Stress And Fibromyalgia

Singapore, May 2015
Singapore, May 2015

I think most people who have Fibromyalgia would agree that it reacts badly to stress. My GP and I are both pretty certain what the catalyst was for my Fibro – and it was a prolonged and very stressful situation.

I don’t cope well with stress. In years gone by I could cope with it pretty well but now, as I tell people, I have run out of ‘cope’. If I encounter a stressful situation, my stress levels shoot right up, way off the scale. My reaction is disproportionate to the amount of stress that is happening and, of course, now I have the additional element of Fibromyalgia and all that goes with it. Mixing stress and Fibro is best avoided, if possible. Certainly, for me, stress can trigger a Fibro Flare, which, I think, is what has happened to me in the last few days.

I have been in the midst of lots of nasty stress-inducing events over the past couple of weeks and I think it is now taking its toll. My Fibro, which has been very well behaved for about three months, has kicked into overdrive. My tinnitus has worsened considerably and, at times, interferes with my ability to hear clearly and to distinguish between sounds that are solely inside my head and external ones. It’s very disconcerting when one is listening to music, only to have another, entirely different tune playing in one’s ears simultaneously. At times I can become quite distressed by the effects of the tinnitus.

Tiredness and fatigue have been a feature of this week. However, they are both manifesting differently from previously. That may be due to the effect of the Amitriptyline, although, of course, that may have nothing to do with it. Up until this last week, the tiredness and fatigue have been pretty straightforward: I’m tired so I fall asleep, I’m fatigued so I rest. It hasn’t been quite like that recently. The tiredness hasn’t made me sleep and the fatigue seems to be as much brain exhaustion as physical exhaustion. Usually, when the fatigue hits me, I will pick up my iPad rather than doing nothing, or I will watch something mindless on TV, whereas this last few days, I don’t even do that! All I can manage is to sit and just ‘be’. My ‘oomph’ has been missing. Actually, I am finding it hard to find an effective way to explain this changed phenomenon.

Worst of all, though, is the onset of stiffness, together with an aching sort of pain in lots of different areas of my body. My limbs and, indeed, my entire body, feel leaden. The aching is similar to the muscle ache that can be experienced during and after a bout of flu. The stiffness is there whenever I move: I look like a decrepit old fogey, shuffling along. Not the best look I’ve ever had!

Despite the stiffness and pain, I am pushing myself to do things. I don’t want to simply sit and vegetate, although that would be really easy at the moment. Only the other day Peter mentioned that I don’t seem to sit and do nothing very often. When I am seated, I can usually be found knitting or sewing, or some such and I intend to continue doing so.


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