The other day I had an interesting new symptom: I had the sensation of ants crawling all over my skin. Sometimes it was one ant skittering along my ribcage. Other times it was an army traipsing down my legs, occasionally biting the skin there.
It lasted all evening, varying in intensity. I knew it wasn’t real, knew in my brain in a way that is unshakeable, and so I waited it out. I did not scratch the skin, that hurt. I rubbed it occasionally, which provided some relief and did not cause pain, but I could only access some of the skin, as I was in (vaguely) polite company.
This sensation is called formication, a form of paresthesia, which is an abnormal dermal sensation with no apparent physical cause (thanks Wikipedia!). It’s another side effect of fibromyalgia, which makes sense. Nerves misfiring and all that.
But holy shit it was an unpleasant feeling! The occasional biting fortunately stopped after a little while, and I had some relief about two hours into the sensation where it all settled down. It came back but at a much reduced intensity after about thirty minutes, and eased up enough that I could sleep that night.
I haven’t experienced it before, nor since (admittedly, it’s only been a few days since, so who knows if this is a one off or a new thing?), and I hope never to. Although if I had to pick between ants and pain … actually, I don’t know which one I’d pick! They’re both awful!
I’ll enjoy my itching reprieve while I can. Who knows if it’s going to come back!