Fibromyalgia and Mental Health

Posted , 12 users are following.

Hi all,

I've just joined this site in a desperate attempt to find something that can help.

I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia about 6 months ago after a few years of unexplainable pain and the usual arguing with medical professionals. It's been a tough year as the pain and symptoms are increasing all the time. I keep thinking I may have reached the peak, only to be proved wrong and reach new levels of pain.

I'm used to coping with a lot. 4 years ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder after over a decade of being seriously ill. I'm a strong person and I've never let anything hold me back. I've been teaching now for 8 years and my career is going extremely well. 

I guess like everyone on here, I'm used to being strong. I'm used to smiling when I want to cry. I'm used to pretending that everything is fine.

But I worry that this time I've met my nemesis. The pain is now at the level that it's affecting my mental health. I have to work 12-15 hours a day. My work have been very understanding but in my job there are just no shortcuts. 

I know I can cope with mental pain and I think I could cope with physical pain. But the combination of both is...terrifying I guess.

If anyone has any advice or experience of Fibromyalgia and Mental Health conditions I would love to hear from you. 

Best wishes everyone x

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  • Posted

    So much of Fibro mimics Sluggish Hypo Thyroid.....here's what helps me since 1999 when I was hit with an emotional trauma at 61, I worked 4 more years until the U.S. Medicare kicked in for me. I'm now 76.

    Getting thyroid treated after 10 yrs of struggling, got on Armour thyroid in 2002.

    Then found how Vit D deficient I was in 2006 and got those levels going with larger doses of Vit D3 and now taking K2 as it's said to help with absorption.

    2 Iburprofen two times per day, late morning and before bed.

    Pain RX and 1/2 tylenol in between these ibuprofen..

    DGL to protect stomach lining.

    Vit B supplements, including 500mg Inositol a couple times per day or so, these calm the nerves...

    Grape Seed Extract since 1995 for overall immune system. I don't get sick.

    I worked long and hard on my sleep remedy and sleep 8-10 hrs per night....and no drugs for this combo...all supps.

    I've never taken drugs for the FM except the ibuprofen and never gone specifically to an MD for the FM issues.

    Now I also deal with Osteoarthritis and do a lot of supps to get me thru this mess...and now dealing with a messy hip replacement in 2010, which caused nerve damage and more OA.

    Hope this helps, this is what helps me.Are you in US or UK?

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    • Posted

      Thanks Joy. I'm in the UK. I've had my Thyroid checked and it's fine and I had Vit D supplements for a while before they sent my Vit D levels too high. I take Gabapentin and Amitriptyline which seem to help a little but not much. Because of all the heavy duty meds I take for Bipolar, doctors seem reluctant to try anything else.

      I try to exercise but it brings on massive flare ups. I know I need to find a way to manage this but I'm all out of answers at the moment! 

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    • Posted

      Sounds like the Bipolar and meds play a big part in your conditions. Sorry I can't help further.....

      What I gave you worked for me.

      Have you ever considered going out of the conventional MD world to an alternative MD and maybe get off some of the heavy duty meds for bipolar....just thinking outside the box as I always do.

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    • Posted

      Thanks Joy. I agree, if I could come off some of my bipolar meds it would give me more options. I definitely want to try some alternative medicine in the future though. Is there anything in particular you would recommend? :-) 
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    • Posted

      I hope you don't go off the bipolar meds.  They may be holding you together.  It's so hard to find the right cocktail, I firmly (as an LPC, Fibro sufferer, and bipolar girl) believe in sticking to it.  Alternative medicine is generally woo.

      I hope you're feeling better. Fibro requires you to take good care of yourself and it's hard in a career like that.  I wrote a blog post about coming to terms with the losses we experience with the illness at fibrogirl.blog if you're interested.  I'd love to hear any pointers you've figured out this past year.  It's hard.

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  • Posted

    Hello,

    You are dealing with a lot! I am also a teacher but only do supply now, could not work full-time as it would be too stressful. To be honest, even if you are in the best of health this job is extraordinarily difficult! I admire you for keeping going. As for what might help, Amitriptylene 50g for pain and sleep. My doctor doesn't believe just giving me more painkillers will help. He thinks the way forward is CBT, cognitive behaviour therapy, which I am going to try. He is a doctor who is interested in this condition, so I think that is a good thing. Praps you could try the CBT and check your Doctor has an interest in this condition. Otherwise I think they only throw painkillers at you, which can have awful side effects. Goodness this is long-winded sorry! What part of the uk are you in? Take care, Anne, Portchester, Hants

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    • Posted

      Thanks Anne. I'm in Suffolk. I hadn't thought about CBT for Fibromyalgia. I had some CBT a few years back for mental health reasons, but as my two conditions seem so intertwined lately it may be a good idea. I desperately don't want to have to reduce my hours. So much of dealing with my Bipolar is staying in a strict routine so I think cutting back at work would be a bad thing for me. Thanks so much for replying. Wishing you good health! :-) 
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    • Posted

      Hello,

      Thanks for your reply, glad I may be of some help! I think absolutety youould not cut down your hours. I love the time I spend teaching, and also looking after my grandchildren - that's what keeps me going. But I do know I have to pace myself, if I do too much one day I will suffer for it. You take care, Anne

       

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  • Posted

    Honey failure is not an option...... Is that how u see this ? If so I'm afraid ur in for a big bump there will come a time my friend where ur mental health is more important than becoming crazy and that is it I'm afraid... Your energy will only go on for so long I wish u well in teaching for as long as you can but plzzzzz at some point this FYBROMYAGIA does existed u I'm sooooooo sorry to be so blunt but I was the girl with a husband two stunning girls a full time job then the gym after work with hobbies with my girls two to three times a week to losing the lot I don't want anyone to be under any alution about this illness and how bad it gets expect the worst then anything u one is a bonus I can barely go out twice a week now with help stay focused but not fooled by yourself xxxxxxx
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    • Posted

      I'm not under any illusions and I am well aware of the reality of this condition. But having already lived most of my life with a chronic condition I think I've learnt a few things about positive mental attitude. Are you suggesting I should give up? Over half the battle is attitude I think...
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    • Posted

      Hi I am new on the forum and trying to figure out how to chat with others. Can u or anyone who reads this tell me if they have ever heard of fibro being related to deep organ pain. I was diagnosed with fibro 8 yrs ago and it hasn't been really bad other than the sleep issues and the fog. I have been on prescription pain meds for 2 months now die to a pain near my pancreas. I have had every test run and everything is normal. My dr today said he feels it may be nerve related. Could this be fibro pain or am I going crazy? Thanks for listening.
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    • Posted

      You’re not going crazy ~ it’s just a crazy disease. Eleven years before I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia I started having this pain (which just came out of nowhere) in my upper abdominal region (right sided). It was so intense I could not sit down. I had a feeling of pressure, and pain similar to what I felt when I had stomach ulcers (but on the opposite side). In 2009 I finally had a CT to look at my liver and gallbladder. But, it showed no abnormalities. Prior to the pain in the UAR: I had been diagnosed with IBS, Gurd, Anxiety, Depression, and neuropathy; just to name a few. In 2015 I was finally diagnosed with FM. Since that time I have been seen by four wonderful specialists who all tell me it’s all part of the same thing. It all has to do with the way the gut and brain/nervous system interact.    

       

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  • Posted

    Hurray; someone willing to stay positive smile and not give in to the condition. The meds are a matter of trial and error, what suits one will not suit another, its a case of going back to your doctor over and over and saying, no, this doesnt quite work. Personally for me amitriptyline worked but knocked me for six and I would rather be compus mentis than painfree so I stopped with that. Citalopram works better for me as I find stress exaggerates the pain and Citalopram reduces the stress, as a guide 20-30mg. Stuff you would think might work may not necessarily, I started swimming, loved it, found I could swim for miles, great exercise, but wipes me out every time for at least 2 days, so either keep going but just do a couple of lengths or rule it out, im still working on that one. As to your job, if you love it, dont even dream of giving it up, you just need to factor fibro into the mix and realise that there may be times when its going to be harder, perhaps impossible, make your colleagues aware of this maybe? Also be aware of it yourself, I have your type of "put on a brave face" personality and sometimes it slips, its more likely to slip if you are facing both mental and physical problems simultaneously, (you may be strong but everyone has limits) so at least if you have a hiccup your colleagues will not be shocked into thinking you have "lost it" and to be honest, from experience, I was hit very suddenly with the "anxiety" side of fibro and I thought myself that I had "lost it" so preparation is the key. When i start to get the same symptoms Im fully prepared now and just think "bring it on." However, you do sound like you are in a v stressful job, as I was, the difference being that I hated my job so giving it up (with a little forward planning) was an easy decision for me and I fully believe that my job caused the onset of fibro, so even tho you are enjoying your job look into other possibilities for the future, if nothing more it will give you some control. Re coping with mental and physical pain together, im not sure if its the same for everyone, but for me they are totally linked together, if im stressed at all, im in pain, I take a combo of paracetamol & ibuprofen plus a pain relief muscle gel (over the counter) and nothing stronger, the key for me is dealing with the stress, citalopram is working ok for that at the moment, but following the sudden onset of anxiety I experienced I had to think hard about what would leave me in a happy relatively stress free place, what was important to me, what i needed to keep and let go in order to find that place, so I pared my life right back, I downsized my house and moved areas, I left my job and used my savings to pay off my house and car etc. It was a very tough year but it was worth it. From what you are saying I would think the key to your health would not be so much taking loads of different drugs, but maintaining your already positive mental attitude, CBT and also psychiatric sessions may be useful, theres an NHS group called "impact pain" as well that you could be referred to ( these were marginally helpful with me tbh but i suppose it depends on your area and who you see). The main thing I changed was to be more selfish in a way, to arrange things that helped me rather than my colleagues, friends or family. Now im in a better place though they have all benefitted from it. Good luck with getting where you need to be xx
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    • Posted

      Thank you so much Carinaeta- it has really given me a boost to read your words. 

      My work and colleagues are extremely supportive- I really am blessed in that respect. I get the odd negative comment, but people that have that attitude don't matter to me anyway. 

      I think you're completely right about self awareness. Getting through my mental health issues has been a long journey of learning about myself and learning how to cope when things go wrong, and how to plan for those times. I guess I'm starting to realise this is no different. 

      I completely accept that Finromyalgia is a part of my life and I want to learn to live with it, not to let it dictate my life. 

      Thank you so much, and best wishes to you :-) 

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