I woke up in the wee hours this morning with the worse fibromyalgia pain I have ever had. I could barely move and could not find a comfortable position. I lay there half awake trying to figure out what to do and why this was happening. I ultimately realized that I could get up and take a tramadol, and that is what I did. In a short while I was able to relax and go to sleep. I woke up still trying to understand why this episode was so much worse than any other, and I have had many others. I realized that three coinciding incidents made this a particularly stressful period.
Yesterday was a very cold day, with wind chills in the 20s. I had to bundle up and go out early, about 7:30, to clean the snow off my car and move it so the snow plowers could get through and clear the snow from the parking lot. We had about four to six inches of snow during the night. Later I drove a friend to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription. It had warmed a bit by then, but it was still cold. Cold weather exacerbates fibromyalgia symptoms, and this is the first time I have experienced this kind of cold windy weather since being diagnosed last spring.
Other factors involved the stress of the past two weeks. Two major storms came through here, and although I was not adversely affected the way millions of others were, I felt the pain and stress of watching it unfold on television.
Local political campaigns and the presidential election with its aftermath were very stressful. Negative ads, lies, and pompous and arrogant candidates (one in particular) all contributed to the negative feelings leading up to this election day. It is hard to avoid all of this unless you turn off your TV, don’t read the newspaper, and generally opt out of life around you. But being a news junky and an informed citizen, I find that really hard to do. Sometimes I would turn it all off, open my bible and read and pray. That is my only antidote to stress and the wordly stuff going on around me. It gives me peace. Nevertheless, I am human and am not always successful at keeping the world at bay.
The aftermath of the presidential election has been pretty negative in some circles, and I come away feeling that my choices are viewed as sinful, as is my president. There is no perfect candidate, as there are no perfect humans, but my choice was vindicated by enough others to elect him. I am not a one-issue voter, and I consider many things in making my choices. Enough said about that, except to say that this has left me with additional stress points that I don’t need and that I refuse to own.
So what do I do now? I stay out of the cold as much as possible, doing my chores and errands mid-day when it is warmer; I minimize the news broadcasts, substituting something else during that time; and I don’t let others’ negativity get to me, telling myself to chill out. Fibromyalgia is bad enough in ordinary circumstances, and those of you who have this illness know that piling on stress and cold weather is asking too much of yourself. It is also important to learn to say “no” when you really cannot do more.
Note to self: Although it is not officially winter yet, the weather tells me to prepare: Get out your YakTrax to be safe on the ice!