What Mornings Feel Like for People With Chronic Pain

For me, mornings are absolutely the worst time of day. If I am allowed to wake up naturally, minus an alarm clock, things can be slightly better — but I can wake up shockingly late — 11 a.m. is not unheard of — so that is a luxury and means my body might have had the sleep that it actually needs. Mostly, though, I am somewhat governed by time, and although I try not to have too many early starts, life doesn’t always work out that way.

One of the problems of waking in the morning largely depends on the quality of, if indeed what, sleep was obtained the night before. This is a huge problem for many people who have chronic pain and conditions such as fibromyalgia and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Many of us lie there, count sheep, read, fidget — I sometimes have restless legs which is really annoying and just makes me want to kick things continuously and stretch my legs. In fact it feels like I have done a workout before the day even begins.

Once I have to get out of bed, I start my day with a hot bath. I really need this in order to unpick my sore muscles and just to get some warmth into my body and ease the numerous aches and pains. Then I take my meds — and there are a lot of them, although this does include nutritional supplements. I get dressed and then amble to the kitchen looking for my most important “wake me up” thing — coffee! I only start to come alive after about two coffees, although I try to limit it to no more than three per day, and not after lunch.

Slowly life seeps back into my body. I have eaten breakfast and my pain meds are now kicking in, and I have switched my computer on to check emails, the news and of course Facebook. I get up-to-date with all my social media work and then contemplate my journey to work. This is not before potentially numerous trips to the bathroom on account of bowel problems, and/or other bodily issues, such as perhaps having to tape up an aching or “loose-jointed” feeling knee.

I leave the house and walk to the tube — I am always very compliant with my exercise — but when I get on to the tube I look like a poor puppy eyeing up a seat, although I try to travel at off-peak times. When I arrive at my destination I go and buy a coffee before getting into my little office and switching on my computer. My day slowly begins. By now I feel exhausted…. Only another eight hours to go. And that is just the start of the day!

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