You Can Learn How To Cope With Fibromyalgia & CFS/ME
If you are struggling to learn how to cope with Fibromyalgia or CFS/ME, then recovery is even further out of reach. Learn how to cope with Fibromyalgia & CFS/ME and start your recovery sooner.
How To Cope with Fibromyalgia & CFS/ME – Part 1
How To Cope with Fibromyalgia & CFS/ME – Part 2
By D. Neuffer
Learning how to cope with Fibromyalgia or CFS can be difficult. But if you know anybody suffering from FMS/CFS, then assuming you understand what they are going through you will see that they are usually pretty resilient. But there is only so much that anybody can deal with before it becomes hard to cope.
If you have Fibromyalgia Syndrome, if you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, there are a many reasons why you might be feeling that you are struggling to cope. But if we were forced to come up with only two reasons, they might be that:
1.) you may be feeling that you just can’t deal with the demands, the stress of having this illness; AND
2.) you may feel very deflated or lacking in hope for a better future, because you have been ill for a long time and have been unable to recover.
Well, given all the people who do actually recover from Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, things are certainly far from hopeless. But unfortunately, there are also many people who never recover, probably needlessly so. In fact, as you understand the dynamics of this illness, you will likely become increasingly confident that you too can recover.
The Stress of Living with FMS/CFS/ME
The truth is, you probably know more about how to cope with FMS/CFS/ME than you realise, depending on how long you have been ill. If you consider all the ways you have found to cope, you probably find they include simple things like pacing yourself, avoiding draining activities and so on. But stress avoidance only goes so far.
If you are struggling to cope right now, you may be finding that there are a whole lot of other problems that need addressing. Problems like:
- the stress of dealing with your symptoms and pain;
- not feeling resourceful to move forward;
- feeling powerless;
- having relationship problems;
- financial hardship.
When you feel well, things are much easier to cope with than when your symptoms are at their worst.
But it is important to realise that your symptoms will likely reduce again in severity and there will be opportunity to take action soon.
So besides avoiding stress, you need to reduce all but the essential things, until you feel a little better. Take pen and paper to prioritise what is really important right now and avoid unnecessary deadlines.
If things feel like they are getting out of control, then you need to find someone you can trust to talk about how you feel. Consider speaking to a friend, your doctor or even crisis counselling hotline.
If you are suffering from depression, you should seek the advice of your doctor and/or a qualified counsellor.
If you need to speak with someone immediately, please Google (“crisis counselling” + your country and/or area) for the phone number of a crisis hotline.
But reducing stress is only part of the solution. Feeling hopeless about FMS/CFS/ME can make life very hard.
So open your mind to new possibilities and consider these mini-steps summarised out of my book Discover Hope.
“Solution 1 – Gather Strength From the Crowd” To Learn How To Cope With FMS/CFS/ME
Feeling isolated can be very hard to cope with and few things are more isolating than not being understood.
So the first step is to realise that you are not alone in what you are experiencing. You probably already realise this, but if you have not actually spoken to another person suffering from FMS/CFS/ME then you might not have got the validation you need to help you cope.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is a real illness and no matter how bizarre your symptoms may be or whether your family, friends or even your doctor fully understand you or believe you have Fibromyalgia pain, please realise that your experience is not unique.
So if you have not spoken to another person suffering with Fibromyalgia or ME/CFS, or if you have not read their story, then make an effort to do so now. You can look for a local Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia Syndrome Support Group or even read about other people’s experience of Fibromyalgia and CFS on the internet.
“Solution 2 – Step outside the fishbowl” To Learn How To Cope With Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
In life, we often see things just from our own point of view. We see things from our own everyday existence and whilst we may or may not listen to what others say, we rarely step outside ourselves to look at ourselves, critically.
Take a moment to think about the last person that either criticised you or intimated that you were weak or inadequate in how you dealt with FMS/ME/CFS. Imagine if they were sick with the flu – how they would cope with it. Fine initially, but what about after 3 or 4 days? What about after one week? Are they still super tough or are they complaining yet? What about after 2 or 3 weeks? What happens to their toughness when in the second month, their symptoms get worse? How will they cope in the 3rd month?
Most people start to struggle after 3 or 4 days of a severe flu. HOW ON EARTH HAVE YOU MANAGED ALL THIS TIME WITH YOUR SICKNESS?
The way you have coped with this terrible illness is probably nothing short of amazing! It’s easy to be self critical, but let’s face it, everybody struggles to cope when they are unwell.
Do yourself a favour and start giving yourself a break and recognise how amazingly well you have done.
“Solution 3 – Acknowledge The Changing Tide” To Learn How To Cope With Fibro/CFS/ME
Have you ever been totally besotted with someone, really so totally in love that you couldn’t think of anything else?
Have you ever been totally excited about something, perhaps Christmas when you were a child, or a holiday or some special event?
Have you even been totally shocked by something that happened, something you saw or heard?
Did you feel like that forever?
Life is constantly changing. Sometimes we may feel like we are living Groundhog Day over and over again, but even Bill Murray’s character discovered that the same day will change over time.
So whilst you may be feeling down or hopeless or struggling to cope with CFS, realise that life changes.
Was there ever a time in the past when your fibro symptoms were really terrible AND then they got better, even for just a short time, even just a little bit?
Was there ever a time when you felt absolute sadness and despair about something, but given time you felt better?
If you feel like things will never be better, think again! Life is always changing.
You may or may not realise how things will get better in the future. Chances are that something will come into play that you currently don’t even know exists. Or perhaps, someone that you haven’t even met yet, will come into your life to help you.
Like the tides that come in and go out, life is always changing. Things will get better. You can count on it.
This is obviously just a short article, but hopefully you have at least taken a small step towards feeling better. If you decide, then this is just a start. There are 5 further mini-steps or solutions to help you learn how to cope with Fibromyalgia or cope with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyeltis. These will allow you to move out of hopelessness into feeling hopeful, even confident about your future.
You can read about these in Discover Hope which also offers steps to deal with a variety of different stresses in your life, to help you cope with depressed feelings or thoughts and to help you with your money worries plus more.
CFS Unravelled is a Book that explains the underlying cause of CFS and how you can commence your path to recovery.