Those of us who live with Fibromyalgia or another chronic pain condition know that sometimes it's hard to stay positive. The pain and fatigue that our condition creates within us on a daily basis makes it easy to fall into a depressive state of mind. Here's some tips that I try to follow, to help alleviate that depression.
1. Remember that you're never alone. The NIH estimates that 5 million Americans age 18 and older have Fibromyalgia. Just on The Fibro Frog's Facebook Page alone, there's just over 16,000 of us. Chances are good that even on your worst day someone else has been or is currently feeling what you're feeling.
2. Find an online support group. If you're having a bad day, post about it. Not only can others chime in and validate your feelings, but they may have some productive ideas and tips to help you get through your current flare. You'll be talking to others who truly "get it" and understand how you're feeling and where you're coming from.
3. Use what I call "The Distraction Technique". Find a good book to read. If you're like me, holding a book makes my arms, shoulders, and neck hurt. If that's the case use an eReader. An eReader is still sometimes too much for me on a bad day, and at that time, I use an eReader app on my computer so I don't have to hold anything or look down. If you don't like to read, find a television series to start and have a marathon. Listen to music. Play online games. Just anything to distract your mind from your pain or thoughts.
4. Soak in a quiet, relaxing bath. Turn off the lights and burn a couple of candles. Lay back, close your eyes, and let your cares go. Getting in and out of a bathtub hurts me, but it's well worth it for the decomposing factors it provides. Nothing helps my muscle pain and stress levels as much as a hot soak.
5. Force yourself to get out of the house at least once a week. I find I do better if I get out at least every 3 days or so. You don't have to dress up or do your hair and makeup. You don't have to go inside anywhere. Just jump in the car in your pj's, and go for a nice, scenic drive. You'd be amazed at how it can help to stop staring at the same four walls for weeks at a time.
6. Make friends with someone who shares your condition and truly understands where you're coming from. Even if this "someone" is an online friend and lives across the world from you. Instant message or call them a few times a week. You can help hold each other up in the bad times, and celebrate the good times.
7. If something around your house needs done but you just don't have the spoons left to complete the task, don't beat yourself up over it. The sooner you learn that pacing yourself is a necessity with your illness and learn to let go of the guilt, the better off you'll mentally be. I promise you that if you have dishes to do, they will unfortunately still be there waiting on you tomorrow. Or the next day. If your floor needs swept? It too will still be there waiting on you until you feel better. It doesn't mean you're a lazy person. It means that you have an illness in which you only can do so many things in a day. Or in a week. Don't let guilt sneak it's way into your head. You didn't ask for this illness or lifestyle. It unfortunately found you.