Caregiver Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia: How am I suppose to care for someone else?

About 5 or so years ago I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001463.

It all seemed to have come about during my divorce and the extreme amount of stress I was under. After a year of chronic pain, flu-like symptoms and chronic fatigue and a boat load of tests, it was determined that I had this horrible condition. It escalated after being involved in  two car accidents and through all the trauma the symptoms were intensified.

At one time I was on a handful of medication for the fibro and all the symptoms that go alongside it (migraines, depression, anxiety, etc). On a consistent basis I was seeing a Neurologist for the migraines, a Chiropractor for adjustments and treatment, a Psychiatrist for the depression and anxiety, and a Rhuematologist for trigger point injections and daily medications to alleviate the symptoms. Nothing seemed to help.

How in the world was I suppose to care for someone else who needed my care when I myself was dealing with such a horrible condition? I was overwhelmed and wanted to just stay in the bed all day, everyday! When in reality, I had to take care of those around me who needed my assistance.

So many caregivers are themselves needing care and yet still have to care for those around them. I remember at one point a guy I was semi-dating found out I had fibro and even said to me, “I really needed someone to take care of me. I didn’t expect to have to take care of someone else especially with these kinds of symptoms!” How cruel, I thought. (That was a red-flag to me and I got out of that immediately).

Taking care of others takes so much out of us and we must FIRST take care of ourselves before we will have the energy to take on the task of caring for others http://www.mommd.com/improve.shtml.

About three years ago it was suggested to me that I try massage therapy so I decided to give it a try. Finding the right massage therapist was excruciating. The first one always had a hangnail (going up and down my back), the others were never that great and it never seemed to do much good. Then I came upon this guy who was very good. He specialized in deep tissue and really knew how to “beat me up”….you know the old “it hurts so good”…..and it really made a difference. I started going on a regular basis and it seemed to really do the job.

Then when I moved to Illinois from Alabama I hated leaving my massage therapist after it took so long to find him. I hated it almost as much as leaving my beloved hair stylist 🙂 They are both hard to come by and you really get to appreciate them once you find that “special someone.”

Anywho, after about 6 months of trying a few out upon my move to Illinois, I was able to find someone who was much better than the last one! http://www.sole2soulbodywork.com/welcome.htm He really knows his stuff! His technique is amazing. I try to go regularly because it makes all the difference in the world. I can remain almost pain-free between my appointments.

So many of us feel guilty about doing things for ourselves but I can’t express enough how crucial it is to our well-being. I can take much better care of those in my life when I feel up to par! It’s worth every penny spent and I don’t feel guilty about it at all.

I would much rather go get a massage and feel better than take a handful of pills everyday that barely help and have tremendous side effects!

So here is your homework for today:

  • Take a minute to tell yourself IT’S OK TO TAKE CARE OF YOU! Get rid of the guilt!
  • Ask friends or co-workers for referrals of services such as Massage Therapists, Hair Stylists, Area Gyms
  • Develop a plan of ACTION on making appointments to GET ER DONE!

Don’t put it off….IT CANNOT WAIT!

NOW is the time to take care of the only YOU you have!

Resources:

For a consultation with my personal massage therapist go to:

http://www.aginginfousa.com/n_care_massage_services

For more information on Fibromyalgia see:

http://www.fmaware.org/site/PageServer.html

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About Sue Salach

Sue has a Master's degree in Gerontology and has worked in the geriatric healthcare field for over 25 years and is the Author of "Along Comes Grandpa", a caregiving resource guide, and the novel "If I Walked in Her Shoes" (http://www.AlongComesGrandpa.com). As a Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer, Sue employs her comprehensive experience and enthusiasm to assist corporations in finding solutions to work/life balance challenges and pro-actively educate and empower their employees.
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