For the longest time, I mean actual years, I didn’t even know I had fibro. I had all the symptoms, all the time, though. The problem was that I kept getting shuffled from doctor to doctor being told that it was in my head or fibro isn’t a real thing or that I was just depressed…you name it. The thing is, I always knew something was physically wrong with me. Kind of in the way that one can sense that something is off but in another way that a lot of the symptoms for the things they claimed I had just didn’t add up, no matter how I looked at it.
The first thing that doctors loved to tell me was that I was tired because I was depressed and ship me off to psych. The only problem was that, though I live with some element of depression none of my psychiatrists have ever agreed it’s severe. That it comes with the territory of having PTSD and OCD but it’s under control. I’m not suicidal, I’m not hopeless, I have plans for the future, I like getting up everyday, etc. I do not meet the markers for severe depression to also be as tired as I am so it was concluded that it had to be physical exhaustion. Not mental.
Very next I was told it was my anxiety. Yes, that was causing it, surely. That’s why I was tired all the time. I’m not here to deny I have anxiety (In years past it was so bad I was agoraphobic) but over time and counseling I actually learned how to deal with my triggers and anxiety by going through two courses of cognitive behavioral therapy and with the help of medication. I won’t claim I was never anxious about anything but once again, my level of physical exhaustion couldn’t be explained by anxiety alone either. Nor could it be explained if we coupled that with the mild depression I had.
Not to mention there was the physical pain. All the time. For seemingly no reason. Joints, back, shoulders, neck. I do have a back injury (and problems with my sciatica) but I know the difference between what that is and everything else in my body. It’s not the same as every inch of you feeling like it’s on fire. I mean, it’s as odd as well, say I walk around the mall for a few hours. That is nothing that anyone would call strenuous activity, yet the next day I’m pretty much on my ass dead tired and aching in bed because of nerve pain. I exerted myself too much. It can literally take a full day to feel better from something that simple.
As of now, I know that my anxiety and depression are controlled with medications. Good medications. Miracle lifesaving medications (legit I love this stuff) so, in short, if my exhaustion was caused by emotional or mental stress then it should have gone away since these medications really are a miracle for me mentally. I’ve never felt so…normal. I hate to use that word because normal is relative as a concept and abnormal isn’t a bad thing but I guess I feel way more in control of my thoughts and emotions than I ever have in my life. I shouldn’t be this exhausted physically after doing minor activities.
It was then I was told by my specialist that I have symptoms consistent with fibromyalgia. Let me tell you, I’ve thought it was possible my whole life but I was also very skeptical. I kept fighting against it, part of me didn’t even believe it could be real. Yet, there I was and here I am now feeling all the symptoms. Symptoms that cannot be explained by any other outside factor. I have medication for my mental diagnosis that changed my life so drastically I was able to go back to work. That is on the mental end of things. Physically, just doing an 8 hour shift kills me. Even if the job isn’t stressful, even if there’s no heavy lifting, even if basically all I do is sit in a chair all day behind a desk…none of this should be this bad if I don’t have fibro.
This means that I have had this problem for years and have been too stubborn to admit it or even consider it. I was always going to the next special, the next doctor, the next psychiatrist and yet here I am now. I don’t know how to accept this, but I know it’s the only answer and it’s the right one. Now my life will become about living with and managing the symptoms while battling the people who think it’s a made up illness. As someone who (at one point) did think it was “Bullshit” I can say now that it isn’t. I’m really sorry that I ever thought that it was, and maybe this is my karma. Whatever the case is, it’s a terrible position to be in and it’s very real. I just wanted to let everyone know this just in case they struggle with it or someone they know does. For now, I’m still going to try to live my life in denial but I feel that I am about ready to accept that maybe the doctors are right, I just really doing like the conclusion.