The Black Dog

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Last Updated on February 7, 2015 by melissanreynolds

In my travels through the research around fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome I keep coming across references to depression.
On a somewhat serious note, I have to confess that I do work hard to stay away from the “black dog”.
It is really hard to stay positive in the face of continual pain and (soul crushing) fatigue, think Groundhog Day with the flu.

There’s no way to describe what it’s like living with this. Or feeling like I’m continually letting down my husband and baby.

Or feeling trapped by the choices around work (balancing child care, losing a third of my income for someone else to look after my baby, my neck, work opportunities, money). This one is a biggie for me at the moment.

I feel sad.

I get angry.

The only person who suffers when I do too much is me. The increase in pain and fatigue is hard to take when it’s already hard!

The balance is difficult.

Here’s a few tips for dealing with it:

  • Do the things that make you happy.
  • Do the amount of exercise you can and the type of exercise you enjoy.
  • I enjoy my baby and husband and dog, I get so many kisses and hugs daily, I highly recommend this!
  • Focus on the positive. Write a list of your favourite things, the things you’re thankful for and make the most of them.
  • Journal. I write through everything. I find I can get a bit anxious or put stressful things on replay mode in my head. Writing it out can help.
  • Have a bath with a book. This is my go-to relaxation choice and I do it often. I’ll negotiate with my husband, he can nap and I’ll have a bath. Find a little relaxation ritual that you could do daily.
  • Talk to someone. I have my husband, my sister and my Luke. But if you don’t have a person (especially one who gets the fibromyalgia/chronic illness) ask your doctor for options. I always find it cathartic to relay the symptoms I’ve been dealing with to my physio, they hear and they get it when they feel how tight or sensitive your muscles are!
  • Know it’s NOT a failure if you need an antidepressant. You deal with so much. You are amazing and this is because you know what you need to do to be well (whatever that means for you).
  • Thank God (or the universe, or whatever you believe in) for the good things. There are good things.

It all sounds very easy, and I forget these things when I am in the grips of extreme pain or so wildly tired that I can barely string a sentence together. But we have to fight. Every day.

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