7 Feb 2013

Fibromyalgia series : coming to terms with your diagnosis

There is no way in one post that I can connect to everyone and meet every individual thought you can have about being diagnosed so I've decided to just bullet point some of my personal and most common thoughts/fears of getting your diagnosis.

  • Research and learn:  My most important point is that you learn about what your diagnosis is and  make sure you know exactly what it is doing to your body. There are lots of websites and books about Fibromyalgia. Spend time reading up, I also found that joining a forum (FMAUK and UKFibromyalgia ) is a great way to ask people and read up about things from other people who are going through the same things as you. 
  • Support Groups: I know that not every town/city in the world will have a support group but if you can find one local to you , I have found they can be a great help to go to and talk to others face to face about things you are going through. If you are in the UK take a look at the FMAUK website and see if there is a support group near you. Facebook groups are also a great way to get talking to others who are in the same position as you and you may even find people who live local to you to talk too. 

  • Dealing with emotions: When I got diagnosed and I've found it's just about the same for others, you will go through a roller-coaster of different emotions, mainly along the lines of anger, fear and depression. You will question 'why me?' and you need to remember that it is not your fault that this is happening to you, it is no ones fault life is just a bit unfair. There is nothing I can say really to cure these feelings they just tend to go over time as you become able to manage your pain and symptoms. All these emotions may consume you at the beginning but eventually you can channel them into something creative. That is why I became a health activist by writing about things I am going through ,helping and connecting with others helps me to control my emotions, whereas I know other people who have started making crafts, painting and channelling their emotions that way. 

  • Managing your life: I was devastated when I was first diagnosed because it meant that I couldn't be like other people my age now, I couldn't go out and get drunk and most of all it meant that I had to leave my job as a nursery nurse. Things will be hard to admit and there will most likely be changes in your life that you're going to have to face. Take some time to sit down with a family member or partner and work out what things in life will change and how to go about doing them. Will you have to cut your working hours? do you need to apply for disability benefits? will you need more help around the house/with childcare? There are a lot of things that need to be considered and it will be tough but it will help you in the long run to try and sort these things out as early as possible.

  • Try and stay positive: This is not an easy thing to go through for anyone, but your life isn't over just because you're ill. Make sure you explain to friends, work and family about your condition so they know how to help you. I can't go out with my friends when they go out and get drunk but I can still go to the pub with them sometimes and catch up that way. There are ways around the things that you need to change and over time you will see how you can still have a good time and a good life. And please remember you are not alone in this.

I hope these tips have helped you or someone you know. Let me know if you have any other ways that helped you come to terms with your diagnosis in the comments below?

For the next post I am going to start writing about different symptoms that you get with Fibromyalgia (and they may apply to other conditions too) and tips on them. 

What posts would you like to see? Is there any part of Fibromyalgia that you are struggling with and would like me to talk about let me know below?

Thank you for reading
Take care

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