An Average Day in High School With Fibromyalgia

Every day, I wake up to the sound of my alarm. I open my eyes, turn the alarm off, and reach for my pills. I hold them in my hand.

How can these little capsules help me? Why am I doing this? I hate medication. I feel sick.

Every day, I wish I can throw the medications down the drain instead of throwing them into my mouth. I slowly try to lift my body up. Every little movement hurts. I feel stiff, achy, and exhausted. I only got three hours of sleep because I was awake until 4 a.m. in pain. I let my feet slowly touch the ground. I try to stay positive and feel grateful for being able to move, even if it hurts.

I go about the rest of my morning routine – eating breakfast, getting dressed, brushing my teeth. Although these tasks sound pretty basic, they are very challenging. I feel my arms go limp as I try to lift my shirt above my head. I feel foggy as I accidentally put the cereal back in the fridge instead of the cupboard. I go upstairs, kiss my parents goodbye, grab my backpack, and get into the car with my brother.

Yes, that’s right, I live with my parents and brother. That’s because I am only 17 years old. I am a senior in high school with juvenile fibromyalgia and some other health issues. People often come up to me at doctor’s offices and comment on how I am “too young to be sick.” Little do they know that looks can be deceiving. Most people do not even know I am struggling with easy tasks in my everyday life.

“How did you sleep?” I ask my brother, Josh.

“I slept OK, what about you?” he asks.

Josh and I continue talking and singing to our music on the way to school. He controls the radio from the passenger seat and I drive. We get to school, say goodbye, and go to our separate classes.

I sit down at my desk and I immediately notice my leg start to shake. It starts to ache but I cannot stop shaking it. This is because restless leg syndrome is a side effect of one of my medications. After 15 minutes of sitting at my desk trying to focus, I feel my lower back start to spasm. The spasms get worse and worse as time goes on but I cannot get out of my seat because everyone would stare at me as though I were odd. I just continue to focus on other things, such as my teacher talking, but my medication starts to kick in and I become very drowsy. I rest my head on my desk, drifting in and out of sleep.

I recently had to drop some classes because I cannot make it through the school day anymore with my extreme fatigue. By lunchtime, I am out of class, eating a quick bite, and on my way to one of my many therapy appointments. Every week, I do variety of health-oriented therapies including cognitive behavioral therapy, physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, occupational therapy, Epsom salt floats in sensory deprivation pods, massage therapy, and much more. Without all of these things, my pain levels would be much higher and it would be more difficult to cope with my illness.

When I get home from my therapy of the day, I take a nap because my medications make my pain and fatigue unbearable. I then wake up, eat dinner, take a shower if I am physically able to, swallow my medications, and try to take my mind off of the pain so that I can fall asleep.

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