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At times it can be unpredictable bowel habits that mean a sufferer is unable to leave the house or has to plan trips around being able to find a toilet quickly. Fatigue is the enemy of motivation, a feeling of just wanting to curl up and go to sleep is not conducive with having a high level of motivation. There could be other changes within brain chemistry that impact libido, but, like with many symptoms of fibro, the causes are not fully understood.

It can be anything from a low-level grumbling discomfort to a feeling that I might actually be sick. When appetite fluctuates as well it can be tricky to balance eating less to avoid symptoms with eating enough to have enough energy. A small injury can take a long time to heal and the pain or tenderness remains long after the visible injury has gone. Stress avoidance is not always possible, so I have learned many methods of reducing the negative effects of stress. I use a variety of tools depending on the needs of the moment. Deep relaxation through therapeutic massage and healing bodywork usually works best for me.

I also respond well to long soaks in a hot tub or steam room, meditation and prayer, visualization, and gentle exercise such as long, deep yoga stretches, tai chi, slow meditative walks, and mindful movement. However, sometimes something more vigorous for a shorter period of time, like a brisk walk or jumping on my mini-trampoline, works better. Asking for assistance when I need it helps to both avoid and reduce the effects of stress. For example, when I feel a relapse coming on, I ask my husband for a massage. Massage addresses so many aspects of fibromyalgia for me.

It relaxes tension, reduces pain and stiffness, releases negative emotions, and helps me sleep. It has proven to be such a great stress manager and healer that my husband now offers without waiting to be asked. And this has improved our relationship as well. I monitor myself more moment-to-moment now and do what keeps my energy up and my pain level down.

Comforts I had considered luxuries I now view as necessities. Having comfortable clothes, shoes, bed, chair, temperature, and lighting cuts down on unnecessary stress.

I do more things, like dancing and playing the piano, just for the fun of it without trying to be perfect at it. Having fun reduces stress, energizes, and eases pain. I avoid a great deal of stress by letting certain things be as they are.


This has been a difficult lesson as I am a recovering perfectionist. For example, I have learned to be at peace and not get upset because someone else has messed up the kitchen. I no longer rush to clean it by myself even though I can barely stand up. And I recognize now that, in the long run, it doesn't really matter if my floors aren't spotless or the laundry doesn't get done on Saturday. Free to Be Me. Deepening my understanding and acceptance of how this illness affects me has generated an inner strength that has helped me change the way I live my life so that I now do what is right for me.

I am more at peace within myself now than ever before. I have learned that it's not about what happens to me; it's about how I deal with what happens to me that makes all the difference.

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1. Diarrhoea, constipation, bloating and flatulence

Register now for classes that begin on July 1, All Articles. Coping Strategies. Keep walking. Please keep walking. It burns.

1. Pain is individual.

Just, please. Get off me.


The pain is spreading. You are squeezing it out into my whole body. Please stop. Back pat. Oh, no, please. The tingling starts in my upper back.

A Rational Guide to Fibromyalgia

Another back pat. Now it is prickling, soon it will be shooting, and… there it goes. My whole back is on fire. Yes, because I can just get better from a chronic illness. Yes, walking. Walking is good. I made it to school. I am at work.

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That is an accomplishment! I am not this pain. It is something that happens to me, but it is not who I am. I have Physical Therapy today. I used to dread that, but, now, I look forward to it. They stick needles in my back to break up my stubborn clenched muscles. The doctor I just started seeing recommended it. He was the one who diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. He assured me that it was real, unexplained pain.

It is not all in my head. My last meeting with him was very encouraging. I still have some doctors I need to see about all of the elements that are finely balanced within the body to either contribute to or take away from my fibromyalgia symptoms. But when I tell people that name…. Yes, but, it is a little more than that. I would not go so far as to call it a gift, but, because of it, I can sit with others in their pain and let them know I truly understand.

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My story can encourage others. The term fibromyalgia fibro warrior is not a misnomer. Fibromyalgia, a chronic illness with three main symptoms — widespread pain, chronic fatigue and cognitive trouble. In the past, it was mischaracterized as a mental health disorder. Click here to join our fibro community and connect with people who get it.


A Rational Guide to Fibromyalgia

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