It’s been a rollercoaster couple of weeks. I mentioned to a friend – in passing – that I’d hurt my arm again (same site as an old injury) and of course now everything else hurt and she stopped me and said “that’s not normal”.
It was like a full set of black-out blinds had been lifted. My body’s reactions to injury was not normal. Nor was feeling achy all the time, or having stiff joints, or feeling like you’re constantly coming down with the flu.
I mentioned this to my GP when I saw him for more fluoxetine. He mentioned that I may have fibromyalgia, and we talked it over, what the diagnostics was, what kinds of treatments there were, what it involved.
A lot of things suddenly make a lot of sense.
My muscles ache, despite them having no reason to ache. My joints hurt. Old injuries flare up.
I have no energy, despite how much rest I’m getting. I sleep badly. I feel utterly burnt out by the end of the week, and need to relax for the entire weekend to have enough energy for the following week, and even then sometimes it’s not enough.
I almost constantly feel like I’m coming down with the flu.
Noise is sometimes painful. Some clothing is painful. I can’t wear rings because some days they are too heavy to wear and physically hurt. I dislike things around my wrist or my neck for the same reason.
I have issues with my memory. Not that that’s exactly new, and I’ve worked around it by either doing a thing immediately or writing it down. My rule at work is if it’s not written down I’m not going to do it. I forget things I’ve recently done. I forget names. I forget nouns, or say completely different ones (which is more an aspie thing than anything else, and makes for amusing conversations).
I have heart palpitations, I have rush-of-blood-away-from-the-head on standing, I have large HR ranges from 100 when I stand to 64 when I’m sitting down. I have IBS.
I’m sensitive to medication, I’m sensitive to food, I’m hypersensitive to needles (seriously, it’s painful). Regardless of how much I relax I can never remove tension or pain from my shoulders and neck. I have issues with thermoregulation.
I could go on for hours. But the stupid thing is: I thought this was all normal.
Because whenever I got ill frequently I was told to harden up and go to school or work anyway. Whenever I ached I was told it was growing pains, or I hadn’t exercised enough, or I was sleeping too much.
So I just … stopped complaining. And with that, I stopped thinking about the pain, because if I thought about it, it got worse, so clearly I’m just imagining it (isn’t it wonderful what backflips the brain does?).
Some days I couldn’t ignore the pain. Some days I sat at my desk and thought ‘I can’t do that right now’ because doing that would involve standing up and moving around and right now, with my hips and legs in as much pain as they were in, that was just too much. And I wondered and I marveled at all the other assistants who could hop up and run around and how on earth did they have that much energy, how could they keep going?
It never occurred to me that it was not normal.
I’m still adjusting to actually listening to what my body is saying. It’s going to take me a long time to realise that when my body says ‘whoa’ I actually need to whoa, and not just ‘harden the fuck up’ and keep going. I still want to tell myself to harden up and keep going even though I am exhausted to the bone.
I go in for diagnostics in a couple of weeks. Just history taking and pressure points test and bloods to rule out anything else. Once I get a diagnosis I’ll be able to start making progress, but for now I’ll sit in this mildly terrifying limbo. Maybe I do. Maybe I don’t. The alternatives aren’t really much better.