Five years ago I left a stressful, full-time, computer based role that I spent an hour each way on the bus commuting to. I moved back in with my family and we relocated to a warmer city.
Once here, I took up a position that was challenging and fulfilling, but sliced a third off my work day.
I had been really struggling. The pain had been building to the point that I awoke in pain, spent the day in pain and tried to sleep in pain. It dominated my life. I was so sore that it made me want to vomit.
The fatigue was another story. After a debilitating bug at university I became progressively more exhausted. By that time, four years later, I was dragging. I needed a coffee first thing in the morning, an espresso on the way to work and an energy drink in the early afternoon just to keep my eyes open.
I could do little in the weekends. On Sundays I was barely able to leave my bed.
It was only in my dreams that I thought life could get any better. I was hoping that I’d get to a point in my career where I could reduce my work hours and still afford to live. I dreamed of warmer weather, of no busses and a little four legged love to potter around home with me.
Then the opportunity came and my whole life changed.
I’ve been meditating upon the components of my whole of life change that actually made a difference.
Change One – Reduce Work Hours
I reduced my time sitting at the computer by a third. Also, by finishing at 3pm I created two hours for other things without cutting into the evening (when I’m too exhausted to function).
Change Two – Cut Commute
I drove to work, half an hour each way, no sitting on a bus trying not to vomit, fall asleep or both.
Change Three – Love
I surrounded myself with people who loved me and who I enjoyed being with.
And then I met the love of my life and the human I most cherish (my husband and son). This has perhaps been the most instrumental thing to increasing my functionality, my hope and my reason for fighting the Fibromyalgia.
Change Four – Reduction in Activity/Pacing
The amount of walking and sitting and activity required of my whole life back then caused a lot of tight, sore muscles and worsened the fatigue. I cut everything right back. This made a huge difference in the wrench tight muscles in my lower back, glutes and legs. The fatigue has reduced dramatically.
Change Five – Passion
With the reduction in work hours and a year of rest and rejuvenation, I felt able to commit to a writing course that I had always wanted to do. I created energy to follow a passion. The reduction in fatigue enabled me to take back my love of reading – I began to read voraciously.
Change Six – Exercise
I met my four legged love (Coop the dog) and embarked upon a gentle exercise plan. I worked my way up from a meandering 15 minute block to an average 30 minute walk per day plus 20 minutes of Pilates three times per week. After the baby this changed, but exercise is super important.
Change Seven – Acupuncture
Quite by accident, I stumbled upon a fantastic physiotherapist who was experienced with Fibromyalgia. I found that acupuncture needles in key muscles, including neck trigger points, make a big difference for me.
Change Eight – Knowledge
With a reduction in pain and fatigue I was able to move from just surviving to living. I was able to begin researching. This one took the entirety of the last five years. With the most change happening in the last two years.
It’s still hard, I’m still in pain and I’m still exhausted. But I have enacted a heap of changes and won’t stop trying new things.
I’m living my happily ever after, Fibromyalgia and all.