Monday, 9 November 2015

Living with an invisible illness..

Fibromyalgiaa rheumatic condition characterized by muscular or musculoskeletal pain with stiffness and localized tenderness at specific points on the body.

8 years ago my mom went from being a physically active, joyful, full of energy mother and spending her every moment helping others; to someone who can hardly leave her bed thanks to a illness called Fibromyalgia. For the first few years I didn't understand what was happening why my mom couldn't move, why she was in bed continually in horrific pain and why she couldn't go into work. This was a hard concept to get my head around, my behavior and attitude started to change with her; I told her to get over herself, that it was all in her head and she was just being lazy and take some pain killers. I didn't believe her and I couldn't see anything physically wrong with her I didn't take it seriously and nor did some of her friends or work. Being it's invisible people think your making it up. This went on for a few years causing me to feel hostile towards my mom, my household and family dynamic was going to change and I didn't want it to and didn't really know how to deal with it.

Over the past few years I began to do some research to try to understand what is happening, how to help and where to go from here. Its only recently that both my mother and I had a breakthrough, even though she got the diagnosis ages ago she just stuck it out with pain medication. My mom met someone else who had Fibromyalgia, my friends mom had it and someone with I knew also got diagnosed and it wasn't until then that I took this seriously. My moms condition has been getting worse and since I am the oldest it is for me to know pull up my pants and take this on.

Fibromyalgia can leave you bed bound for days, it comes is phrases which can be continual or for however many days. You have your good days and your bad days, my mom describes it as every joint in your body is agonizing like she has sharp stabbing pains and throbbing throughout. Unable to walk, unable to move, unable to lift, drive to live daily life easy. After a while this takes a toll mentally, causing depression, desperation and frustration. Like me people don't believe you and think they are just lazy because you can not see what is happening. You have to learn to look beyond the physical. It can be caused by simple triggers over doing it, change in weather, temperature, stress and physical activeness. It affects every aspect of your life, sleep, mood, headaches, cognitive problems; and there is no definitive reason as to why people get Fibro, it can happen to any one at anytime. There is still no cure for it, it is something that many departments in hospitals can help manage and having a doctor whom your trust and is truly understanding helps in so many ways. But the best thing is to find people who are going through the same things.

My mom is one of the strongest women, thankfully she has my dad as a main support but no matter how much pain she is in she still finds the strength to run our house, work and be around. She continues to spend most of her time in bed as soon as she finishes work. But there is help out there and people whom will support you. I wish I had taken the time to understand and learn what was going on before I did, but when it is invisible its easy to judge. Fibro is serious and changes a lot of things about their and others lives. It is not something to be ignored and swiped under the rug. Watching someone live with an invisible illness is hard enough but living with an illness is the toughest. It's up to us to learn, educated, help and change perceptions.

Sunday, 13 April 2014