Fibromyalgia is a funny thing. Funny strange, not funny ha ha. One day you’re feeling well, you’re feeling optimistic that you might actually recover from it, and the next day, you’re in bed, feeling as if you’ve been hit by a truck.
A couple of years ago I realized that I was starting to feel hopeless. I just started feeling that I might never feel like a “real person” again. I knew two things: 1. I couldn’t live the rest of my life feeling so hopeless and 2. I had to figure out some way to live, and live well within my new parameters. As I thought about the most important thing the fibro had taken away from me, my hope, I started thinking about the best way for me to reclaim it. Part of it, of course, is doing things that help me physically, but I also needed to address my mental/emotional and spiritual needs. That’s when H.O.P.E. (healthy diet, optimism, prayer and meditation, and exercise) was born:
Let’s face it – a well-fueled body is going to serve us better than one that exists on junk food and sodas. Just as we wouldn’t put kerosene in our car’s fuel tank and expect it to run, we can’t put only junk in our bodies and expect them to perform at optimal levels. That’s true for anyone, but especially for those of us who live with a lack of energy anyway. I know there are times when I feel as if I have absolutely no energy at all, and I know if I pay closer attention to my nutrition, I’m at least giving my body a fighting chance to pull energy from somewhere….
When you have chronic pain, it’s not always easy to feel optimistic (see my post The ABCs Of Remaining Optimistic When You Just Aren’t Feeling It), but being able to have a hopeful outlook is paramount (for me at least) to being able to live well. I don’t want to just get through my days; I want to live them.
Prayer and Meditation
I’ll just be honest – I don’t know how I would get through this without prayer. Knowing that I can reach out to God anytime day or night is a life saver for me. Meditation is another life ring. It’s easy, particularly when I’m having a bad day, for negative thoughts to circle around and around in my head like a hamster on a wheel. Meditation gives me the opportunity to put the brakes on that wheel and send that little hamster flying.
Okay, I can hear you groaning from here….. The doctors always tell us to exercise, that it will help with the pain, but the reality is that when you’re already in pain, that’s the last thing you want to do. I know from experience, though, that the doctors are right. If we can get through the initial discomfort and make exercise a habit, it will help with the pain, not to mention our overall health. Some days, however, “official” exercise just isn’t in the cards for me. Some mornings, I wake up and know that I need to take a recovery day. I’ve discovered, though, that if I’m completely sedentary, the next day, I’m much more sore. On my recovery days, I take it easy all day, but I get up every hour or so and just move around the house to get some blood flowing to my muscles and lubricate my joints. As Dr. Nicholas DiNubile, author of the Framework series says, “Motion is lotion.”
Putting all these things together probably won’t cure me, but it will help me live the life I want to live. I’m learning to thrive, not just survive, with Fibromyalgia. My hope is that it will help you as well, whatever your situation. How will you reclaim your hope today?