Take Your Meds


I’ve had a couple of seriously stupid days.  I’m laughing about it, because nothing bad really happened, but it could have.

I have alarms I’ve set on my phone with comical noises as a reminder to take my fluoxetine in the morning, and my amitriptyline in the evening.  I would forget my own head if it wasn’t screwed on, so this is a sensible precaution.

Except when it goes off and I don’t immediately take my medication, and then I forget about it.  Like I did yesterday morning.  And yesterday evening.  And this morning.

It was only when I was lying in bed wondering why I was in so much pain and also not trembling that I realised whoops, I hadn’t taken my amitrip the night before!  It wasn’t until 9.30am that I realised I’d forgotten to take my fluoxetine that morning, and it was through a process of thinking ‘now these symptoms are a bit severe for missing one dose, I don’t usually feel this bad when I wake up late’ that I realised I’d also forgotten my fluoxetine the morning before.

The good thing is I can now say with certainty that the amitriptyline really helps.  The bad thing is I now know that I ignore my alarm!  So, on the suggestion of a friend, I got the app called ‘Medisafe’.  This post isn’t sponsored in any way, shape, or form, I just genuinely think it’s a neat app.  You plug in the medication, you select the dosage, and then you select the external presentation of your particular medication (because they vary considerably).  You tell it when you take it, how many you take, and what you take it for, and it then proceeds to piss you right off when you need to take it.  You have to go in and say you took it (which I will only ever do once I’ve actually taken my medication), so hopefully I won’t have any really daft days like the last couple.

Like I say, I’m laughing and making light out of it, but if I hadn’t run home at morning tea and taken my fluoxetine, it probably would have been a different story.  Moral of the story:  take your meds!

The Diagnosis


The bloods all came back clean, so for all intents I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

I don’t know what I’m feeling right now.  It hasn’t begun to sink in, I think.  It’s just a word.  Life goes on as it always does.

Fibromyalgia is more than a word.  It’s a name for what has been plaguing me for years.  It’s a set of symptoms that can be linked back to a thing with a name, a thing that exists, a thing that’s not just in my head.

There’s a certain amount of relief in that.

There’s also the realisation that this is a thing and it’s not just in my head.  This is a thing.  It exists, it’s real, and it means I can’t just harden the fuck up and plow on through, or stop being lazy.  It exists, and it has an impact on my body and on my life, and I must now change my life to take that into consideration.  I can’t keep on going as I have done.

I’m also realising just how little support there is in the public health system for people experiencing chronic pain.  Where I live there is nothing.  Which is mildly problematic, but optimistically speaking I only have another 2 or so years here, and then we can move.  I’m already eyeballing areas that have public health chronic pain clinics, which are fortunately in areas we are interested in moving to.

For now I guess it’s just truck on as usual and deal with the doom and gloom when it all catches up with me.  But at least I have an answer now.  It’s not all in my head.

The Aches And Shakes


The last few weeks have been interesting to say the least.

I appear to have developed an essential tremor in all of its forms – internal, kinetic, and postural.  I am in fact off work today with the aches and shakes!

It seems to mostly appear when I have ‘done too much’ – typically beginning lightly on Thursday and coming in a bit more solidly on Friday, and then slowly receding over a weekend of rest.  This weekend just past wasn’t particularly restful, so I was shaking myself to pieces yesterday at work.

This morning I had the ‘roaming aches’, where one joint would feel incredibly painful, then that would go away, and another would start feeling incredibly painful.  On top of that, I have my usual overly exhausted body aches in my hips, lower back, all down my legs, and around my shoulders and neck.  Fortunately I’ve got my physio appointment today, so that should ameliorate at least some of those aches.

So I’m not entirely sure if the shakes relate directly to the fibro, or more to the amitriptyline, as postural tremors are associated with both.  Although I notice mine most as a kinetic tremor, I lose my fine motor skills, and simple tasks like leafing through paper or putting a paperclip on are surprisingly challenging.

I’ll raise this with my doctor on Thursday, who will hopefully have all the blood results back by then, and I can get a properly tentative answer as to what this all is.  In the meantime, it’s nap time.

I Am Allowed To Be Burnt Out


I am allowed to be burnt out.

For me, this is a radical idea.  The admitting and acceptance of the state of being burnt out, and actually giving myself permission to be burnt out.  To be honest, I think I’ve been burnt out for years, and it finally caught up with me last year.

I am autistic.  From a very early age I was conditioned against expressing that and pressured into appearing neurotypical.  I have, up until this year, put on a facade of a successful, bubbly, vivacious and sociable business woman.  Mostly this appearance was abused into me by It, but it was also expected of me from all of my previous roles.

I have overworked and over performed in every single role I have undertaken.  I would typically arrive at 8am and leave anywhere between 6 and 8pm, having worked through all of my breaks and most of my lunch, always at break-neck speed, because there was so much work to do.  I worked myself ragged, and I went back in and did it all again the next day, because that’s just what you do.  I’ve done this in every role until I moved to my current city, so that’s a good decade or so.

Throughout most of that decade, I was also with It.  The narcissist.  The ending came about because It was becoming desperate, and eventually manipulated Itself into the position of ‘either you come with me or I go alone’.  I was in a position where I was actively pursuing the career I wanted, and I wasn’t prepared to jeopardize the career I had been working for years to be able to pursue, and I was angry that he would ask that of me while putting his own career first (always first).  So I said no.

Then I went straight back to work the next day.  And continued working, and overworking, and not thinking about anything, and putting on the facade of being a lively, successful young businesswoman.

It’s all caught up with me and there is no escaping the exhaustion that I have denied for so long.  I ignored my body at every turn.  When it screamed ‘rest’ I said ‘harden up’ and went to work.  When it said ‘no more, go home’ I said ‘nope, we’ve still got to finish this document pack’ and kept going.  And when I say I worked fast, I mean I worked bloody fast.  I put out more work in one day than most would in three.  My brain was constantly on the go planning my next move, identifying the path to take to complete the required tasks in the shortest amount of time, and in the right priority order.

Oh, and through most of that I was working a second job on weekends and doing one paper a semester at university.

So yeah, I’m allowed to be burnt out now.  I sound defensive, and that’s because I am, because I expect to be told ‘no, you’re not allowed to be burnt out, harden up and keep on going’, because that’s what I’ve basically been told my entire life in various ways.  Stiff upper lip.  Carry on.  That kind of claptrap.  Telling myself I’m allowed to be burnt out is one thing, but taking a stand and saying ‘I AM ALLOWED TO BE BURNT OUT’ to the world is an entirely different kettle of fish.

Because despite the abuse I’ve been through, despite feeling as though I’m brittle and nothing but bone and sinew, despite almost falling asleep at work on numerous occasions because I am so exhausted, I … I gaslight myself.  It’s so ingrained in me, I gaslight myself.  It has been reinforced so thoroughly in my life that I am not important, what I feel is not important, what I want to do is not important, what I don’t want to do is not important, that I can’t possibly imagine that what I’ve been through is … something.  That it’s actually not good, that I’ve been impacted by it and that feeling is valid and true and reasonable.

It’s a horrific mindset, but I’m battling it.  Slowly but surely.  Because I deserve to not be burnt out.