by changes in the temperature or possible some quite low-level stress. This caused me to have two-part days and then a Friday off sick. I was starting to recover and get back to my standard levels when a cold/virus began on a Sunday evening. I struggled into work on the Monday and Tuesday then could no longer manage for the rest of the week.

Having a nosey around other people’s journeys I can see I am not alone finding that a “simple cold” is very far from simple when you have a Chronic Health Condition.

Hannah again says:

Getting even a cold can be a nightmare for someone with fibromyalgia. It hits you like a ton of bricks and can completely knock you out for days. It’s like having a cold on top of the flu, like staying awake for days on end and then running a marathon and it can trigger flares quickly.

Hannah, My Fibro a New Beginning

The Triple or possibly Quadruple Dip

I now find myself in a frightening situation where I have had a flare-up which was quickly followed by a cold virus and is now it seems leading into another flare-up. Scarily the virus seems to be looping around to the first symptom of a sore throat again which is how cold viruses always start for me.

Just about managing

Yes, I have managed to write this blog post because I was only about two weeks ahead in scheduling them and haven’t written one for nearly two weeks. However, this post has taken me about two days off and on when I usually write a post in a couple of hours max. I am also dealing with the largest dose of Depression I have had to date. Not so long ago I talked about how fortunate I am that my periods of depression are so short, usually a mere blip and less than a day. I am now in a different place. The reality is that I may be well enough to return to the workplace on Monday, but I might not be and that scares me. The unpredictable nature of the condition scares me. The simple fact remains that whenever the Fibro wins I personally lose. It feels really strange almost uncomfortable talking about Depression publicly like this but with all the positive work being done by organisations like the Heads Together campaign I am being brave to help encourage others to think that it is #oktosay

Taking Control again

Emma from A Sheffield Fibromite mentions on her blog that she works from home. This gives her the benefit of both losing the commute which can be troublesome on a day when pain levels are bad and the exhaustion is worse and also means she can avoid picking up bugs and viruses from the workplace. Ultimately though she does still report to someone. For me I believe in the long term – or as soon as I am able – working for myself at home will be the answer. I can work longer hours when I am doing well and cut back when I am struggling. This would reduce much of the stress that goes with employment and attendance management and leaves you only answerable to your own integrity of which I believe I have enough.

In the meantime, I need to focus on kicking this virus into submission and fighting through the flare-up, I know when I am coping better I have plenty to give I just need to get back to that place both mentally and physically.

Until next time,
Gentle Hugs,
Susan

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2 Comments Text
  • Hello, thank you so much for your post!

    I too have been suspected to have fibromyalgia and am currently trying different treatments, bit currently it has laid me up pretty badly.

    Until now I had never really heard much about fibromyalgia or its symptoms, so running into your blog has been both refreshing and eye-opening. I also hope that I will be able to learn to live with fibromyalgia.

    If I can learn to do small-scale work with it, and be able to do minimum hiking while still doing my drawing and video projects, I think I can manage. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, and I hope things improve for us all.

    • Hi Victoria, I’m sorry to hear that you may have Fibromyalgia, I am not going to lie it is a horrible syndrome that rips through your life. However, I have found that I cope better when I focus on what I can still do rather than dwelling on everything I can’t. I’m glad you found the post helpful, I regularly post Fibro topics on a Thursday and I hope you can continue to get value from the blog.

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