I’m 19 years old and I’ve been struggling with chronic pain since I was 15 years old. After months and months of essentially being bed ridden because of the excruciating and unexplained pain throughout my body, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by wide spread nerve, muscle, and joint pain accompanied by fatigue and nearly an infinite amount of other symptoms. Though I have good and bad days, I truthfully cannot recall a day in the past four years when I was not constantly aware of the both dull and sharp pain coursing through me, head to toe. Each day is different, yet similar. Here is what a typical day looks like for me and my chronic pain.
My day starts at one of these god-awful hours. Depending on how severe my pain is/how my insomnia is treating me, I’ll wake up at one of these hours unable to sleep, even though I finally fell asleep at 3:30 A.M. I toss and turn in my bed covered in pillows, adjusting my position to try and reduce my pain. Sometimes this works, other times I have to sit in my chair in my room or the couch in our living room because laying down causes too much pain. Eventually I crash, but a good amount of the time I can’t sleep and end up watching the sunrise.
I wake up after a few hours of sleep and know I need to get up. The fatigue is too strong, the pain too severe, and I can’t stand. I tell myself I have to get up to eat and take my daily morning meds, but I can’t. It takes me 1-3 hours to get up, an exhausting experience.
Take 4 pills.
I grab a small and effortless breakfast and make a cup of coffee. I sit back on the couch and try to motivate myself to do something, anything today. My day to day feeling of hopelessness and depression weighs down on me, it’s too heavy. I put on a movie.
Take 2 pills.
I realize I’ve wasted my entire day. No, I tell myself, the pain in your body and mind is not an excuse for this laziness. Stop being dramatic. I regret my entire day and decide the only way to make up for it is to push myself hard, using the next hour or two to make up for the seven I lost. Exercise. All the doctors say you have to exercise despite the pain. Okay. I’ll do that. I do an intense workout for an hour or so, until my legs hurt so badly I can no longer stand. I lie on the ground, usually shaking or crying because of the unbearable pain in my body. I eventually find the strength to move from the floor to the couch.
Take 2 pills.
My family gets home from work, finding me on the couch, as always. I convince myself to take a shower. I get in the shower and immediately sit in the bathtub. Most of the time my fatigue and pain are so bad I can’t stand while I shower. Sometimes I take a bath afterwards, hoping the warm water will decrease enough pain to make it bearable. I put on loose and soft clothing, so my pain doesn’t increase again and lay back in bed. I eat dinner. Get back in bed.
I say goodnight to my family and try to sleep. Nothing works. I eventually give up and try to distract myself from the pain by watching Netflix. My body finally crashes anywhere from 2-5 am. I know I’ll be up again in a few hours to see the sun rise.
Take 7 pills.