I’m not sure how long fibromyalgia has been an uninvited guest in my life. It could have been as early as the 1980s, when an unexplained drop in energy hit me just after I had weaned off an otherwise highly successful low-carb diet. After adjusting to the new status quo I managed to carry on with life and generally hold things together. It wasn’t till the early 2000s, when dealing with divorce proceedings and job stress, that the second torpedo hit. It would be a few more years before I got an official diagnosis, and it took a physiatrist and then a rheumatologist to figure it out.
So here I am, getting 200% of my daily maximum requirement of “Ow!” on a fairly regular basis. The soreness isn’t constant — distract me with something even slightly interesting and I can happily work on it for hours. Every once in a while, though, I get this feeling that something just outside my awareness is sapping my energy and interfering with the proper use of my joints and muscles.
The other day I thought about this and came to an unusual conclusion: If it’s going to hurt anyway, why not just use those joints and muscles instead of worrying about the hurt? If my knee is sore when sitting in a chair or when lying in bed, and also sore when walking, why not walk? The cost is the same, but the more active course of action clearly has superior benefits. In addition to potentially improving my fitness, I feel better mentally as well.
This doesn’t mean doing stupid things, like trying to run a marathon without training for it. It does mean that the pain is losing its ability to control me. I’d rather spend three hours in the garden than three hours at my desk playing solitaire on the computer, so that’s what I did this evening. Relaxation still has value and still has a place in my life, but it isn’t the only valuable thing and it doesn’t get first dibs on my time. From now on it’s action before relaxation, and not the other way around.