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The Truth About My Anxiety and Fibromyalgia

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My anxiety, pain and fear run high most of the time. I find that somewhere between caregiving for my almost 93-year-old mother with chronic vertigo, my 88-year-old aunt with dementia and my own fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease and Meniere’s disease lies hope that I can feel better physically and emotionally, be more resilient, eat healthier, meditate more, be a better human.

It’s an unseen hope that motivates me to keep trying, to research healthier alternatives, to not drown in my worries. I take deep breaths in between to maintain my sanity and calm my body. I tend to get quiet, sit still and turn the world off — especially news and social media.

I have days where I feel I am on a merry-go-round; it’s never ending fight, flight or freeze mode. I am so accustomed to it. A survivor, a warrior, a fighter. But I get tired. I want to rest. To re-focus, re-gather myself. A time-out from the world. To pace myself, instead of trying to do everything for everyone to the point of exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed and have my pain and stress levels rise.

I want to respond better to my triggers, to be able to cope better with my anxieties, to laugh more, to surround myself with people who are supportive, and I can be my best self around. To have boundaries and remove toxic people that I have sustained all this time. One-sided friendships that are all about them. They suck up all the air and leave me drained. I have done a lot of “toxic” removal over the past year, and it feels wonderful. I feel lighter. I thought I would miss them, or needed them — but I didn’t.

I try to make time. It is one of the most important aspects of my day. A little in the morning for meditation and journaling, and an hour in the evening, whether it’s for being creative, writing, talking to friends, listening to music. No worries are allowed during this time, no responsibilities, no anxiety.  I deserve this time. I relish every minute of it.

I love nature, photography and painting. Taking time to even sit in the sun for a little while can bring a smile to my face. Making healthy meals while music is playing in the background is therapeutic, taking online classes, sitting quietly with my heating pad. Better sleep is crucial for me. I usually wake up in the middle of the night with anxiety, and I try to envision walking through my favorite place, slowly and enjoying all the sights, sounds and smells. It quiets my mind and body, and I am able to fall back to sleep. The trick is to not allow worries in while I am enjoying my visualization. To-do lists are important so I don’t get so overwhelmed. If I cannot finish it today, I move it to tomorrow.

I am doing the necessary work needed to better myself, including identifying my moods and triggers. Letting go of old patterns and old voices in my head of everyone who has knocked me down in my life since I was a child. There are many, and I don’t want to live with those negative comments and judgments.

I am looking forward to living a healthier life emotionally and physically. I am ready for whatever challenges life throws at me. I believe there is always a way.

Getty image by Aleksandra Golubtsova

Originally published: May 24, 2021
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