What is it Like to Live with Fibromyalgia? Life of Pain and Fatigue

What is it Like to Live with Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia – a Life of Chronic Pain and Fatigue

What is it like to live with Fibromyalgia?  Let me tell you … it’s awful.  But first let me tell you what it is.

Fibromyalgia (FMS) is a medical disorder that deals with chronic widespread muscle and joint pain and fatigue.  “There are many theories about the causes of fibromyalgia, but research has yet to pinpoint a clear culprit. Some doctors believe hormonal or chemical imbalances disrupt the way nerves signal pain. Others suggest a traumatic event or chronic stress may increase a person’s susceptibility. Most experts agree that fibromyalgia probably results from a combination of factors, rather than a single cause.”  WebMD

What is it Like to Live with Fibromyalgia?

With fibromyalgia syndrome, the following symptoms commonly occur together:

  • Anxiety or depression
  • Decreased pain threshold or tender points
  • Incapacitating fatigue
  • Widespread pain

What is it Like to Live with Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia causes you to ache ALL over. The pain can travel, meaning that on some days I might have an aching pain in an arm, and later be feeling it in a hip, enough to make me limp!  The ache is an arthritic-type ache, or like a bad toothache that just won’t go away.  It’s relentless and 24/7.

Crippling fatigue — even on arising, is very common.  Specific tender points on the body may be painful to touch. I may experience swelling, disturbances in deep-level or restful sleep, and mood disturbances or depression.

There is pain and achiness around the joints in the neck, shoulder, back, and hips. This makes it difficult to sleep or exercise. Other fibromyalgia symptoms include:

  • Abdominal painWhat is it Like to Live with Fibromyalgia?
  • Chronic headaches
  • Dryness in mouth, nose, and eyes
  • Hypersensitivity to cold and/or heat
  • Inability to concentrate (called “fibro fog”)
  • Incontinence
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Numbness or tingling in the fingers and feet
  • Stiffness

The muscles feel as though they have been overworked or pulled. They’ll feel that way even without exercise or another cause.  You know that feeling when you’ve been lifting something heavy and it leaves you with a burning feeling?  It’s like that.  Then I feel weak and can hardly hold up a book some days.

Sometimes, my muscles twitch, burn (it feels like a sunburn), or have deep stabbing pain.  Sometimes the pain feels like it is deep in the bone itself.

Fibromyalgia can feel like symptoms of the flu.  You skin ‘hurts’ and is very sensitive to the touch. The slightly bump against a harder surface shoots pain through the whole body because of over-sensitivity to pain.

Fibro Fog

Many people with Fibromyalgia have trouble concentrating, a phenomenon known as “fibro fog”.  This is a feeling that is very common and means just that … that you are in a fog.  Your brain is not functioning properly, your memory is impaired, words don’t come easily, and it’s difficult to concentrate.  This most often occurs with me in the mornings and usually, but not always, improves as the day goes by.

What is it Like to Live with Fibromyalgia?

Chronic fatigue goes hand in hand with Fibromyalgia and can be debilitating.  The general feeling of tiredness NEVER goes away.  People with Fibromyalgia always feel as though they have no energy and will spend a lot of time lying in bed trying to regain some of that energy.  I cannot remember the last time I woke up in the morning feeling refreshed, and often feel just as tired as when I went to bed the night before.

The pain associated with Fibromyalgia varies from person to person, but the most common complaints consist of shooting pain, burning of the muscles, and a constant throbbing. Some patients say that they feel worse in the morning and yet others feel their most intense pain in the evenings after being up all day.

Oh yes, and another thing is the headaches.  At least half of Fibromyalgia patients will experience chronic headaches, such as tension headaches or migraine headaches.  Mine are considered cluster headaches and can last for days or weeks.  My worst, longest ‘headache’ lasted 4 months!  Day in and day out.

Fibromyalgia and Sleep

Many people with fibromyalgia have sleep problems, including trouble falling asleep or frequent awakenings during the night. Studies suggest some patients remain in a shallow state of sleep and never experience restful, deep sleep. This deprives the body of a chance to repair and replenish itself, creating a vicious cycle. Poor sleep may make pain seem worse, and pain can lead to poor sleep.  This can be due to constant brain activity and MUCH anxiety.

What is it Like to Live with Fibromyalgia?

This sleeplessness can be related to some of the chronic fatigue that Fibromyalgia patients experience during the day. However, this feeling of fatigue goes much deeper than just not getting a good night’s sleep. Many people describe the fatigue as being so severe that they are unable to lift their arms or legs.  As I mentioned earlier, some days I feel too weak and tired to hold a book.

Fibromyalgia and Depression

What is it like to live with fibromyalgia Nearly a third of people with fibromyalgia also have major depression when they are diagnosed. The relationship between the two is unclear. Some researchers believe depression may be a result of the chronic pain and fatigue. Others suggest that abnormalities in brain chemistry may lead to both depression and an unusual sensitivity to pain. Symptoms of depression may include difficulty concentrating, hopelessness, and loss of interest in favorite activities.

Depression is a huge factor.  It’s difficult to say what came first, the depression or the fibromyalgia.  But I think it is safe to say that when a person experiences pain and fatigue constantly, depression is not far behind.

Fibromyalgia can cause signs and feelings similar to osteoarthritis, bursitis, and tendinitis. Some experts include it in this group of arthritis and related disorders. However, while the pain of bursitis or tendinitis is localized to a specific area, pain and stiffness with Fibromyalgia are widespread.

Pain can be controlled somewhat with medication, but it will not make it completely go away.  Not knowing exactly what causes Fibromyalgia prevents knowing exactly what is needed for a cure.  There are various medications out there, but it has been trial and error for me.  Some make me feel very ill and nauseous, one made me feel suicidal, and another just about caused me to have my heart stop – literally!

What is it Like to Live with Fibromyalgia?

It’s been 2 years since I had to quit my job because I was unable to function anymore. Some days are better than others, some days are almost unbearable and spent laying down waiting for the meds to kick in, or the heating pad to help, or the ice pack to numb the pain.

I am thankful for a supportive family base and for their patient understanding.  Living with a condition that is virtually invisible means that people forget that I cannot do the things I used to do.  I may appear lazy.  It  may seem that I’m ‘faking it.’  Hopefully this article has opened your eyes somewhat to what another person you know may be suffering on a daily basis.

MY QUESTION FOR YOU TODAY:  Do you live with Fibromyalgia or know someone who does?  I would love to hear about your experiences, and would really appreciate it if you would share this article with them.  It always helps to hear other people’s experiences with this.

I wish you all the best, and please …

Speak kind to a stranger. 

You never know what they may be going through.

I believe in the magic of kindness

For more information about “What is it Like to Live with Fibromyalgia” visit WebMD.

I hope you have learned something from, “What is it Like to Live with Fibromyalgia?  Life of Pain and Fatigue

You might also like, Speak Kind to a Stranger, Waiting on an Angel, Ben Harper

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As always, thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. I appreciate you!

Jeanne Melanson


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Jeanne Melanson

Owner at Animal Bliss
Born in Nova Scotia, I moved to the United States 20+ years ago.I am a dedicated lover of animals and fight for their rights and protection.I love people too, of course, and enjoy meeting folks from all walks of life.I enjoy philosophical discussion, laughing, and really odd ball stuff.I hope you enjoy my site.Leave me a comment to let me know you were here!Peace out.
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20 thoughts on “What is it Like to Live with Fibromyalgia? Life of Pain and Fatigue

  1. Hi Jeanne,

    I also have fibromyalgia and I have found that an organic vegan gluten free based diet, yoga, meditation, baths with epsom salts, lots of water, gardening, painting all help me and help to reduce my symptoms.
    Sending you my love & gentle hugs.
    Every day is a new day that we must choose positivity over and over.
    🙂 xoxox


    • Thank you for your encouraging thoughts on how to deal with fibromyalgia, Ebony. You certainly sound like you have a handle on it. I can almost picture you in your peaceful environment. What do you paint?

  2. Wow! How do you manage this condition? It must be very, very difficult. I was wondering whether a specific diet could help. I didn’t believe in the importance of diet until I hit 40, but now I am convinced that it can have an impact. I wish you the best of luck, and a full recovery!

  3. Good article Jeannie! It is difficult to believe sometimes that you are suffering so much when you look so beautiful. I wish I could take your pain away sweetie. I love you. Jon

  4. Sending my healing energies Jeanne!

    Meditation helps. Your body is energy, like all in the Universe. Meditating exposes blocks in your energy, be it ideas, or grudges, or unforgivens, or ANYthing that creates the block, that promotes your fibro.

    Also, have you done ayahuasca? My girlfriend went here, and changed dramatically over 2 weeks, losing most of her worries, and angers, and anxieties, and other low energy stuff which manifested as pain in her mind and pain stiffness throughout her body.

    Cool spot in The Amazon 😉 http://www.ayahuascaretreats.org/

    It’d be worth it, as many have been cured from cancer, aggressive illnesses, and different, deep, mental illnesses using this probing method….pretty intense stuff, but it could cure you 100%, as Kelli saw it work miracles in others, in days….just be ready to hurl each day lol 😉

    All the best Jeanne!

    • I think the fact that you understand and sympathize with your friend helps more than you know already. Thank you for your comment, Diane. I hope you’ll come back and visit again soon. Peace

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