I’m back, slightly broken but back…..!
I’m looking forward to sharing this next year with you and building on the journey that I started what feels like a very long time ago but is actually only 1 year.
I thought I would start the year by reflecting on where I was last January to where I am today, looking back on the journey of 2017 and sharing with you my hopes for 2018.
Last January I was also broken, but very much more broken than I am today. Today is just a set back, just the Fibromyalgia biting me in the ass and reminding me of its presence. Last January, I hadn’t been diagnosed. I wasn’t sleeping. I was in a tremendous amount of pain. And I was desperate. Desperate for an answer……. a solution.
Towards the end of January I was finally given an answer, but sadly not a solution. At least not a quick solution. Over 2017 I discovered that there is no perfect way to treat Fibromyalgia, but rather many different ways of managing symptoms, that enabled me to get on with and love my new life.
The biggest change I made was to my diet. I cut out dairy and gluten, artificial colourants and sweeteners, and to a large extent, refined sugars. I added in feel good and anti inflammatory foods and never looked back. Yes I’ve slipped on occasion, but not to a point where I’ve completed given it up and gone back to a ‘conventional diet’. Over the next year I am working on eating less meat and eating more veg (if thats possible) and aligning myself more to a vegetarian, dairy free diet. This is beginning with January where I will not be eating any meat, but will be eating fish and eggs.
While this is a new change, and it has come with the new year, it isn’t a resolution as such. More a way of eating to make me feel good. I know that eating a more vegetarian diet definitely helps my symptoms, and so why not do what makes you feel good?! I’m not doing it to lose weight, or get a ‘summer body’, in fact I have stayed away from the scales this new year for fear of disappointment when I see the dreaded number appear on the little digital display. My only goal for 2018 is to feel good, building on the foundations I built during 2017. If my body feels good, and my clothes fit nice, then who cares what the little number on the scales say…. and weighing right after Christmas is a sure fire way to feel guilty about all the delicious homemade treats!
2017 also welcomed mindfulness and to a lesser extent CBT, into my life. what a welcome discovery that was! For anyone who is scared of CBT, please don’t be. CBT is not recommended because the Fibromyalgia is ‘all in your head’, but rather because with the right mind set you can thrive with Fibro. I’ve not had clinical depression or anxiety, yet find the symptoms of Fibromyalgia overwhelming at times, which will inevitably lower mood. CBT helped my to see past my physical symptoms, and how to plan my life and days around my condition, not giving in to it, but working with it and around it. By having CBT I most definitely no longer feel bad about my fibromyalgia (in a way that I don’t feel guilty or embarrassed by it), I don’t let it devour my thoughts, and I certainly do not let it rule my life. It is part of me and who I am, I can either live with it to the best of my ability, or be miserable. I chose the first of those two options. I cannot urge enough, if you have not yet had CBT for a pain condition, please see your doctor and ask about it.
Sleep hygiene came hand in hand with mindfulness for me, and probably had the biggest impact on my sleep. I won’t go on too much about it in this post as last year I wrote a whole series about sleep hygiene (I recommend you start with this post), but it is an area I thoroughly enjoyed exploring and making changes too. Thanks to changing my sleep routine I am reading so much more, devouring books in fact, and it is a new found hobby that I didn’t realise I loved quite so much, plus I’m learning a great deal about many different things. Give it a go!
2017 also saw the use of acupuncture, massage, aromatherapy, physiotherapy, exercise, and general being kind to myself in order to regain control over my life. Blogging become a new hobby, and I thoroughly enjoyed blogging last year and can’t wait to pick up where I left off before my festive break.
So 2018 is here and where am I? Well, I still have Fibromyalgia. I’m still in pain and completely knackered most days. I still love cake and struggle keeping sugar out of my diet. Some nights I don’t sleep. Winter is still a massive problem and the short, cold days are my true nemesis. My legs and back have refused to co-operate for 5 days straight. BUT, I went for a job interview and got a new job (with a team that inspire me so much). I’m working full time and since being back to work in April I’ve only needed just over a week altogether off sick which for a woman with a chronic illness I am pretty darn pleased about (I know it isn’t perfect). Unsurprisingly, these days have mostly been throughout the winter months (hurry up spring). I can cook way better than I could a year ago and have a much wider range of tastes, eating food I never thought I would. I’m far more content. I am reading a whole new genre of books I never thought I would read. I’m knitting again. Oh, and most days I am medication free with the odd paracetamol and anti histamine. So all in all I would say I’m in a damn good place.
Happy New Year, I can’t wait to share my journey and the best things in life with you in 2018.