Ashley Nestler MSW

@ashleynestlermsw | contributor
Super Contributor
My name is Ashley Nestler, MSW and I am a survivor of Schizoaffective Disorder, Quiet Borderline Personality Disorder, Fibromyalgia, multiple eating disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Following multiple traumas, including sexual and emotional abuse, bullying, and harassment, I found myself in the midst of a severe mental health crisis. Having nowhere to go but up, I am rebuilding my life by facing my trauma, accepting multiple mental illness diagnoses, and discovering who I really am. Through this ongoing process, I am rediscovering my personal power and drawing on my inner light to create a life that I love; a life where I can educate others on mental illness and continue breaking the stigma.

3 Kinds of Bad Symptom Days I Have in Life With Fibromyalgia

Having fibromyalgia often feels like I am living without knowing how I will feel from day to day. I struggle with so many different symptoms that I often won’t know what is going to happen with my body each day. While I do experience multiple symptoms each day, I have days where certain symptoms dominate my daily experiences. The following are three kinds of days I struggle with regularly due to my fibromyalgia. The Fatigue Day Fatigue is a symptom I frequently experience due to my fibromyalgia, but there are days when my fatigue is extremely problematic. I tend to be unable to leave my bed and spend the entire day sleeping. This fatigue is all-controlling, and I haven’t found anything that has helped it other than allowing myself to rest. The Pain Day Other days, I am dominated by pain. My skin becomes incredibly sensitive and painful to the touch, and it feels like my muscles are being torn apart. On these days, I often need to use heat to help with the pain, but other than rest, I haven’t been able to find anything that has really helped my pain. I am in the process of trying out different natural supplements and other pain relievers to try and manage my pain, but it has been a process. The Brain Fog Day The brain fog day tends to be my least favorite day. It is during these days that my mind feels fuzzy, as though I am a million miles away. I struggle with my memory during these days as well as being able to socialize with others. I have found that resting during these days is the best way to manage my brain fog, but that is not always possible. When I have to do a lot of interacting with others during these days, I find that I run out of energy quickly, which makes it hard to function. Fibromyalgia can make each day unpredictable, and unfortunately, I have not found a steadfast way to manage my symptoms yet. However, this is something that I am still exploring. While I can experience numerous symptoms at once, I find that I often have days where one symptom is stronger than the other symptoms, and I find that it tends to dominate. Describing different fibromyalgia symptoms as taking over different days helps me to be able to understand how my fibromyalgia affects me day to day. Fatigue Day, Pain Day, and Brain Fog Day are the three most common days I experience. While I experience fatigue almost every single day, I have found that it is stronger on some days and seems to dominate other symptoms. I also experience pain in some form nearly every day, but some days I am in so much pain that it seems to take over any other sensation I am experiencing. I find brain fog to be quite common, but some days it really impacts how I am able to function and how I am able to interact with others. It is so hard knowing that I experience multiple symptoms that can take over my body and make it hard to function. Fibromyalgia is a complicated illness that can be difficult to treat. It is often hard to know which symptoms will hit on which days and how they will impact an individual’s day. Having coping mechanisms that have proven effective for you is vital, as well as being kind to yourself when you are really struggling. Fibromyalgia can impact every aspect of an individual’s life, but the more we work on finding ways to ease our symptoms, the more comfortable our lives can be.

'Quiet' Borderline Personality Disorder Is Too Often Misdiagnosed

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is often categorized — in short — as a mental illness where a person exhibits explosive anger, impulsive behaviors and unstable relationships with romantic partners, as well as friends and family. Due to the destructive nature of these symptoms, BPD has almost become a “bad word” in the mental health community. As a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.), I have come across professionals who won’t work with individuals who have been diagnosed with BPD due to the stereotypical “abusive” nature of the disease. However, the symptoms listed above provide an overgeneralized assumption of the disorder based on only three out of nine possible symptoms — and all symptoms are frequently linked to trauma. This overgeneralization of BPD marginalizes people who live with the illness by belittling or oversimplifying their experience — particularly those who don’t fall under the assumed criteria. Furthermore, it makes finding help extremely difficult, let alone receiving an appropriate diagnosis. There are four types of BPD that all present differently. And to be diagnosed with BPD, one must show five out of nine possible criteria. The variation of symptoms then puts the person on a sliding scale of 256 possible representations of the disorder. Because of this, no one person fits 100% into any one of the four categories of BPD due to the number of possible variations. People with BPD often exhibit symptoms that put them in more than one category – and sometimes all four – but the categories help the individual, loved ones and professionals better understand BPD, possible causes and treatment options. The nine criteria of BPD: 1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. 2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by extremes between idealization and devaluation (also known as “splitting”). 3. Identity disturbance: markedly or persistently unstable self-image or sense of self. 4. Impulsive behavior in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating, etc.). 5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures or threats or self-harming behavior. 6. Emotional instability in reaction to day-to-day events (intense episodic sadness, irritability or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days). 7. Chronic feelings of emptiness. 8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights). 9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms. The four types of BPD: 1. Discouraged (or Quiet) BPD The trademark of discouraged BPD is “acting in” rather than “acting out.” Individuals within this category don’t often exhibit explosive anger or manipulative behavior; instead, they often come off as calm and high-functioning and implode by bottling their emotions or dissociating. 2. Impulsive BPD Impulsive BPD is linked to a charismatic personality and attitude. Those with impulsive BPD are often flirtatious, outgoing, dramatic and manipulative. 3. Petulant BPD Petulant BPD is characterized by a need to control others, using self-harm/suicidal tendencies to manipulate others, intense mood swings and being dissatisfied in relationships. 4. Self-Destructive BPD Self-destructive BPD is linked to self-hatred. People under this type are subject to self-harming behaviors, and they will often sabotage their well-being and/or happiness due to feeling they are undeserving. I was recently diagnosed with discouraged (or quiet) and petulant BPD following a suicidal episode and inpatient stay. As a social worker in the mental health community, and knowing the stigma associated with BPD, my world came crashing down with my diagnosis. I began to think, “What if no one wants to work with me because I have this illness? What if my friends and family will no longer see me the same? What if no one will understand?” I have always been an introverted, quiet person, and I didn’t see myself as exhibiting the stereotypical BPD criteria of manipulation or explosive anger. The anger I have experienced has always been toward myself. I have a history of self-harming behavior and suicidal ideation, but I had never connected BPD to my symptoms — possibly out of the negativity I have witnessed surrounding the disease. When learning about mental illnesses in school, I wasn’t taught the different types of BPD, which added to my confusion and feelings of self-hatred and failure. Along with BPD, I was also diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) and major depressive disorder (MDD). Having three new diagnoses was overwhelming and hard for me to grasp. However, I felt extensive shame with my BPD diagnosis that I did not feel with the C-PTSD or MDD, and that called me to look further into the illness. Being the natural scholar I am, I followed my treatment with extensive research into BPD, and I discovered it is one of the most misdiagnosed mental health conditions due to the symptoms correlating with depression. Many professionals aren’t taught extensively about the subtypes of BPD, which can lead to a general lack of knowledge in the mental health field and a line of misdiagnoses in a person’s timeline, which is most likely why it took me going to inpatient treatment to be properly diagnosed. Discouraged type BPD is a dangerous form of BPD because those who struggle with it don’t often reach out for help due to a feeling of inadequacy and lack of self-care, and self-harming or suicidal behaviors can often go unnoticed. I learned that intense relationships are also a factor with discouraged BPD, but those with the illness often sabotage their own relationships due to a belief they don’t deserve to be loved. All of these factors hit a cord with me and they made me look at myself like I never had. I had to confront my history of intense and dysfunctional relationships, as well as my isolating behavior and inconsistencies with my mood. Broadening my knowledge made me more aware of all forms of BPD, especially understanding the diagnosis is often connected to past trauma the survivor couldn’t control. While BPD can come off as aggressive, its link to trauma and feeling defenseless is often overlooked. Empathy is necessary for anyone to understand what a person with BPD has gone through, especially in the mental health field. Following my experience and my research, I was relieved to know there is a reason behind why I am the way I am, and there is help for through dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). I have since been certified in DBT, and I am extremely passionate about helping others who have been affected by BPD and/or PTSD, or those who would like to learn more about either illness. Understanding my diagnosis not only helped me to better understand myself, it helped me to understand all affected by the disorder and to realize there is help. People who live with BPD shouldn’t struggle due to misunderstanding and lack of knowledge, and it is my mission to ensure BPD education and treatment is highly accessible for all. I will be exploring each form of BPD more in-depth in future posts, as well as C-PTSD and PTSD.

What It's Like to Lose a Friend You Met in Eating Disorder Treatment

I live with an eating disorder. Since I was 13 years old, I’ve been battling anorexia and have been in and out of treatment centers. Currently, I see a psychiatrist, therapist, and nutritionist regularly to manage my eating disorder on the outpatient level, but I was in inpatient treatment again this past January through March. Back in 2019, I went into inpatient care at an eating disorder treatment center where I met a young woman who I became very close with. We both were working extremely hard to battle our eating disorders while trying to get as healthy as possible. She was one of the sweetest and most hard-working people I had ever met, and she became a huge inspiration to me. Unfortunately, I found out this past week this young woman passed away due to her eating disorder, and learning of her passing absolutely crushed me. Eating disorders are so stigmatized, and people always assume those who are “sickest” with an eating disorder look and act a certain way; but that was not the case with this young woman. She fought to her very last breath to fight her eating disorder and become healthy, but her heart couldn’t take it anymore. She was on a waiting list to be admitted into an acute eating disorder treatment center when she died in her sleep a mere five days before she was to be admitted into a higher level of care. Hearing of her death absolutely crushed me. I am still in shock that this woman who fought so hard could be taken by this terrible illness in the midst of her fight. I have never been more angry at eating disorders for taking away my friend, and her death has made me even more fearful for myself. I have always known that eating disorders can be fatal, but my friend’s death hit soclose to home now I can’t stop thinking about the danger of these illnesses. I am terrified for myself and my own struggle with anorexia, and unfortunately, the stress has caused me to struggle with even more intense anorexia symptoms. I feel as though I am a mess, and it is so hard to try and fight my own illness when I am grieving the death of my friend. Losing someone to an illness that you struggle with yourself can be incredibly daunting. For the past two weeks I feel like I have been having trouble functioning day to day, and I am plagued with nightly nightmares. I can’t stop thinking about my friend and the pain she experienced prior to her death. I am absolutely devastated by the loss of her. I feel like I don’t know how to keep going when I am struggling with such intense mourning that is affecting my ability to fight my illness, but I am thankful to have the support of my treatment team. I don’t know what I would do without them. With all that being said, I know I can still mourn my friend while continuing tofight this illness. Her death has brought me great sorrow and fear, but I also feel like I must keep fighting in her memory to get through this illness. Not a day goes by that I am not working hard to battle my anorexia, but I know that I also need to be kind to myself during this difficult time. I am so sad to have lost my friend, but her death has also urged me to fight this dangerous illness.

What to Say If Someone Doesn't Believe Your Fibromyalgia Pain Is Real

As someone living with fibromyalgia, I have come across many people who have questioned whether my pain is real or imagined. Unfortunately, I have found that because there is still so much unknown about fibromyalgia, people tend to question its validity as a diagnosis and as an illness in general. In these cases, it can be important that you take the time to try to describe how severe your pain is and how it impacts your life. I have found that comparing my pain to different things can be helpful in illustrating something that the other person can relate to. One thing that I often say is that my full body pain often feels like the pain you experience in your body when you have the flu. But what can be more important is first explaining to the other person how your pain is real, and that it is life-changing and can affect your daily life. We shouldn’t have to defend our pain, but sometimes it can be helpful to try to illustrate to others how our pain feels and how it affects our lives. Other things that can be helpful are explaining factors that impact our pain, such as the cold, or temperature changes. Explaining the impacts of different factors on pain can help others to understand the severity of the pain in the first place, and how small factors play a part in our suffering. Unfortunately, we won’t always be able to get another person to believe or understand our pain and how severe it can be, but doing our best to define the pain can be helpful in feeling understood. However, it is important that we try to understand that others may not always be willing to understand, or try to understand, but that shouldn’t make our pain any less valid. We are living with a debilitating and hard-to-treat condition that is still widely misunderstood. So many of us have to live with ways of managing our pain that we try to find through trial and error, and even then, many of us still end up having to live with our pain on a daily basis. Even describing this pain to others might help you to get others to understand how valid and severe fibromyalgia pain is, which can inspire understanding. But what you should know is that whether you are able to get others to understand or at least acknowledge your pain doesn’t make it any less real. There are so many people living with fibromyalgia themselves who can help to validate your struggles while helping you to feel seen. We can help to spread awareness of what living with fibromyalgia is like by sharing our personal stories and hopefully gain awareness over time, but this is still slow going. Until more research can be conducted on fibromyalgia, we will have to share our own stories to gain awareness of what we are going through. With that being said, if you feel that you need others to understand the pain you are going through, I would advise you to try to explain your pain to others through what the pain feels like to you. Comparing your pain to other things can help others to understand the level of your pain and have more awareness of what living with fibromyalgia can be like. My hope for you is just that you are able to find other ways to feel validated with your pain, and that you find support in places such as The Mighty by meeting with others who have fibromyalgia to help you feel validated and cared for. There is such a great community here to find support and understanding, and I hope that you can find a place for yourself in this community.

10 Questions You Should Ask Your Doctor If You Have Fibromyalgia

Being diagnosed with fibromyalgia can feel daunting. There is so much to learn about this illness and how it can affect you. Doctors can be extremely helpful in this case, because they can often answer a lot of your questions with ease and knowledge. Research on your own can also be helpful, but sometimes taking what you learn to your doctors to help debunk some of the myths you come across may be necessary. The following are 10 great questions to ask your doctor if you need some guidance about what to ask. 1) What medications are available for fibromyalgia? Medication tends to be the top choice for managing fibromyalgia. Your doctor might refer you to a rheumatologist to discuss further treatments and create a treatment plan. When meeting with this doctor, you can ask to discuss all medication options and possible side effects to make an informed decision about your health. 2) Will exercise or physical activity help with my fibromyalgia symptoms? There are a lot of different opinions about the role of movement and exercise in the treatment of fibromyalgia. This tends to vary from person to person based on each person’s symptoms and what they can best handle. Your doctor can discuss the role of movement in your treatment and help you come to a decision on what is best for your body. 3) Are there any special diets that can be helpful for fibromyalgia? While doctors can be helpful when asking about any special diets, their breadth of knowledge on nutrition is generally not very vast. With that being said, I would suggest that speaking to a dietician, nutritionist, or even naturopath can help you learn about any research that has been done on the diet’s connection with fibromyalgia, while helping you guide possible lifestyle changes that may help you to manage your fibromyalgia better. 4) Are there alternative treatments for fibromyalgia? Like the above question, sometimes more natural treatment options can be discussed with a naturopath or lifestyle coach specializing in fibromyalgia. You can ask your doctor for recommendations in this area, and they can help guide you to professionals who may be able to help you. 5) Can I manage fibromyalgia without medication? Asking your doctor about how to manage fibromyalgia without medication can help guide you to all treatment options while also giving you an idea of what life without medication may be like considering the severity of your symptoms. Your doctor will be best able to help you understand the role of medication in your treatment, and what going without medication may mean for your health. 6) How physically active can I be with fibromyalgia? The level of physical activity that an individual is able to manage deeply depends on each individual’s severity of symptoms and how movement affects their symptoms. However, by bringing up the subject with your doctor you both can follow you as you try out different forms of movement and document how they make you feel. This process of trial and error can help you to better understand what type of movement is most beneficial for you and your illness. 7) Is fibromyalgia a chronic illness? By asking your doctor about fibromyalgia and how it may evolve throughout time, you can learn more about how fibromyalgia is generally not a progressive disorder, but how often the symptoms do become worse over time. Your doctor can help you to navigate this possibility and prepare for it. 8) Should I stop taking my medication if I feel like my fibromyalgia symptoms have improved? You should always talk to your doctor before deciding to stop taking a medication. Bringing up this option with your doctor will help you to learn more about the role of the medication and how the medication is helping you. 9) What other conditions can occur alongside fibromyalgia? Fibromyalgia commonly occurs with many mental illnesses and conditions such as lupus. Learning more about these conditions may help you to understand how your fibromyalgia may have developed, while helping you to learn how to manage any other conditions that you do have that may be connected to your fibromyalgia. 10) Is fibromyalgia a mental illness? This is a common misunderstanding, and your doctor can help you better understand how your fibromyalgia can affect you physically and mentally. Understanding both sides of the illness can help you to better understand how to manage your fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia may seem like a complicated illness that is often difficult to understand, but with the help of your doctor, you can learn more about the illness and how it may affect you now, and in the future. I hope that the above questions provide you with insight to bring to your next doctor’s appointment!

What Medical School Students Need to Know About Fibromyalgia

My experience with having fibromyalgia is that I am often not taken very seriously. It took me a long time to be diagnosed, and my pain and negative symptoms were often brushed off as not being serious when other diagnoses didn’t fit. Being invalidated has caused me to suffer through my symptoms longer than I should have. It is because of this that I am now very vocal about my experience with fibromyalgia and experiences testing out the different treatments that are available to help my symptoms. With that being said, if I were invited to speak at a medical school about fibromyalgia, I would mainly like to discuss the seriousness of the illness. So many times, fibromyalgia is downplayed, even though it impacts every aspect of an individual’s life. I would urge medical students to look more into the illness and how it affects an individual’s ability to function on a daily basis. So many of us struggle with little understanding from professionals and it can often be difficult to find adequate medical care. I would highlight the importance of treating fibromyalgia as the serious illness that it is to increase the quality of life of those who live with it. I would want to tell medical students my personal story of living with fibromyalgia and how it has limited my life and my ability to pursue many things. I would want students to realize how much the weather and temperatures greatly impact how I am able to function on a daily basis, and how I end up spending most of my time trying to figure out how to manage my symptoms. Telling medical students about the severity of my symptoms would make me feel as though I was being heard. I find that telling my story helps others to understand the condition better than any medical book ever could. I would want medical students to know that when it is summer, I spend most of my time inside in the AC because heat causes my symptoms to flare up. I can’t go outside and enjoy the sunshine because the heat often ends up making me feel like I have the flu. I would also want medical students to know that when it is winter, the cold causes my body to ache as though it is being torn apart muscle by muscle. No matter the temperature, I am easily impacted by hot and cold temperatures, and this limits a lot that I can do with my life. I often feel like I am chasing my symptoms and anticipating circumstances that may make my symptoms worse. But most of all I would want medical students to understand how fickle fibromyalgia is, and how small environmental changes can deeply impact how my symptoms react on a daily basis. I would want medical students to understand that there aren’t a lot of medical treatments available for those with fibromyalgia, and as someone with multiple mental illnesses, and as someone who is on various mental health medications, I am unable to take certain medications approved for fibromyalgia because of the interactions that would occur with the other medications that I am on. Most of the time I must manage my symptoms on my own using techniques such as using cooling towels in the summer, and heating pads in the winter, while also trying to use gentle movement and dietary changes along with herbal supplements to manage pain. I would also want to highlight how fatigue and brain fog are big parts of my illness and require me to pursue a lot of rest. Living with fibromyalgia is not easy, and if I could talk to medical students, I would want to highlight the various aspects of the illness that severely limit what I am able to do with my life on a daily basis. I would want to highlight how severe this illness is, and how it impacts every aspect of my life. It is about time we take fibromyalgia seriously, and I hope that medical students can hear real-life stories from those living with the illness to create more empathy for those of us struggling on a daily basis.

10 Questions You Should Ask Your Doctor If You Have Fibromyalgia

Being diagnosed with fibromyalgia can feel daunting. There is so much to learn about this illness and how it can affect you. Doctors can be extremely helpful in this case, because they can often answer a lot of your questions with ease and knowledge. Research on your own can also be helpful, but sometimes taking what you learn to your doctors to help debunk some of the myths you come across may be necessary. The following are 10 great questions to ask your doctor if you need some guidance about what to ask. 1) What medications are available for fibromyalgia? Medication tends to be the top choice for managing fibromyalgia. Your doctor might refer you to a rheumatologist to discuss further treatments and create a treatment plan. When meeting with this doctor, you can ask to discuss all medication options and possible side effects to make an informed decision about your health. 2) Will exercise or physical activity help with my fibromyalgia symptoms? There are a lot of different opinions about the role of movement and exercise in the treatment of fibromyalgia. This tends to vary from person to person based on each person’s symptoms and what they can best handle. Your doctor can discuss the role of movement in your treatment and help you come to a decision on what is best for your body. 3) Are there any special diets that can be helpful for fibromyalgia? While doctors can be helpful when asking about any special diets, their breadth of knowledge on nutrition is generally not very vast. With that being said, I would suggest that speaking to a dietician, nutritionist, or even naturopath can help you learn about any research that has been done on the diet’s connection with fibromyalgia, while helping you guide possible lifestyle changes that may help you to manage your fibromyalgia better. 4) Are there alternative treatments for fibromyalgia? Like the above question, sometimes more natural treatment options can be discussed with a naturopath or lifestyle coach specializing in fibromyalgia. You can ask your doctor for recommendations in this area, and they can help guide you to professionals who may be able to help you. 5) Can I manage fibromyalgia without medication? Asking your doctor about how to manage fibromyalgia without medication can help guide you to all treatment options while also giving you an idea of what life without medication may be like considering the severity of your symptoms. Your doctor will be best able to help you understand the role of medication in your treatment, and what going without medication may mean for your health. 6) How physically active can I be with fibromyalgia? The level of physical activity that an individual is able to manage deeply depends on each individual’s severity of symptoms and how movement affects their symptoms. However, by bringing up the subject with your doctor you both can follow you as you try out different forms of movement and document how they make you feel. This process of trial and error can help you to better understand what type of movement is most beneficial for you and your illness. 7) Is fibromyalgia a chronic illness? By asking your doctor about fibromyalgia and how it may evolve throughout time, you can learn more about how fibromyalgia is generally not a progressive disorder, but how often the symptoms do become worse over time. Your doctor can help you to navigate this possibility and prepare for it. 8) Should I stop taking my medication if I feel like my fibromyalgia symptoms have improved? You should always talk to your doctor before deciding to stop taking a medication. Bringing up this option with your doctor will help you to learn more about the role of the medication and how the medication is helping you. 9) What other conditions can occur alongside fibromyalgia? Fibromyalgia commonly occurs with many mental illnesses and conditions such as lupus. Learning more about these conditions may help you to understand how your fibromyalgia may have developed, while helping you to learn how to manage any other conditions that you do have that may be connected to your fibromyalgia. 10) Is fibromyalgia a mental illness? This is a common misunderstanding, and your doctor can help you better understand how your fibromyalgia can affect you physically and mentally. Understanding both sides of the illness can help you to better understand how to manage your fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia may seem like a complicated illness that is often difficult to understand, but with the help of your doctor, you can learn more about the illness and how it may affect you now, and in the future. I hope that the above questions provide you with insight to bring to your next doctor’s appointment!

Let's Bust These 5 Myths About Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is an illness that seems to be surrounded by many myths. While this illness has been around for quite a while, there is still a lot that is unknown about it; however, as we learn more about fibromyalgia, the better we are able to debunk many of the myths surrounding it. The following are five common myths I have found that surround fibromyalgia, along with the truths behind them. I hope that learning the truth behind these myths will help you to understand more about your illness, or the illness that affects your loved one. 1) Myth: Fibromyalgia is a purely psychological illness. Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread pain, tender points, poor quality of sleep, and fatigue. Fibromyalgia can lead to depression, and depression can lead to fibromyalgia, but it is not a purely psychological illness. Both depression and fibromyalgia are medical conditions, and each condition has its own set of symptoms. Unfortunately, fibromyalgia was once considered a purely psychological condition that only affected women, and it was even once considered “Women’s Hysteria.” This negatively affected how fibromyalgia has been viewed, which makes it easy for those who don’t know much about the illness to stereotype it. It is important to understand that while fibromyalgia does have psychological aspects, it is a complicated medical illness that needs to be viewed as such. 2) Myth: Fibromyalgia is fatal. While having certain conditions, such as lupus, can lead to acquiring fibromyalgia, it has not been found that fibromyalgia affects a person’s life expectancy. Having certain conditions in conjunction with fibromyalgia may lead to a lower life expectancy, but a lower life expectancy has not been linked solely to fibromyalgia. 3) Myth: Fibromyalgia mainly affects older individuals. Fibromyalgia is initially diagnosed primarily in individuals ages 35 to 45, but it can also affect children. Fibromyalgia is seen in individuals of all ages. 4) Myth: Fibromyalgia only affects women. While women are 10 times more likely than men to acquire fibromyalgia, the illness can affect men as well. It is not yet understood why women are more likely than men to develop fibromyalgia, but we cannot discount the fact that men also live with the illness and need a high level of medical care to manage their symptoms. 5) Myth: Fibromyalgia causes severe damage to the body. It has not been found that fibromyalgia causes deterioration in the body. However, it is true that fibromyalgia symptoms can worsen over time and cause a lower quality of life and a lower ability to function regarding daily tasks. The severity of symptoms can lead to a negative impact on an individual’s psychological and physical well-being, but no physical deterioration of the body has been observed. Fibromyalgia is a serious illness that affects an individual’s physical and psychological well-being. It affects women more than men, but men do still develop the illness. Certain illnesses are more likely to lead to fibromyalgia, such as depression and lupus, which can impact the severity of fibromyalgia symptoms and the gravity of the illness. Fibromyalgia can seriously impact an individual’s ability to thrive, and medical care and attention must be paid regularly to ensure that an individual’s symptoms are well-managed. There are so many myths and misunderstandings that exist about fibromyalgia, but the more we tell our stories and spread awareness of what the illness is like, the more we will be able to raise awareness for fibromyalgia and support those who live with it. I hope that debunking the above myths has helped to spread more awareness about the reality of fibromyalgia while helping those understand more about their illness, or the illness of their loved one.

5 Fibromyalgia Pain Remedies -- Rated and Reviewed

Fibromyalgia can be a complicated illness to live with, and I find that fibromyalgia pain can be particularly difficult. There are so many supposed fibromyalgia pain remedies out there, and I have tried quite a few of them. The following are five of the main fibromyalgia pain remedies I have tried and how I rate them. Heating Pads – 4/5 Stars Heating pads are the first fibromyalgia pain-fighting tactic I learned to use, and when I am having isolated nerve pain, they tend to work pretty well. I am also sensitive to cold, so the heat from the heating pads helps this symptom as well. However, it doesn’t completely take the pain away, and I still experience the same amount of pain when I stop using the heating pad. I have also found that heating pads aren’t adequate to use when I am out and about and have fibromyalgia pain, so they aren’t very convenient. I am also sensitive to high heat so I am unable to use heating pads during the hot summer months, which makes the heating pads unusable for me for a large part of the year. Over the Counter Pain Medication – 3/5 Stars Sometimes when I am experiencing all-over body pain due to fibromyalgia, I try to use ibuprofen. Sometimes this works more than other times, but I find that it doesn’t adequately target all of my fibromyalgia pain. It is also unreliable because sometimes it will work, and sometimes it won’t. It really is just a case of trial and error concerning whether it will work or not. Prescribed Medication – 4/5 I have been unable to try Lyrica due to interactions with other medications I take, but my doctor prescribed me gabapentin for the nerve pain and anxiety. I have found that this medication has lowered my pain tremendously, and it does help a lot with my anxiety and panic attacks. I am grateful to have found a prescribed medication that helps my pain level to such a high degree, while also being low when it comes to side effects. Stretching and Yoga – 3/5 I have heard so many times that yoga and stretching can help fibromyalgia symptoms, and I have tried it over and over again. While stretching and yoga do sometimes help me to relax my body and my mind, I have found that they can also cause flare-ups of my fibromyalgia symptoms. It is because of this that I didn’t give this pain relief method a very high score because I never know how it will affect me from day to day. Swimming and Floating in a Pool – 4/5 Like yoga, I have found that floating or swimming in water is a way to relieve fibromyalgia pain. Because I experience a lot of body aches and nerve pain, I have found that going in a pool helps me to feel weightless and relieves a lot of the bodily pain I experience. However, it does depend on the temperature of the water. I have found that colder water can cause my pain to flare up, while warmer water is more soothing. There are so many “remedies” that individuals and medical professionals recommend for fibromyalgia pain and other symptoms, but ultimately it depends on a lot of trial and error to determine which methods will work the best for you. It has taken me a lot of time to work through different routes of pain and symptom relief to bring you my highest-rated fibromyalgia pain remedies as seen above. I hope that you can work with your medical team to navigate medical treatments, while also trying out more holistic methods to determine what is right for you. Feel free to share with me any symptom-relieving methods you have tried that have worked for you! I am always looking to add more tools to my fibromyalgia toolbox.

10 Ways Living With Fibromyalgia Can Affect Your Mental Health

Fibromyalgia is largely a disorder that is marked by widespread nerve pain. However, my experience with fibromyalgia has been that the pain I experience deeply affects my mental health. I have found that managing my fibromyalgia frequently requires caring for my mental health while addressing fibromyalgia symptoms. The following are 10 ways that living with fibromyalgia can affect your mental health: 1) Depression is a common symptom of fibromyalgia. 2) Fibromyalgia is linked to other mental illnesses, such as borderline personality disorder, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. 3) Trauma may be a cause of fibromyalgia and is often linked to the development of the illness. 4) Fibromyalgia pain can impact your mood by lowering your quality of life. 5) Having a sensitivity to cold and heat can impact an individual’s comfort level. 6) While pain can impact one’s moods, this can also occur vice versa. If one is experiencing depression, their pain levels and discomfort may increase. 7) Fibromyalgia can affect one’s sleep, and sleeping poorly can increase experiences of depression and anxiety. 8) Fibro fog (having issues with concentration) can increase depression and possible instances of ADHD. 9) Fatigue can cause severe sleepiness, and while a person may sleep longer, they often wake up in pain, which can negatively affect their mood. 10) Mourning an inability to do as much as one used to before acquiring fibromyalgia is linked to higher levels of depression. Throughout my journey with fibromyalgia, I have found that depression is more linked to my disorder than anything else. I experience symptoms of major depressive disorder, and my pain and fibro fog deeply impact my depression levels. I am on medication for this, but I still experience an increase in symptoms when my pain levels and temperature intolerances are high. I also struggle with being able to fall and stay asleep, which I am also on medication for, but when I am unable to get enough sleep. I notice that I am more sensitive to cold and heat and I experience widespread body pain. Fibromyalgia is often a very difficult illness to live with, and it is even harder when our mental health is impacted. If you haven’t, I would suggest seeing a psychiatrist as part of your fibromyalgia treatment team because they may be able to prescribe you medication that can target any depression you are experiencing, as well as help you to manage your sleep. My psychiatrist plays a big part in helping me manage my fibromyalgia in conjunction with my mental illnesses, and I have found a lot of relief with her. It is also worth seeing a psychiatrist to try and find any mental health diagnoses that you may be experiencing with your fibromyalgia. Having additional diagnoses can help to guide your treatment and help you find more relief from a mental health standpoint. I have noticed that while pain is one of the biggest symptoms I experience with my fibromyalgia, targeting my mental health symptoms works to also target the pain and provide me with relief. If you have fibromyalgia, I would advise you to keep a journal and track how your moods are impacted by your pain and associated symptoms. Doing so will help you to get a handle on your mental health and improve your symptoms with the help of a healthcare provider, should you decide to see one. I have found a lot of support in the form of my psychiatrist, and I am so thankful to have someone who can help me manage my mental health as it is impacted by my fibromyalgia symptoms. I hope you can find someone who can help you on both fronts as well.