What to Remember When You're Experiencing Fibromyalgia Fatigue


Yesterday was one of those days. I had so many things planned to get done, but my body had other plans. I could only get out of bed to use the bathroom and get a drink of water. Once those necessities were done, so was my body. My mind wanted to remain alert and try to get through the fatigue; however, even my mind was fatigued from the efforts.

If you have fibromyalgia, you know the drill. Laundry needs to be done, bills need to be paid, rooms need to be organized, the house needs to be picked up, dinner needs to be prepared for the family and many other chores. Maybe not all in the same day, but hopefully some get done. But then it hits. You try to get out of bed and the moment you sit up, you realize nothing you planned to do was going to get done.

For me, these are some of the most frustrating days. In addition to feeling crummy physically, I begin feeling emotionally beat up with the guilt. The guilt that laundry must wait another day or that spare bedroom and office are still a mess weigh on my mind. The worst guilt by far, though, is that I’m not taking care of my family. Even though my daughter is an adult and my husband can provide for himself if necessary, as a mom and wife, I still feel some responsibility to prepare meals, take care of the house and do the laundry. I know that part of my feelings about this is generational and younger generations may not feel this type of guilt – and that’s good. I’m thankful that household chores are now typically shared.

As clarification, my husband does try to help around the house as best he can. He is also disabled and has trouble standing too long or walking too far. When he helps with the dishes, he typically will empty the dishwasher in stages and then fill it up in stages. What would take me about 15 to 20 minutes to do, can easily take him an hour or more. I appreciate the help he gives, but I don’t want him to risk falling to help. My daughter has a back injury that prevents her from lifting anything over five pounds right now and keeps her from being able to bend down very much. Her healing will be slow and steady. So now you know a bit of why they rely more on me than a typical family would.

When I have fatigue days like yesterday, my family understands. I know I’m fortunate to have their understanding and patience, and wish that all fibromyalgia fatigue patients had the support that I have. I’ve learned over the past year to keep the following in mind:

1. The chores will probably still be there tomorrow.

2. My family can pitch in and help – even though they may not do it the way I do it, or it takes them longer.

3. It’s OK to keep the doors closed to those messy rooms.

4. I must have patience with myself!

5. Doing a little bit at a time still gets the job done.

6. Meals don’t have to be elaborate – which is good, since I’m not a chef. Sometimes breakfast is a great dinner!

There are many more lessons I’ve learned, but the one thing I still work on after those fatigue days is the guilt. This is not the way I’d planned to be at 55, but as usual, plans change. I must adjust to this invader that has entered my life. I must continue to do my best on days that are good – but not over do it. That, too, is a lesson I am continually learning.

If guilt has a grip on you by our common friend named “fatigue,” do not let that guilt bring you down. You are doing your best and that’s what’s important. If you do not have the support of your family, talk to them and make an alternate plan when those uninvited days come. Find either an online or an in-person support group to join. On these days, celebrate the little things such as getting up to get a drink of water or going to the bathroom. Celebrate brushing your teeth or your hair. Celebrate responding to those texts that seems to take all your energy. Find something to celebrate when those days show up. Let’s keep our fatigue days guilt-free!

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