Soreness pulses through my neck and shoulders. My hands feel cold, coated with a thin layer of sweat. I wrap my arms around my soft pillow. My knuckles collapse inwards and the feeling of push pins stabbing my joints returns. My knee joint feels like its separating, the feeling within it, like small pieces of glass, preventing my knees from bending, but when I do bend them I feel the shards of the concrete within.
My head burns, my temples beat in and out, louder and louder; this never-ending morning headache.
My calves tingle as I lose feeling in my legs. I dare not stretch, knowing full well that I will pull a muscle.
Just another morning: I wake up at 7:00a.m. but I lay there sometimes till 11:00a.m. I wait for the energy to get up. I wait for the pain to calm down. I wait for my anger to cool.
Describing the pain of Arthritis and fibromyalgia
It’s hard to describe the pain of fibromyalgia, and it’s nearly impossible to describe the pain I get from arthritis. I’ve had it for almost a decade now and yet, I still haven’t experienced anything in my life that I could compare the pain to.
It’s a weird pain.
It feels like your joints are separating; for some reason it feels like emptiness, I don’t think you’ll grasp what I mean by this but that’s exactly what it feels like. My joints feel warm, almost hot, when I touch them. On top of that, it’s hard to move or bend, and when I do it’s like this stabbing pain. It just hurts. It really hurts. It’s scary.
It’s scary when your biggest fear is your own body. When you know your joints will bend and turn and you can’t even predict when they will swell. It’s scary knowing that my joints will deteriorate, fuse together, and become deformed. Normally they say, “just face your fears.” But I see my biggest fear in front of me everyday, whenever I look down, whenever I look in the mirror, wherever I look. I’m scared. I’m really, really scared.
I’ve come up with a short list of things I like to do throughout the day that somewhat help me though my morning stiffness.
Things I do to help:
I try to go to bed earlier. I typically head to bed at 10:00p.m and there are a few reasons why. If I feel like I’m in pain or I have a really bad headache, I know it’ll take me time to fall asleep, so I try to get to bed early. That way, if it takes me say, an hour or two to find a comfortable spot, I know I still have time to get in some z’s.
I try to avoid potatoes, peas, and spinach. I know it sounds weird and it might not even be true but my mom and my grandma have both told me that certain foods cause arthritis. It might just be because my family members have told me about these foods but I’ve noticed that I have more painful arthritis symptoms when I eat them. Whatever the reason, I feel better when I avoid them.
According to Tyler Woods, we should avoid certain foods. For a complete list click his name:
1.) Potatoes (grammy was right!), eggplant, hot and sweet peppers. These foods all contain alkaloids. They cause issues within muscles, nerves and joints, and eventually lead to inflammation.
2.) Gluten. It can cause flare ups in your arthritis, so make sure you check your diet with a doctor.
3.) Avoid food high in trans-fat and high-fructose like processed foods, such as chips and canned foods.
I don’t exercise as often as I should. I should be exercising everyday because when I do exercise, I feel amazing when I go to bed. I fall asleep a lot faster, and for some odd reason, I have more energy the next day. Exercise helps us:
1.) Live longer!
2.) Reduce pain!
3.) Strengthen bones and muscles!
4.) Improve mobility!
5.) Not to mention you’ll look hot!
Exercises that help me are:
Ask your doctor before performing any exercises! You don’t want to hurt yourself. They’ll set up the right plan for you and your physical condition. They mainly tell patients to do low impact exercises; everyone’s different though. For example, I’m not allowed to do push-ups. Don’t feel discouraged if they advise you to not perform a certain exercise! Your doctor only wants the best for you and we all want you to be safe and healthy!
Have a partner?
Having someone that loves you, be it your family, friends or that special someone, means a lot, but having them understand you means even more.
1.) If we tell you we hurt, please don’t dismiss it and say “you look fine.” We know we look fine. We’ve been told that, but we’re not. It’s hard to admit when we’re in pain sometimes as we don’t want to be the boy that cried wolf, so when we say it, listen.
2.) If we tell you we hurt, please don’t get mad at us. Don’t say, “you should be taking your medication, you should be exercising, or you should be seeing a doctor more frequently”. This disease is with us forever. Sometimes within that forever time frame we get tired of taking medication, we get tired of exercise and we get tired of seeing doctors. Sometimes we just want a hug, a back rub, or someone to listen. We don’t mean to complain.
3.) Don’t tell us that we can’t do something. Don’t run in front of us and do tasks before we have a chance to do them and say it’s because you know we’re sick. We know we’re sick, and we know well enough we can’t do whatever task it is, but we don’t want to feel weak. Don’t make us feel weak.
4.) On that note, don’t ask us to do things you know we just can’t do, like carry a chair or something. Don’t ask us to do things that you know we’ll struggle with because I don’t want to feel weak and we will still try to do the task to show that but we will end up hurting ourselves.
Here are some tips:
1.) Everyone wants to feel beautiful or handsome. Everyone wants to know they’re adored and loved. Most of the time we feel like we’re not as we see our joints bending, as we feel the pain within. We feel like people can see the little physical things that are wrong with us. Remind us that we’re beautiful. Remind us that you care. Remind us that you love us. You might think we know it, but we doubt ourselves every day. We feel like we’re a burden.
2.) Like random back massages? Everyone does. Make the person you love feel sexy and feel wanted. Give them a random back massage.
3.) Give us hugs, everyone loves hugs.
4.) We are the person we used to be; we still love all the things we did. There’s just one small difference now: we have arthritis. We don’t treat you different, so please don’t treat us differently. Don’t let us see that we’re different. Sometimes when our joints are inflamed, we might lose our temper and sometimes we might feel down but we are still the same person inside. Love us always.
I apologize, I realize this depiction of arthritis and fibromyalgia won’t match everyone’s personal experience.
I know this has been one of my more darker posts. I’m sorry if any of the feelings I’ve expressed or the descriptions I’ve used don’t fit how you, a fellow R.A. patient, feel. This is simply how I feel, this all stems from my personal experience, but if I feel this way, some other people might feel the same way as well, so I thought I’d share it.
If there’s a certain thing that bothers you, or a certain thing you love or a shout out you’d like to give to that awesome person that holds you up when you feel down, please comment below.
Take care loves, we’re all in this together <3