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Why I Fear the Colder Season With Chronic Pain

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While lots of people love the change of seasons and the cold weather, I’m not one of them. Most accurately, my chronic pain hates the colder temperatures. Summer has ended and I’m now feeling all sorts of dread and depression with it. Why? Because my symptoms of fibromyalgia are debilitating during autumn and winter. I’m honestly scared of what this year will bring.

Last year, I was stuck in bed more often than not, writhing in pain and up against stiff muscles that refused to move. I wasn’t canceling plans; I wasn’t making any at all, because it was impossible for me to go out and enjoy myself. It was very hard for me to accept this. I managed doctor appointments and really nothing else. The pain was agonizing, the depression hard.

And now, I’m afraid of what life will be like this year. Granted, I’ve learned tools since then. I know my limitations more now and communicate them to others. I also plan my week in advance, bringing into consideration days of rest with obligations and responsibilities. It’s helping.

But that fear, that trepidation lingers in the corners of my mind. I’ll be having fun and then wonder, how long will this last? Will I be able to do this next month when the weather is bitterly cold for me and the pain severe? I comfort myself that I’m tough and smart, that I’m managing now, even if it can be difficult, but this is life with chronic illness. You’re not sure, even on a good day, how bad the pain and symptoms will be.

I’ve learned to roll with this and plan for the uncertainty. I know I will adjust like I always have. I did so before I had my diagnosis. It was always normal for me to physically feel bad. Now armed with knowledge, I’m hoping that I have a fighting chance of avoiding being unable to get out of bed for days at a time during the change of the season.

I want to witness the beauty of autumn, the changing of leaves and join in the festivities of the season. I want to live my chronically ill life as amazing as I can. Like this summer, I want to treasure every beautiful moment and make memories every chance I get. I want this season to be one of growth and not one of fear.

Originally published: November 5, 2021
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