Today (May 12th 2021) is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. I don’t suffer from this condition myself so I’ve decided to lend my platform to someone that does. Someone who can provide insight and support for those who might be going through the process of receiving a diagnosis themselves right now.
Lauren at Bournemouth Girl is a mental health, self care and productivity blogger who also has Fibromyalgia. She’s very kindly written this fantastic guest post for me today for Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, all about 5 tips to help you when you receive a diagnosis yourself. I’m not going to waffle for any longer so I’ll pass you over to Lauren!
A guest post from Lauren at Bournemouth Girl for Fibromyalgia Awareness Day:
When you are diagnosed with a chronic illness like fibromyalgia, it can leave you thinking, ‘why me?’ and ‘what am I supposed to do now?’ this is exactly how I felt after being given my diagnosis; I didn’t know what to do next, so all I did was cry.
Being upset and angry about your situation is perfectly normal behaviour and is definitely how I felt. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia caused by a workplace accident, so I had a hard time coming to terms with the diagnosis because it was caused by something that wasn’t my fault, which made me all the more upset.
I am not going to preach to you about how you need to be strong because guess what? You’re already strong as you’re dealing with a life-changing illness. However, sometimes it is helpful to hear about what others do or have done to help them cope with a diagnosis as it might help you too.
The hardest part of my diagnosis was and still is trying to live as normal a life as possible. Trying to still be productive and look after my mental health has been tricky, but it is a learning experience every day.
Here are 5 tips to help you when you are first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia or any chronic illness:
1. Ask questions
When you are first diagnosed, I am sure that like me, you are left with so many questions. It is important for you to feel like you have the right information; you don’t want to feel as though you have unanswered concerns. I recommend writing sown all the questions you have, even if you think they sound silly. The doctor is there for you and understands that you need reassurance.
When I was first diagnosed, I had so many questions and I wrote down the answers, so that I would always have them for reference. It is the not knowing that can be unsettling, but having these answers can give you a sense of comfort. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions.
2. Explain your diagnosis to our loved ones, so that they understand and know how to best support you
When getting a chronic illness diagnosis, you can feel so alone, which is why explaining your diagnosis to your family, partner and friends allows them to support you through the difficult times that you may have.
With chronic illness, it means that sometimes you will not be able to do everything that you used to, so having the help of your family, partner and friends allows you to take rest periods when you need to. Letting your loved ones know about your diagnosis and having their understanding on how best to support you is invaluable. I am fortunate to have a super supportive family and partner who have helped me to stay strong even when I am in so much pain.
3. Do your own research
Although you will receive information from your doctors, carrying out your own research allows you to see other information that you may not have even thought of asking about. There is information based on: diet, supplements, exercises and therapies that can help support you when living with fibromyalgia.
Not only is there information on the Internet, but there are people who share their experiences and give advice and tips that may help you. I have found reading other people’s experiences extremely beneficial; they show that your symptoms are not unusual and that you are not alone.
4. Join support groups
There are many useful support groups on the Internet that can help you to connect with other people who suffer from fibromyalgia. It can give you a chance to ask questions and share your experiences.
If you use social media, this can be a great way to connect with other people who are part of the fibromyalgia community. Since my diagnosis and feeling comfortable enough to share this, I have found that many of my followers either have fibromyalgia or another chronic illness, or know someone who has! I was so surprised and found many kind and supportive people in the chronic illness community. You can follow my Instagram or Twitter if you would like to chat, or ask for advice. I am here to help.
5. Keep a diary of symptoms
This tip was actually suggested to me by my partner and has been so beneficial. Keeping a diary, or some sort of record about your symptoms during each day, what you did each day and any medication or home treatments that you took/did can help you and your doctors highlight any patterns or triggers that could be making your symptoms worse or better.
If like me you suffer from ‘brain fog’ and your memory isn’t what it once was, writing down your medication, or when you took painkillers can be really helpful.
I hope this found this post helpful, not just for Fibromyalgia Awareness Day but for every day that someone receives a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia! If you have any of your own tips to include, please leave them in the comments!
Liked this post? Check out some other guest posts here: