Diets and Cooking Recipes for Fibromyalgia

Finding certain diets or recipes can be difficult to follow when you are constantly dealing with the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain conditions, which affects about 10 million people in the United States. That is 3-6% of the world’s population.  Fibromyalgia is usually diagnosed between the ages of 20-50 years, affecting more women than men. Currently, there is no cure for fibromyalgia, but many studies have shown a positive relationship between nutrition and fibromyalgia, which helps relieve chronic pain symptoms. According to Rheumatology Advisor, there are two types of approaches to help treat fibromyalgia symptoms through pharmacological (prescribed medication) or non-pharmacological (based on dietary nutrition). The importance of nutrition is essential for fibromyalgia patients because depending on the types of foods you eat, it can play a significant role in how you experience fibromyalgia– possibly trigger flareups or provide relief.

 1.) Nutrition Benefits

There are many ways to manage and improve fibromyalgia symptoms by making some dietary changes to your lifestyle. It is important to avoid foods high in carbohydrates or refined sugars, which can increase symptoms and focus on incorporating a well-balanced diet. Some foods that are rich in antioxidants, lean protein, fiber, and lower levels of carbohydrates are essential for a healthy diet. Throughout the day, fibromyalgia can make you feel tired and drained, which one reason why improving your diet is important. Having a healthier diet can give you more energy, reduce chronic pain, and manage weight control. Improving your diet is a great start, but it is important to remember to exercise at least three times a week to manage a healthy lifestyle. 

2.) Fibromyalgia Diet 

Picture Recipe: South of the Boarder Buddha Bowl

There is no specific diet for fibromyalgia, but there are diets that focus on decreasing chronic pain, fatigue, and flares. Some diets are known as the anti-inflammatory diet, paleo diet, and autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet, which all consist of health recipes to help relief fibromyalgia symptoms.  The main goal of the all three diets listed above is to encourage individuals to follow a healthier diet plan, which consist of common foods and ingredients to obtain a balanced lifestyle.  Making lifestyle changes does not happen overnight and can be difficult maintain, but it is important to be consistent because it can make a difference with fibromyalgia.

Some foods that are high in antioxidants are berries (strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, blackberries) kidney beans, dark chocolate, cilantro, and pecans.  Amino acids are important for the body to function properly, which is known as “the building blocks of proteins and make up a large part of human muscles and cells”(2019).  According to Nutritional Research, studies show that patients with fibromyalgia have lower levels of certain amino acids in their blood.  Some foods that are high in amino acids are lean beef, chicken, turkey breast, tuna, salmon, low-fat diary, and plant-based proteins (quinoa, tofu, soybeans).  Some foods that contain anti-inflammatory properties are vegetables such as kale, spinach, collard greens, and broccoli.  Finding a diet plan or cooking recipe that you enjoy is essential to start making lifestyle changes to can help manage your fibromyalgia symptoms.

3.) Recipes

Some recipes from Rally Pure Food, that focuses Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). “Recipes are made with no refined sugars (RSF), they are gluten free, paleo, low allergen, anti-inflammatory, grain free, soy free, dairy free, egg free, nut free, seed free, nightshade free, and legume free. Dessert/treat recipes are sweetened with fruit, maple syrup, honey, or coconut sugar”(2019).   Rally Pure is a great start for looking at new delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

There are several recipes that may seek your interest. Being able to try new recipes should be exciting and it can help alleviate fibromyalgia symptoms.  Today is a new day, so why not try something new!

“Put yourself first, you deserve it and your body will forever be grateful”

4.) Recommended Cookbooks

Cookbook: Fibromyalgia Freedom! 

There is always bright sides to every situation, it is important to remind yourself that each day will get better.  The cookbook Fibromyalgia Freedom, gives great detail about the benefits of using specific ingredients that target inflammation, fatigue, and fibro fog. The cookbook includes more information about fibromyalgia and how to cope with chronic pain.  According to the cookbook, some foods to avoid are processed foods, sugar, soda, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners.  For fibromyalgia patients to have a healthy lifestyle it is important to get enough sleep, exercise, and a health diet.  One way to measure to your symptom relief is keeping a journal and writing down the time you started your diet plan for at least 6 weeks to see how much your symptoms have improved.

“Start making a difference in your health today we will help you every step of the way”- FibroAid

Other Related Articles

Sources

 

What We Discovered About Fibromyalgia from Lady Gaga?

The Queen of pop shares her fight against the chronic illness and how it has impacted her life

Lady Gaga, the sensational actress and iconic songwriter, had recently been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in September 2017. According to Mayo Clinic Health, Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal disorder that causes chronic pain and amplifies pain sensations from the brain accompanied by fatigue, memory, and mood issues. At first, the doctors were unable to pinpoint her condition, but after many consultations with her doctors, they were able to confirm that Lady Gaga has Fibromyalgia. For several months Gaga was experiencing intense chronic pain that resulted in her to cancel a show in Montreal; a week later she postponed her remaining tour. The Born This Way pop star has been open to her fan about her Fibromyalgia and chronic pain.

Gaga shares in an emotional Instagram post I have always been honest about my physical and mental health struggles. Searching for years to get to the bottom on them… I will tell my story in more depth and plan to take this on strongly… I am a fighter.” 

Let’s focus on what we learned about the queen of pop and her story about Fibromyalgia.

1.) Lady Gaga’s Sever Chronic Pain a common symptom of Fibromyalgia

Chronic pain is one of the significant symptoms of fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia affects nearly 5 million individuals in the United States, and 90% of cases are diagnosed in females, according to U.S government statistics. Ed Zimney, MD, explains that males can have fibromyalgia, but with few and, less intense symptoms compared to women.  

 

According to WebMD, “Your muscles may feel like they have been overworked or pulled…muscles can twitch, burn or ache with a deep stabbing pain.  Some patients with fibromyalgia have pain and aches around the joints in their neck, shoulders, back, and hips, which can make it difficult to sleep or exercise.”

 

In 2017, Gaga made a Netflix documentary,  Five Foot Two highlighting her chronic illness, paranoia, and anxiety to give her fans a raw glimpse into her life experiences. In the documentary, Gaga cries in her New York apartment, “it’s the whole right side of my body, it feels like there’s a rope from my toes all the way up my leg, my first rib, my shoulder, neck, head, then to my jaw and my face hurts…”  Later in the film expresses that she has been dealing with global pain since 2012. One of Gaga’s doctor performed a procedure called the trigger point injections, which decreased her chronic pain from her face through muscles injections. 

 

Despite Gaga’s chronic illness, she continues to embrace her individuality to empower others to speak their truth and to share their story.  Lady Gaga is able to connect with her fans through her music because it relatable to many individuals around the world.

 

“Chronic pain is no joke. It’s waking up not knowing how you are going to feel.” – Lady Gaga

2.) Fibromyalgia can Impact your Mental Health

In 2018, Lady Gaga opened up about her mental health at the SAG- AFTRA Foundation, a non-profit organization for literacy and educational programs for performing arts. In Gaga’s speech, she expresses her battles with mental health. 1 in 4 people experience a mental health crisis, and I am one of those people… mental health later morphed into physical chronic pain, fibromyalgia, panic attacks, acute trauma responses, and debilitating mental spirals that have included suicidal ideation and masochistic behavior.”  

 

According to WebMD, “Many studies link fibromyalgia and depression.  People with fibromyalgia are up to three times more likely to have depression… the stress from fibromyalgia’s pain and fatigue can cause anxiety, social isolation… It is essential to seek guidance and support from your healthcare provider, family, and friends to help manage your fibromyalgia. Life can be difficult, but never give up on yourself because we are in this together. Fibromyalgia is tough, but so are you!  As Gaga says, “I’m a fighter,” and we all can be fighters too. 

3.)Relaxation and Massages Can Help Relieve Symptoms

Although fibromyalgia is an “invisible disease”, many people are not aware of the severities an individual will experience.  According to MEDPageToday, many people with fibromyalgia have great success with alternative therapies, including “massage, movement therapies, chiropractic treatments, acupuncture, and various herbs and dietary supplements…”.  It is essential that individuals with fibromyalgia decrease stress and embrace relaxation practices to minimize pain.   A good practice for relaxation is to meditate or lay down for at least thirty minutes in a quiet area to allow your mind and body to be present.  There may be days where it is difficult to relax, but it is important to listen to your body and take a moment for yourself.

In the Netflix documentary, one way Gaga is able to relax and decrease stress is by getting multiple massages to help reduce chronic pain and manage her fibromyalgia symptoms.  Gaga is grateful for her supportive team and doctors that have helped her deal with her fibromyalgia journey.  Remember it is okay to take a step back, listen to your body, and relax.

4.) Healthy Lifestyle

Lady Gaga is a Fibromyalgia advocate who tries to bring awareness about chronic pain and mental health.  Some days Gaga may not always feel the best, but creating a life that has a balance and meaning allows her to keep fighting. According to Fibro Center, it explains lifestyle changes individuals may consider to help decrease pain such as exercising, (walking, stretching, swimming) sleeping (stay cool, stick to a route, nap if you need to), and dieting (fibromyalgia diet).  Every fibromyalgia case is different, but practicing a healthy lifestyle with consistency may help relieve your symptoms.  According to Verywellhealth, “Illness can make us feel afraid, insecure, hopeless, depressed, and bad about ourselves [practicing coping skills may]….change your outlook on things, and a lot of people need help making that adjustment”.   Lady Gaga continues to create inspirational music that transpires throughout the world regardless of her fibromyalgia; it has not stopped her ambition to live life to the fullest.

Behind every chronic illness,  is a warrior trying to find their way.” – LupaVita

Related Articles About Fibromyalgia

Simple Self Care for Fibro Warriors (2019).

Pacing with Fibromyalgia (2018).

 

Sources

Everyday Health: Ed Zimney, MD (2012).

Fibro Center (2016).

The Hollywood Reporter: Lady Gaga’s Full Speech at SAG-AFTRA Foundation (2018).

Mayo Clinic Health (2019).

MEDPage Today. Lady Gaga Music Icon…and Fibromyalgia (2018).

Netflix. Gaga :Five Foot Two (2017).

WebMD Articles about Fibromyalgia (2019).

Verywellhealth (2019).

Food and Drink to Avoid with Fibromyalgia

Hey there Fibro Warriors! In today’s blog we’re taking about what foods and drinks to avoid or reduce in your diet. These foods and drinks can actually cause flare ups and trigger your symptoms, which is something we all don’t want! To see what food and drinks can help your symptoms, check out our blog post on Diet and Nutrition!

Avoid caffeinated and sugary drinks

Caffeinated and sugary drinks can interfere and cause an imbalance in your sleeping patterns and your energy levels throughout the day. Having coffee or soda during the day can be enticing as it can give a quick burst of energy, but it can cause an energy crash later in the day and/or keep you up at night when your body needs sleep.

Avoid fried and processed foods

Fried and processed foods can cause inflammation as well as nerve pain. These foods can also cause fatigue as your body is working overtime to break down these foods.

Reduce your dairy intake

Studies have shown that dairy products can trigger a fibromyalgia flare up. Take note of how different types of dairy affects you and try adding non-pasteurized and organic dairy products into your diet as your body will have an easier time digesting this and you’ll still get the nutrients from dairy.

Reduce your carbohydrate intake

Eating too many carbohydrates can cause your blood sugar levels to constantly change, making your body tired as well as increasing pain. It can also put added stress on your joints and muscles. Head for whole-wheat alternatives as well as gluten free options! Also, take note of what carbohydrates affect and what symptoms they cause

We hope these tips of what foods to watch out for help you in your diet planning. We also advise keeping a food log to note what foods help your body and which don’t, so you can build a strong and healthy diet plan! Keep fighting on Fibro Warriors and let us know which foods have and haven’t work out for you!

For more information/sources, check out these links!

https://www.onhealth.com/content/1/fibromyalgia_the_diet_connection

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/01/19/foods-that-chronic-pain-sufferers-need-to-avoid.aspx

https://www.arthritis-health.com/types/fibromyalgia/foods-avoid-fibromyalgia

https://www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/features/fibromyalgia-the-diet-connection#1

Vitamin Therapy for Fibromyalgia

Hey Fibro Warriors and Happy Spring! In today’s blog post, we’ll be discussing Vitamin Therapy for Fibromyalgia! Vitamins are essential for our bodies and using vitamin therapy has many benefits that can help with your Fibromyalgia symptoms!

What is Vitamin Therapy?

Vitamin Therapy is the use of vitamins to help with disease. Vitamin Therapy allows for the body to take in the recommend vitamins needed as medical research shows or the doctor recommends for their condition or disease. The vitamins we take in, through diet for example, sometimes isn’t enough for our bodies to help fight symptoms. That’s where vitamin therapy comes in through supplements, just like FibroAid. Here at FibroAid we’ve strived to make taking supplements easy with everything your body needs to help with Fibromyalgia in one capsule!

What Vitamins help with Fibromyalgia?

There are many vitamins that studies have shown that help with Fibromyalgia symptoms, which are all in our one capsule FibroAid supplement!

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps with muscle and bone pain, which is what many Fibro Warriors have to fight with everyday. Since few foods contain vitamin D, a supplement is the best way to take in this essential vitamin!

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 decreases muscle cramping and weakness, as well as helping with sleeping. This vitamin ensures our bodies are well rested and keeps our muscles strong!

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 assists with the pain in the nerves as well as with muscle spasms. It also helps with the production of neurotransmitters in the brain so the brain and nerves can effectively communicate with each other!

5-HTP

5-HTP works by being a natural and healthy source of serotonin. By taking in 5-HTP, you can help your body tolerate and relieve pain as well as get better nights sleep so you can been well rested and ready for each day!

These vitamins are all a part of our one FibroAid capsule! If you can have questions about vitamin therapy or our product, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! Keeping fighting on Fibro Warriors!

Diet and Nutrition for Fibromyalgia

Hello there Fibro Warriors!

It’s March and springtime is just around the corner! Now that we’ve all had some time plan for the new year, let’s focus today on diet and nutrition tips for Fibromyalgia. Diet and nutrition are very important aspects to our health and can help with the various Fibromyalgia symptoms us Warriors have to face.

Foods with High Energy

Eating foods that provide energy will keep you motivated and avoid crashing throughout the days. Most of us would head straight for sugary foods or caffeinated drinks but that can actually cause a flare up. Instead of those foods or drinks that give us quick energy, eat foods that are rich in energy and that will give you energy throughout the day. Such foods are almonds, apples, bananas, beans, dark leafy greens, eggs, and oatmeal, just to name a few!

Foods with High Antioxidants

Antioxidants the molecules in our body that provide help in keeping cells from getting damaged by stopping oxidation, which is the chemical reaction that can harm cells. Foods such as blueberries and cranberries, beans, pecans, and even dark chocolate can give our body the antioxidants we need to keep our antioxidant systems in check and avoid flare ups.

Foods with High Amino Acids

Amino acids are part of what builds up the proteins in our cells and muscles. Eating foods that are high in amino acids can provide our body with the protein we need to fight on. Chicken and turkey, lean cuts of beef and pork, fish such as halibut and tuna, low fat cheese and yogurt, and plant-based proteins like soybeans and quinoa are some of the foods with high amino acid levels that can build up the protein in our bodies.

When it comes it diet and nutrition, these are just some of the many tips you can do to help cope with your symptoms and flare ups. It’s also important to take note of what foods work best for you, what foods you can add, and which foods you can eliminate. Everyone is different and has a different balance of what nutrients they need. Keep fighting Fibro Warriors and let us know what types of foods work for you and if you find any good recipes!

For more information/sources, check out these links!

https://www.vitalmotion.com/fibromyalgia-facts/fibromyalgia-diet/

https://www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/guide/living-with-fibromyalgia-tips#1

https://www.healthline.com/health/fibromyalgia-diet-to-ease-symptoms#energy–rich-foods

Self-Care and Fibromyalgia

Hey there Fibro Warriors!

Life can get so crazy and hectic we often forget to focus and take of the one of the most important things- Ourselves! We must take care of ourselves, especially when having Fibromyalgia, in order to lead a healthy and productive lifestyle and to keep being strong! Here are several tips and suggestions for self-care with Fibromyalgia.

Warm Baths and Showers

Warm water from a bath or a shower will help reduce muscle tension and help relax your body. It will give you time to decompress and take your mind off the pain and release the strain on the areas of your body that are in pain. The warmth will also make you feel refreshed and ready to take on what’s next in your day or help you relax for the night.

Exercise

Exercise is a great part of self-care! Even if it’s light exercise, it will help your body get moving and your mind to focus. Stretching and aerobic exercises like Yoga, Pilates, and water aerobic exercises will help stretch those tense muscles, get your body moving, and relive the stress on your body and your mind. Exercise at your own pace and comfort level. It doesn’t matter how fast you can go, how far you can stretch, or how much you can lift-what matters is that you are getting moving and taking care of yourself!

Reduce Stress

Clearing your mind and body of stress will help alleviate the built-up pressure in your body. Practice breathing and mediation techniques to help get your body and mind back on track. This will allow you to relax and focus on something other than the pain, and will ease your pain and let go of the stress

Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is very important for self-care. Set up regular sleep times of when you will go to bed and wake up so your body gets on track and you allocate enough hours of sleep for your mind and body. This will help your body get on track with your life’s schedule and plans and ensure that your body is taken care of. This will also help reduce fatigue during the day as your body will be rested, relaxed, and focused.

These are just some of the many things you can do for self-care! Taking care of yourself is the key toward a happy, healthy, and positive life! One last suggestion- Keep fighting on Fibro Warriors!

Talking To Your Loved Ones

Hey Fibro Warriors!

Now that the new year has come and it’s February, love is in the air! Love should always been shown towards one another but especially during this month, and even more especially to those around you with Fibromyalgia. Here at FibroAid, we strive to spread awareness about FibroAid and share the ideas about both self-love and loving those around you. In today’s blog post we’ll share ways you can love those around you by talking to them about their condition as well as what you can do to be there for them.

Before you actually talk to your loved one about their condition, it’s best to make sure that is person is ready and open to speak about it, and that you yourself understand their specific symptoms and what they are going through. It may take some time for those with Fibromyalgia to be ready to speak about their condition and symptoms. Patience is key and through this adjustment period, keep reassuring your loved one that you will be there when they are ready to take the next steps forward in fighting Fibromyalgia.

Once the foundation is established, the next best step is to discuss with you loved one what exactly they are feeling and going through, and what help they will need. Keep reassuring your loved on that you will be there for them and provide whatever assistance you can to them to share your love and support with them. After that, talk with your loved one about establishing healthy communication between you. You want to create a sense of compassion and togetherness with your loved one so they understand that you are here to help improve their life and that you are going to support them no matter what. This way your loved one will feel that sense of connection and be willing to be clear and open about their symptoms. Another tip for talking with loved ones is to talk about setting up a diet and workout plan for them. You can help them set up a meal plan and preparations for them as well as join them in their workouts. This way they feel the love and support from you as you are on the journey with them to help their condition.

We hope that these tips helped you in talking to your loved ones about Fibromyalgia. Remember Warriors, keeping fighting and spreading the love!

 

When Things Don’t Go as Planned

If you’re anything like me, you’re a planner. You like to know what’s going to happen and when. Some (including myself sometimes) may call me a control freak. But really, I just like to be prepared. I thrive on routine, on knowing, at least generally, what a day, or even week, have in store for me. It allows me to budget my brain power, my energy, my time, and my money. I can have everything I need when I need it, and look forward to all the good things heading my way.

I think I’ve always been a planner. But when I started experiencing symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis (IC), and then of Fibromyalgia more recently, I really had to start planning. With the IC, I began using the restroom religiously before I left the house. I searched for all the bathrooms everywhere I went and planned out excuses for why I had to leave the room that had nothing to do with my IC. If I was going out with friends, I’d want to know at least three days ahead of time, so I could prep my body and and avoid all trigger foods. This helped me with my plan to have a good time.

When Things Don't Go as Planned

The same kind of things started happening when I my fibromyalgia symptoms kicked in. I began planning my days around my pain and fatigue. If I had something big coming up on a Monday, I’d spend the whole weekend in bed or on the couch, resting so I had the energy to do what I needed. I’d make sure not to plan anything for the days following, knowing I’d need the recovery time. Even now, when my symptoms are relatively under control, I find myself leaving my weekends open so I have time to just rest.

While all of this is well and good, sometimes plans don’t work out. Life has a way of being rather unpredictable. We can try our darned best to plan out every single day in a way that helps us manage our symptoms, and really just our lives, better, but the thing is, we can’t control it all. Life happens. So what do you do when you can’t follow through on your plans? What do you do when life has other plans?

When Things Don't Go as Planned

What do you do when things don’t go as planned?

The first thing I do is breathe. I have a tendency, as I’m sure a lot of you do too, to get super anxious when things don’t go as planned. So when this happens, I take a moment to just breathe. Breathing allows me to regroup, process what’s happening, and make a new game plan to make it through.

Next thing I do is reassure myself that everything is going to work out. Because, you know what? About 99% of the time, things work out, regardless of your plans. I find that incredibly reassuring. Even though I still like to have my control and have a plan, I can reassure myself that everything will work out simply because I have faith that it will. This step is a little easier said than done, because the anxiety can sometimes be overwhelming, but I find it immensely important. Even if you don’t believe yourself as first, keep telling yourself that everything will be okay. Because it will.

When Things Don't Go as Planned

A lot of times, my plans are thwarted by my illnesses. And this can be the most frustrating thing, because then it feels like it’s all my fault. Especially when it’s illness related.

Those of us with fibromyalgia completely understand how this goes. We often make plans when we’re feeling well, or when we think we’ll be able to prepare. But then something happens. Usually, it’s a flare of sorts, leaving us in extreme pain, fatigued out of our minds, and stuck in bed. Doing anything in this state is pretty much out of the question, no matter how bad we want to.

The guilt associated with cancelling or changing plans, or even just changing your own plans, can be debilitating in itself. It can make you feel like a failure and a disappointment, to yourself and your loved ones. That’s why the next thing I make sure to do is reassure myself that my illness is not my fault. And that I should never ever feel guilty for prioritizing my health, care, and sanity over other plans.

So whether things aren’t going as planned due to your illness, or for other reasons, do these three things: breathe, tell yourself that everything will work out the way it’s supposed to, and remind yourself that you have nothing to feel guilty for.

Why I’m So Open About My Fibromyalgia

I want to get personal with you guys today for a few reasons. First off, if you’re reading this blog, you’re looking for information. Or someone to relate to. Or for some hope. Because Fibromyalgia sucks and the journey can be incredibly trying. I also want to be personal with you because I want to make sure you know where I’m coming from with these blog posts. I want to make sure you trust me, because this community means the absolute world to me, and none of my words mean anything unless you get to know me and trust me.

So here we go!

Why I'm So Open About My Fibromyalgia

It All Started with Interstitial Cystitis

I want to preface this post a bit, as I usually do, by saying that being open about my illness is simply what works for me. I’m not saying it’s the right way to live life with fibromyalgia, and it certainly isn’t the only way. However, this openness has been the right choice for me, and I want to share with you exactly why that is.

I’ve always been the type to wear my heart on my sleeve. I was taught at a young age that communication is important, and that speaking my mind is not a bad thing (usually haha). I grew up in an environment where I was able to figure things out for myself, while still having the love and support of my family. My thoughts and feelings were (rarely) downplayed and I always felt like they were valid. So when I first started experiencing my Interstitial Cystitis symptoms at 16 years old, I was pretty quick to discuss it with my parents. While I was initially embarrassed by these bladder issues, and was uncomfortable talking about them, my family helped me feel a more comfortable talking about it, even if it was just with them.

I haven’t always been super comfortable sharing my illnesses, though. Especially since I developed Interstitial Cystitis as a teenager, and life is hard enough when you’re 16. I was embarrassed. I was frustrated. Why did something have to be wrong with me? Why couldn’t I just be healthy and normal? Why I'm So Open About My Fibromyalgia

Then, I went to college. And I started to stress about it even more. What if my professor asks me why I’m always running to the bathroom? What if that cute guy at the party sees me heading to the restroom for the fifth time this hour? But luckily, even then, I still had people I could trust to talk to. My friends, roommates, and family were all incredibly understanding and supportive. Even if they’d never experienced anything like it, they tried their darned best to be there for me, and for that, I am forever grateful.

Because of my support system, I slowly gained the confidence to embrace my illness and not worry about other people finding out. I got to the point with my Interstitial Cystitis where it was just easier to tell people that I have “health problems” or “bladder issues” before they ever had the chance to ask “you have to go to the bathroom again?” It was less stressful to provide the warning, so that I could relax and not worry about someone’s reaction if my symptoms hit. Which, in turn, eased my symptoms a bit.

Thanks to all of these experiences, all of the anxiety, grief, and relief I felt with my Interstitial Cystitis, I was better equipped to handle life with Fibromyalgia.

Why I’m So Open About My Fibromyalgia

So that’s a little background, a little more info on how I became so open with my illnesses. I went through the shame, the frustration, and the dread. I went through it all. But with the right support system, I was able to gain the confidence and acceptance to talk about my illnesses. However, that’s not why I talk about them.

Why I'm So Open About My Fibromyalgia

I talk about my Fibromyalgia and my Interstitial Cystitis because it’s my coping mechanism. It’s how I handle my day-to-day. I’m not exactly running up to everyone saying “Hi! I have Fibromyalgia!”. But if someone is involved in my day-to-day, is relatively close to me, or even just reads my blog, they know I have these illnesses. That’s because Fibromyalgia and Interstitial Cystitis affect me every single day. They’ve both changed my lifestyle immensely and shaped who I am at this moment. How could I not talk about things that play such a big role in my life, even if it’s one I don’t necessarily love?

Another reason I am open about my illnesses is because I know others can’t be. I know there are people who don’t have the support system of family and friends that I do. I know there are people who work in places where they can’t even hint about being sick without fear of consequences. And I know there are people who just aren’t comfortable with it. The thing is, I’m going to continue being open about my illnesses, my experiences, and my chronic illness journey because I want those feeling hopeless or alone to know there are others out there like them.

A year ago, I had just started medical leave from graduate school, I was depressed, and I was essentially bedridden. Today, I’ve graduated with my Master’s, I’m working full time, and my symptoms are under control. Had you asked me last November if I would ever get to this point in my life, I would honestly have told you I didn’t think I would. I was hopeless. And I felt utterly alone, even with a good support system.

Why I'm So Open About My Fibromyalgia

Then, I decided to start writing. And my illnesses became a part of my blog, just like they were and are a part of my life. I got the right diagnosis and medical help I needed. I even found FibroAid! What I’m trying to say is, you can be in an incredibly dark place, but life does get better.

And that’s why I’m so open about my fibromyalgia. I want to make sure everyone knows that this is some people’s’ reality. But I also want to make sure those of you living that reality know that there is still happiness to be found and hope to be had. And if you’ve been wanting to start being more open about your illness(es), but have been afraid to, let this be your sign to slowly start sharing. And if you don’t want to be open about your illnesses, know that if you ever need anyone, this community will always have your back.

Simple Self Care for Fibro Warriors

Simple Self Care for Fibro Warriors

Okay you guys. I’m not going to lie to you. As I’m writing this, I’m laying on the couch watching football and drinking a smoothie because my back is in so much pain it hurts to do anything else. Honestly, my symptoms have been pretty darn under control lately, thanks to my meds and my FibroAid, but I guess I overdid it this week!

That’s why I want to talk about self care. Not the face masks and spa days kind of self care (although those are nice too). But I want to talk about the self care that keeps your pain manageable, your brain relatively clear of fog, and your energy levels high enough to do more than function. I want to talk about the kind of self care than allows you to live your best, happiest life, despite this annoying, sometimes debilitating illness.

Simple Self Care for Fibro Warriors

Simple Self Care for Fibro Warriors

Prioritize Yourself

I know this inherently sounds selfish, but here’s the thing: it’s not! When you live with fibromyalgia, or any other chronic illness, putting your health and your needs first is sometimes essential. You know that saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup”? It’s one of my favorites, because it’s so true and so applicable. If you are run down, flaring, or just emotionally exhausted, you aren’t any good to anyone, including yourself. So in order to be a good friend, family member, employee, etc., you have to prioritize yourself and make sure you’re well taken care of.

Simple Self Care for Fibro Warriors

Go Outside

I don’t necessarily mean go on some big hike or kayaking or skiing or anything, though if that’s what you enjoy, by all means, do it. But in order to keep it attainable and reasonable for all us fibro warriors, I’m just talking about getting some fresh air. Go sit on your back porch or lay in the grass. Walk around the block with your dog or take a stroll on the beach. Do something that gets you outside, looking at the beauty of nature, and breathing fresh air. It will help your mood and your overall wellbeing. I promise.

Simple Self Care for Fibro Warriors

Take a Bath or a Shower

Bathing can sometimes seem like a daunting task when you’re in flare and fatigue mode. It can be a lot of work. But there’s something incredibly refreshing and rejuvenating about bathing. If a shower is too much for you (with the standing and such), try a nice hot bath. Throw in some epsom salts, maybe light a candle or two, and turn on a podcast or your favorite music. It’ll help relax your muscles and your brain, and you’ll feel like a new person. If showers are more your jam, get some fancy soap and shampoo to make it feel more luxurious. And I still recommend listening to podcasts. They just make everything better.

Simple Self Care for Fibro Warriors

Cut Out the Toxic

I’m referring to people, things, responsibilities, all of it. Anything that doesn’t serve you, your loved ones, or your interests, cut it out of your life. Or, at the very least, don’t extoll too much energy on it. Because absolutely nothing is worth your peace of mind OR your physical health. I’m speaking from experience here too. I had to leave graduate school three months before graduation because of my health. My physical and mental health were deteriorating so quickly (I got diagnosed with fibromyalgia a few months later), that I just could no longer continue the way I was going. So I went on medical leave and finished my degree this spring, when everything was much more manageable

Simple Self Care for Fibro Warriors

Do Something You Love

For me, it’s horseback riding, much to my body’s dismay sometimes. But in all honesty, it’s worth it for me. It’s my escape and it’s something I’ve loved and will continue to love for years. Even just spending time with my horse and giving him love, much like you would a dog, can be therapeutic. I think part of it is being outside, but there’s something about doing something you love that is incredibly revitalizing. That’s also why I blog. Blogging is my creative outlet and a way for me to articulate my thoughts. It’s a way for me to feel like I’m doing something (because I am), even when I’m in so much pain I can’t move. Blogging and my horse are what got me through the worst months of my health so far, and I’m not sure how I would have made it through otherwise. So find something that gives you a reason to wake up, a reason to get up (if you can), a reason to function. Because having a feeling of purpose and something to look forward to is the ultimate form of self care.

Simple Self Care for Fibro Warriors