Posts Tagged ‘Mental Health’

Stress Impacts the Body

November 5, 2021

You all know stress impacts the human body. No one knows this more than people with Fibromyalgia. Part of our issue is that our muscles cannot relax because of the pain signals we are receiving at all times. Add stress to that, with most common physical reaction to stress is muscle tension. So adding tension to an already agitated muscle makes for a disaster.

No one knows yet 100% of the cause of Fibro. If it’s actually a physiological issue or if it’s a neurological reaction? Either way, the addition of the tension to the already agitated muscle, skyrockets the pain, with definite real pain.. Not just a neurological misfire that we could potentially be having.

And before anyone says I’m minimizing pain, I am not. People with fibromyalgia feel pain every single day. – it’s the cause we don’t know. We don’t know if the cause is something physical in the muscles, we don’t know if it’s part of the nerve chain or even something in the brain. We.just don’t know And as many of you know, I’m in a remission with my Fibro. I still feel pain, but I’m better managed and had made alot of changes a few years back. As a result, my pain levels rarely rate over a 5 – right now. I have, in the past, been bed bound. So I’ve been at both ends of the spectrum. I am the last person to downplay anyone’s pain let alone someone with Fibromyalgia.

But back to stress… I’ve been dealing with some pretty intense issues lately.. The big 2: 1. Problems with my Mom & our relationship.. 2. Issues with the guy I’m seeing – relationship may be ending. And I don’t think either one reads this blog. Those are the big ones but there is always in additional normal day to day stresses..

So….. On Monday night I had a breakdown. A complete emotional & mental breakdown (this does not include the meltdown I had earlier that day). I was in such hysterics that at times I could barely breathe.. You also don’t want to see what my kitchen looks like, cuz it all hit me as I was cooking stir-fry, which means three pots on the stove, each carefully times so everything finished hot at the same time. Interestingly enough I could feel myself deteriorating and the rice was pretty much done, the meat was pretty much done and the vegetables were almost done so I took the presence of mind to grab storage containers and just put everything in the fridge because there was no way I was going to be able to eat it and I have no family to feed. But I didn’t give myself enough leeway and ended up destroying the contents of the shelves with the storage containers.. Apparently I have a decent arm because I found, after the fact, empty storage containers or lids in my dining area, my office area, one almost in the living room and also my bedroom.

I ended up calling the local mental health line & spoke with a gentleman named Craig who listened & offered support..Initially, my mind had been racing with a lot of dark negative thoughts.. But I finally got calmed down enough after over an hour of venting. & I was no longer in that dark and twisted headspace.

I woke up Tuesday morning physically & emotionally wiped. Unfortunately this was one of the days that I just can’t say no. I had to drop my mom off at her doctor’s appointments because she no longer drives. I still also had to finish prepping my Cub Scout meeting.. Which meant I also had to run my Cub Scout meeting because this week got dropped in my lap on Sunday. The meeting went well and I was able to get out of my head for almost 2 hours not thinking about those big two issues. By the time I got home in the evening after my meeting, I stripped down, showered, got extra medicated and watched some mindless TV. That’s all my body would let me do – I pretty much hit the wall. Oh & eat some of the stir fry from the night before – lol.

And this excessive physical reaction is 100% due to stress exasperating the Fibromyalgia and some of my ppother chronic pain issues.

How I Got Approved for Disability

June 15, 2021

I first started having Endometriosis symptoms in my early teens. I started having CFSME symptoms in my mid-teen. My Fibromyalgia was triggered by a bout of of mononucleosis at age 19 which got slowly got worse…

Endometriosis was diagnosed when I was 26, Fibromyalgia at age 33, and CFSME at age 37. You’d think all these large diagnoses would qualify me easily for ODSP.

Nope.

My initial submission for ODSP, Ontario provincial disability benefits included documentation for endometriosis, fibromyalgia, edible syndrome, TMJ, asthma, IBS.. All of these diagnoses…No love..

From there I hired a lawyer you turned out to be a real dick and didn’t do squat. To keep my application current, I would request reconsideration based on regular bloodwork until I was able to get the needed documents.

When I requested a change of attorney I had to go into the tribunal, on the day of a huge snowstorm, with a broken foot.. The person who denied me didn’t even bother to show so the tribunal granted me the new legal representation – Durham Legal Clinic.

By this time, I’d seen Dr Alison Bested at the Environmental Health Clinic & had just become one of her patients in her private practice. I had another diagnosis of CFSME by her staff..

The legal clinic requested additional information from Dr Bested. They sent her a very specific document. This document basically outlined what I can and what I cannot do.

It covered the four broad areas of physical limitation. Mobility issues are those such as how far I can walk, do I need assistance devices for movement, how fast I can move – slow shuffle to jogging to an (ROTFL) out & out run. Upper body tasks include how much weight I can carry, how well I can push or pull heavy objects. Stair climbing functions are how many steps I can take, how fast I can climb. Activities of daily living include my abilities to eat, bathe, dress, sleep, administer my medications, preparing food & personal hygiene. She described me on my worst day.

My worst day, my pain is high. I can not walk more than to the bathroom – sometimes not even that far. This can cause issues with elimination. I am, at that point, unable to take any stairs, or carry anything heavier than a small plastic glass of water to take medication. I can not prepare my own food, let alone eat. Showering, brushing hair, cleaning my teeth would be beyond me at my worst..

Issues with Mobility, Stair climbing, , Upper-body tests & Activities of Daily Living like eating, showering and sleeping.

If you then you add my mental health health into the mix, especially as there were suicide attempts by this time, I was finally approved.

This same documentation, several months later, was used to successfully get approved by CPP-D, the disability program for Canadians.

It took several years for this process to complete.

30 Facts!!

May 24, 2021

Originally written for the 25th Anniversary with 25 facts,, this is a list of things you should know, from someone with Fibromyalgia. From someone who experiences it, not just studies it. I have taken the original, modified it and added to it from *my* perspective as my experiences with fibro are not the same as hers. OP info available at the bottom.

  1. Every morning is a tough morning.
  2. I can sleep all day and still feel like I just ran a marathon.
  3. If I went out last night, I need a day or two or three to recover — its okay, it was worth it.
  4. When i’m tired, let me sleep.
  5. Certain foods make me flare up, For me that’s items like Ice cream breaded food products (like fish sticks or chicken fingers), mayo & salad dressing, KD, etc.. Some I know why, others no clue.
  6. When I’m in a flare, leave me alone in a dark room but please check in, even if I don’t answer. It makes me feel cared for & loved .If I am flaring and I am responding, I’m likely asking for a ride to the ER.
  7. Yes, diet matters, but in flare mode, all bets are off.
  8. Yes, my face is swollen. No, I didn’t gain 5 pounds overnight… Well I could have gained, but not on my face.. So, Yes, that is a tell that I am in a flare.
  9. I have many different sizes of clothes in my closet to accommodate flare vs. non-flare days. I currently have clothing from a medium ( very generous medium) to 3x.. I’ve lost weight, so likely only a few items & eventually they will go too.
  10. Fibro Fog sucks. Ya know when you get absent-minded every once in a while? Misplaced your keys? Misread something? Forgot to water the plants? That’s Brain or Fibro Fog. While it happens to everyone at some point, it not the norm. For people with Fibromyalgia this is the norm. Every day. I have even lost my train of thought, mid-sentance. It happens enough that those close to me don’t bat an eyelash when it happens. Some even see it happening & will remind me of what I was saying. The worst, is fogging out when I drive & I love to drive, but have to be super careful to make sure I am clear minded.
  11. Ask before you touch. Some days, I can barely tolerate the feel of clothing or even my hair on my skin. When I’m ok, give gentle hugs please — my skin & muscles may still be tender. But if I give you a bear hug, you can give me one back!
  12. Bright lights, loud noise and too many smells can overload the senses and can cause nauseous (or worse) or kick in a migraine.
  13. Allergies play havoc on my body. Scented products like perfumes & body products are typical culprits Sometimes I don’t even know I’m allergic until I experience it, So it’s a bit of Russian Roulette when I go into public because I can’t control what scents other people wear. Food allergies/sensitivities do not make life any easier either, especially when eating out.
  14. I am a human barometer ( there’s a post around about that.. I can typically tell it’s gonna be too cold, too wet, too hot.
  15. Yes, i am on medications, sometimes even alot of them. I have a decent relationship with the pharmacy staff, and I know exactly what all my medications are, the dosage, and why I’m on it & how it helps.
  16. To me, car rides are joy rides cuz I really love to drive. I need to stop every hour or two to keep my legs from going numb or seizing up. It, for me, is so worth it! But so many with fibro feel differently than I do & equate it to a highly painful roller coaster ride.
  17. Some days it’s OK to let my Fibro win. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
  18. I can get moody. You would be too if you were in pain all the time, be patient with me.
  19. Don’t be surprised if I can tell your mood as soon you walk in the room. My Fibro/spidey-senses are tingling.
  20. My day, week and month are carefully planned to accommodate my Fibro. Only important events & people like you are scheduled.
  21. If I cancel my plans with you, don’t be mad.. Remember, I made plans with you, because you are important to me. I am trying and obviously want to hang out with you, so please keep any nasty commentator yourself as I already feel guilty.
  22. Your friend with Fibro that says they have no pain doesn’t make me feel any better. Plus if they have no pain, they may not have fibro cuz *all* Fibromites have *some* level of pain at *all* times Alternatively they could simply lying either about having fibro or about being totally pain-free. Also, just cuz someone says they are “Good” that’s does not mean pain-free
  23. “You should exercise.” ROTFLMAO. Have you considered going to the gym while you are in the middle of the flu with body-wide aches & pain, fatigue? Didn’t think so, so how can you expect me to when I have body-wide aches & pain and fatigue? Yes, I do exercise, but I’m not a hypocrite. Do you know how long it took from me to go from bobbing in the water during aquafit to get to my current level of exercise? Years!! It helps, that I have lost weight. Before you use me as an example of of someone with fibro who is ‘fit’, remember that I started my journey to become healthier & to increase my fitness level in the winter of 2012, almost 9 years ago. And I would not consider myself ‘fit’
  24. Going to the doctor makes me sad & sometimes overwhelmed— it’s a reminder of my condition. And it doesn’t help that I have at minimum a half dozen medical appointments each month – GP, Pain Doc, RMT, Physio/Osteo therapy, Gyn, Neuro, Dental, Psych, mental health support groups, and one offs for tests like bloodwork, ultrasound, x-ray, MRI or CT.
  25. There are zero no-pain days, but my low-pain days are my happy days. So if I’m looking good and acting good and I’m social, I’m better, right? No, just a good *low* pain day. Fibromyalgia is chronic & will not go away
  26. Because of Fibro, the mandated downtime gives me the opportunity to write this blog, and I’m grateful. Unfortunately, some of that downtime does not even permit blog writing because the pain or fatigue is*too* intense, so I have missed posts.
  27. Because of Fibro, some Fibromites get to spend more time with their families than if they were healthy.
  28. if i am being a dick about my health, you will not change my mind. I have to figure it out myself. For those in my life who put up with that for years, I am sorry.
  29. Because of Fibro, I’ve become part of a strong, supportive community that reminds me I’m never alone.
  30. Yes, I have depression. No, it’s not because of my fibro. My depression started at age 16, but fibro, we believe, started from Mono when I was 19-20. So, obvs they started at different times plus I do know the triggering event that started my depression.

Original published by Puja Rios on May 11, 2007 at https://www.huffpost.com/entry/25-facts-for-fibromyalgia-awareness-day_b_59148663e4b01ad573dac1c2

Myth Debunked I of VI

May 2, 2021

IT’S A PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEM

Fibromyalgia is a real condition affecting the physical body; it’s not “all in your head”. The notion that fibromyalgia is a psychological problem and not a ‘real’ physical condition is sadly still too common and can be incredibly insulting. While the cause is not truly known, some can pinpoint when it began or what they think may have triggered it. But many others can not. We *believe* my fibro started due to Mono in college.

There will be instances where the mental and physical correlate, where the mind-body connection is a two-way street. Some believe mental disorders may be precursors for fibromyalgia in some cases or that mental illness may make a person more exposed to developing such a condition.While yes, I do have mental health issues, they started long before I had fibro symptoms plus we do know the instigating factor that started my mental health issues.

Most people with fibromyalgia are experiencing physical illness with biological abnormalities, which may then negatively affect mental health as a result of the impact to their physical health, work, relationships, lifestyle and so on.

Fibromyalgia is a real physical condition, not an imagined one, with real physical consequences. It has been acknowledged for centuries but was first classed as a mental disorder, before becoming viewed as a rheumatic disorder by the early 1800s. It was given the name ‘fibromyalgia’ in 1976, derived from the Latin “fibro” (relating to fibrosis tissue) and the Greek “myo” (for muscle) with “algia” (pain). By 1990, diagnostic guidelines were implemented by the American College of Rheumatology and the first prescribed medication was made available by 2007.

Recent research has been increasingly revealing of physical markers of fibromyalgia, such as increased blood flow among certain regions of the brain, low levels of the hormone somatomedin C, low levels of the muscle-cell chemicals adenosine and phosphocreatine, high levels of the neurotransmitter ‘substance P’, and dysregulated blood blood cytokine and chemokine patterns.

COVID Vaccine Eligibility

April 19, 2021

So currently in Ontario, where I live, there is a three tier plan, which itself is made up of stages.

Phase 1 is for High-risk populations including

  • Congregate living for seniors
  • Health care workers
  • Adults in First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations
  • Adult chronic home care recipients
  • Adults ages 80 and older
  • Adults with the highest-risk health conditions:

From this group, my Brother-in-law, my 2 nieces & my Dad were all quickly eligible for the first phase.

Phase II is described as Mass deliveries of vaccines. This is our current phasewhere we currently stand in the process. This phase includes:

  • Adults aged 60 to 79, in 5-year increments
  • High-risk congregate settings (such as shelters, community living)
  • Individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers
  • Those who cannot work from home
  • At-risk populations

So, with that description,you’d think I would be eligible in Phase 2 for either Endo, Fobro, CFS/ME, etc.. but no.. here are the lists of conditions that apply:

Highest-Risk Health Conditions, eligible at phase I:

  • Organ transplant recipients
  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients
  • Neurological diseases in which respiratory function may be compromised (e.g., motor neuron disease, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis)
  • Haematological malignancy diagnosed <1 year
  • Kidney disease eGFR< 30

Of these conditions, I have none. .

High-Risk Health Conditions currently eligible

  • Obesity (BMI > 40)
  • Other treatments causing immunosuppression (e.g., chemotherapy, immunity- weakening medications)
  • Intellectual or developmental disabilities (e.g., Down Syndrome)

Of these conditions, I have none. It’s interesting that someone who is so far they are morbidly obese has priority over someone with a heart condition..

I no longer has a BMI over 40.. At my worst, my BMI was over 50 ( I just looked that up & I’m like “Damn, Girl!”) My BMI is now approximately 33.. so, I’m not eligible for that either.

At-Risk Health Conditions:

  • Immune deficiencies/autoimmune disorders
  • Stroke/cerebrovascular disease
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Liver disease
  • All other cancers
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Spleen problems (e.g., asplenia)
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension with end organ damage
  • Diagnosis of mental disorder
  • Substance use disorders
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Thalassemia
  • Pregnancy
  • Immunocompromising health conditions
  • Other disabilities requiring direct support care in the community

Again no Fibro, No Endo, No CFS/ME.. Whil those last 2 are considered to possibly be autoimmune, they are not classified as such. So instead I qualify due to:

  • Respiratory diseases – I have asthma. It is currently controlled & I would only need th ventolin for strenuous activity
  • Diagnosis of mental disorder – I have chronic depression, have since I was 16
  • Substance use disorders – I have an addiction to fentanyl – controlled & my last use was about 3 years ago.

I’m not sure what the “other disabilities ‘ entails.. But I doubt it covers the other conditions, but it’s so vague.

So, cuz I am depressed, cuz I used to need a puffer & cuz I like fentanyl a little too much, I am eligible for phase not cuz of the Endo, Fibro, CFS/ME. Apparently people with these condition are otherwise only eligible in stage 3 with the rest of Canada. That is unless their family doctor gets vaccines.

Slacking

February 21, 2021

I just looked & saw when I posted last.. I didn’t think it was that long ago, but evidently it was..

I’ve been kinda … low…blue… I usually do after the holidays, but it rarely lasts longer… I’m slightly freaked out… I don’t think it’s ever reached March… *AND* I’ve been snacking my feelings away.. not a good way, cuz now my weight has crept up.. & after maintains my second weight-loss goal for several months, I’ve past that reward level.. I need to eat less & exercise more.

Bell Let’s Talk 2021, Final Tally

January 29, 2021

On Bell Let’s Talk Day, Canadians and people around the world joined in to help create positive change for people living with mental health issues. Thanks to your actions, Bell will donate more to Canadian mental health initiatives.

With 159,173,435 interactions, Bell Canada with donate $7,958,671.75 to Mental Health initiatives across Canada!!

#BellLetsTalk, #BellCause

January 28, 2021
#BellLetsTalk – #BellCause

Today, with your support, Bell will donate towards mental health initiatives in Canada .You do NOT have to be Canadian or in Canada to participate.

For Bell customers, 5¢ is donated for every phone call & text message (but not iMessages) of the Bell network.

For every tweet and retweet using #BellLetsTalk or #BellCause Bell will donate 5¢.

For every video view on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat & TikTok, Bell will donate 5¢.

For every video uploaded to TikTok using #BellLetsTalk or #BellCause, Bell will donate 5¢.

Every time you use the Bell Let’s Talk Snapchat filter Bell will donate 5¢ 

Each time you use the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame Bell will donate 5¢ 

It’s OK To Not Be OK

December 14, 2020

My sleep schedule is screwed up again, not a surprise. So my intention was to get up early, relatively speaking, today.. That did not happen.

When my alarm went off yesterday, I kept hitting snooze and hitting snooze and hitting snooze. My brain didn’t want to get up yet.

So when I finally did get coherent, I really did not want to get out of bed. I don’t feel like I’m in the mental space to do much. So I canceled all my plans for today which included pickups for items for my Cubs, a run around the dog park with my pup and a visit to a friend.. all I’ve done today is let my dog out and go to the bathroom.. I still need to grab a bite to eat though and that will be something quick and dirty.

But it’s okay. Some days it’s just hard mentally, emotionally. Some days it’s just more difficult to cope. And for me yesterday it was one of those days.

it’s OK to not be OK.

Just recognize it for what it is and be aware. If it’s just a one-off like mine tend to be, you could just bounce back and be yourself tomorrow. Sometimes it takes a while.. couple of days.. a week to get out of the funk. If it goes more than a week though, consider talking to someone. Even just virtually, it can help..

About Fibro (Pt I)

June 29, 2020

This is a long read, but if you haven’t ever seen/read it, then it is most def worth the time. Because of it’s length, I’ve made it 2 posts. Fell free to use it for your own use if you so desire.

About Fibromyalgia

My Need for Massage Therapy– If I get a massage every week, don’t envy me. My massage is not your massage. Consider how a massage would feel if that Charley horse you had in your leg last week was all over your body. Massaging it out was very painful, but it had to be done. My body is filled with painful knots. If I can stand the pain, regular massage can help, at least temporarily.

My Good Days – If you see me smiling and functioning normally, don’t assume I am well. I suffer from a chronic pain and fatigue illness with no cure. I can have my good days or weeks or even months. In fact, the good days are what keep me going.

My Uniqueness – Even those who suffer from FMS are not alike. That means I may not have all of the problems mentioned above. I do have pain above and below the waist and on both sides of my body which has lasted for a very long time. I may have migraines or hip pain or shoulder pain or knee pain, but I do not have exactly the same pain as anyone else. (Keep an eye out for the reposting of the topic “My Fibro is Not Her Fibro”)

My Weight – I may be fat or I may be skinny. Either way, it is not by choice. My body is not your body. My body’s metabolism is broken, and nobody can tell me how to fix it. Often the medication I must take causes weight gain, but many of us with fibro suffer from severe IBS and lose weight.

My Stress – My body does not handle stress well. If I have to give up my job, work part time, or handle my responsibilities from home, I’m not lazy. Everyday stresses make my symptoms worse and can incapacitate me completely.

My Depression – Yes, there are days when I would rather stay in bed or in the house or die. I have lost count of how many of Dr. Kevorkian’s patients suffered from FMS as well as other related illnesses. Severe, unrelenting pain can cause depression, but it is a result of the Fibro.. not a cause of it.. Your sincere concern and understanding can pull me back from the brink. Your snide remarks can tip me over the edge.

My Sensitivities – I just can’t stand it! “It” could be any number of things: bright sunlight, loud or high-pitched noises, textures, odors, food, etc.. FMS has been described as the “aggravating everything disorder.” So don’t make me open the drapes or listen to your child scream. I really can’t stand it.

My Intolerance – I can’t stand heat, either. Or humidity. If I am a man, I may sweat…profusely. If I am a lady, I perspire. Both are equally embarrassing, so please don’t feel compelled to point this shortcoming out to me. I know. And don’t be surprised if I shake uncontrollably when it’s cold. I don’t tolerate cold, either. My internal thermostat is broken, and nobody knows how to fix it.

My Clumsiness – If I step on your toes or run into you five times in a crowd, I am not purposely targeting you. I do not have the muscle control for that. If you are behind me on the stairs, please be patient. These days, I take life and stairwells one step at a time.

My Forgetfulness – Those of us who suffer from it call it fibrofog. I may not remember your name, but I do remember you. I may not remember what I promised to do for you, even though you told me just seconds ago. My problem has nothing to do with my age (Young people can get fibro) but may be related to sleep deprivation. I do not have a selective memory. On some days, I just don’t have any short-term memory at all.

My Fatigue – I am not merely tired. I am often in a severe state of exhaustion. I may want to participate in physical activities, but I can’t. Please do not take this personally. If you saw me shopping in the mall yesterday, but I can’t help you with yard work today, it isn’t because I don’t want to. I am, most likely, paying the price for stressing my muscles beyond their capability.

My Pain – My pain is not your pain. It is not caused by inflammation. Taking your arthritis medication will not help me. I cannot work my pain out or shake it off. It is not even a pain that stays put. Today it is in my shoulder, but tomorrow it may be in my foot or gone. My pain is believed to be caused by improper signals sent to the brain, possibly due to sleep disorders. It is not well understood, but it is VERY real.