Thursday, February 20, 2014

"Flare"

The word "Flare" has many meanings such as style, finesse, a signaling device, but for the last two days it's had a different meaning for me.  Those, like myself, who suffer from Fibromyalgia know it to mean an exacerbation of symptoms.  

There is a serious rise in pain and sensitivity levels.  My aches go way beyond the norm.  Even the simplest tasks can set off a pain reaction.  While picking up a cup of tea, I feel my hand ache in ways it shouldn't.  But I'll be damned if I let  the pain get in my way, I NEED my morning tea.  But it's usually one of the earliest signals that tells me I may be in for a bad time.

Fatigue is another major issue.  I feel wrung out and exhausted even after a good night's sleep.  One would think I'd just completed a marathon instead of just having done a few simple chores around the house.  For the rest of the day I not good for much else.  I feel weak and unsteady.  My hand will tremble with the effort of just picking up an object.  

Clumsiness and inability to judge distance or proximity is another issue.  As I leave a room I can clearly see the doorway.  Yet somehow, some way, my shoulder will still manage to hit door, or the doorway itself as I pass through.  Or I will misjudge a table or other object in the room or lying on the floor and trip over it.  Some days it feels like I am trying to navigate a minefield and I'm stepping on every hidden trap.  I've been known to trip over my own feet quite often during these episodes.

My head does not feel well either.  It feels stuffed with cotton or wool.  I do not mean in the sense of when you have a cold and your head feels all stuffed up.  No, this is different.  It is difficult to think clearly.  The simplest tasks I've done a million times before, I have to sometimes stop and think about how to do.  My flow of creativity becomes a trickle.  Not that I have the energy to actually work on any creative projects.

I am in "Flare" now.  I've been able to accomplish very little today.  But I do not seek pity, only understanding.  Fibromyalgia is one of the many "Invisible Illnesses".  It is with me every day of my life, but to others I look very healthy.  They cannot see the pain I contend with every day.  Most days the levels are very low, and I can overlook or ignore them for the most part.  Other days, I'm more aware of it and just try to watch myself.  But then there are the times like today when all I can do is be gentle and patient with myself because there's not much else I can do. 

Going into "Flare" can be frustrating, especially on those occasions when I had plans to be with family or friends, but must bow out or change what we do at the last minute.  Those who know me best and are aware of my condition are more than understanding.  However, employers, co-workers or strangers are not as understanding.  The world can be vicious without really meaning to be to those with invisible conditions.  Perhaps more patience and empathy is something we all need to have because we don't know what battles or sufferings other people are going through.  Especially when we can't see those struggles because they are invisible to us.

How long this particular "Flare" will last, I have no idea.  It may be just today and I will be much better on the morrow.  Or it may decide to stick around for a week or two, possibly a month.  I pray not, because there are things I need and want to get done.  I do not like being tired, sore, clumsy and fuzzy-brained.   But if it does last longer than a couple of days I will be kind and forgiving to myself.  For it will pass, it always does.  

I will call it quits here, because I'm feeling very tired just from thinking and typing up this entry.  Yeah, some days it's that bad., and today is one of them.