National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day is May 12th!

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia Syndrome is a cognitive disorder that affects the central nervous system. This is a disease, and there is no cure. This disease is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, chronic fatigue, depression, fibro fog, and fibro flares.

Fibromyalgia is a central nervous system disorder. The brain is continuously firing pain signals throughout the body. The entire nervous system fully reacts, becoming oversensitive to everything around us! Responding to this unpleasant stimulus, known as “noxious stimuli” is what a person with fibromyalgia feels. Lights are too bright, smells are overpowering, noises are too irritating, heat is too hot, cold is too cold, and touch is too painful.  Happy Birthday, Fibromyalgia…?

Chronic fatigue felt by a person with fibromyalgia is never-ending, even after a full night’s sleep. (Stay awake for three days, doctors report this is what the fatigue of fibromyalgia feels like every day.) Energy is fleeting. This is not just being tired and taking a nap to refresh yourself. It doesn’t matter how much sleep a person with fibromyalgia gets, exhaustion is felt throughout the day. Many individuals have sleep disorders that prevent them from obtaining a deep sleep, this adds to the fatigue already experienced by the individual with fibromyalgia. Should I Leave the Spoon Theory Behind?

Depression is common in people with fibromyalgia. It was found that a person with Fibromyalgia has lowered dopamine level production. Dopamine and the Fibro Brain.  Your sense of well-being is limited. Living with pain and fatigue, day-to-day, will also cause depression.

Fibro fog is a cognitive disorder. This is not like just forgetting someone’s name or where you put your keys, this is a dysfunction that occurs in the brain. The Fog of Fibromyalgia.

A Fibro flare is a temporary increase in pain and/or symptoms of fibromyalgia. This occurs when we over-do things, expending our energy, and at other times for no reason. This will pass, but you will experience flares throughout the entire time you have this disease. Fibromyalgia Flare! Again.

There is a full list of fibromyalgia symptoms listed on this site’s menu, I have only covered the basic ones. Fibromyalgia Symptoms.

~Kimimg_0753

Let’s Talk Smash Books!

What is a Smash Book? It is merely a scrapbook that you fill up with all the things that are in that box, under your bed, filled with notes, photos, and cards! The precious things that are important to you.

The beauty of a Smash Book is there are no rules! I am not a ‘gifted’ scrapbooker! I have the attention span of a mouse! So, all I did was cut and paste and smash everything I had onto the pages in this book. And I tied a bright, happy polka-dotted ribbon around it to keep it closed!!! Smash it in there! No rules.

The purpose of my Smash Book was explicitly for use in my fibro toolbox. Things that brighten my mood and remind me who I am when I reach the lowest depth of a pain flare or a depression flare are in this book to encourage me to just hold on! I will get through this flare, and I will return to these things that make me happy.

I will list the items that you may find helpful to make your very own Smash Book. I  purchased all of my supplies from Amazon as I find them to be ‘cost-friendly’ with many alternatives! Here are the items I chose. Go to Amazon, Wal-Mart, or a store of your liking and select items you like! Make up your very own Smash Book.

What will your Smash Book look like?

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A scrapbook, colored papers, tape, glue, stickers… you are all set!

Smash!!!

~Kim

Fibro Toolbox

 

Pick Your Box

Have you ever heard of people talking about a fibromyalgia toolbox? Well, a fibromyalgia toolbox is a real ‘idea’. There is no definition. It is basically an emergency kit for fibromyalgia flares. When you are in a fibromyalgia flare, you are in much more pain, you are beyond exhausted and you may be in a fibro fog. (The Fog of Fibromyalgia).

A fibro toolbox can be made up of things of a tactile nature. Coloring books, journals, activity books, crocheting, knitting, craft supplies and other things that you can do while you are in a flare. If a fibro fog accompanies your flare, many find watching movies you have seen before (because you won’t remember a new one) or listening to specific pre-planned music helpful.

A fibro toolbox can also be a skill set you have learned for working through your pain. Meditation, deep breathing exercises, guided imagery, and/or reframing thought patterns, are examples of a few practices put in place.

Rescue medications should always be part of your toolbox.

So a fibromyalgia toolbox is really just a pre-planned way of handling your fibro flares. Things and/or ideas set aside ahead of time so when you start experiencing a flare, you are ready physically and mentally. Have the items you need in a designated area, room, or tote.

Personally, I use a backpack and have a portable DVD player in my closet. When I have a flare come on, the things that I need are ready. This also signals my husband that it is a flare day when he observes my backpack out and my DVD player running movies.

 

Get your toolbox ready. We cannot control when our flares will happen but we can choose how to respond when they do.

img_1722~Kim

(Return to Exit Strategy, The Three Day Rule.)