I’ve had fibromyalgia for fourteen years now and have kept working. How have I been able to do this? Thinking back, I wonder myself.
Every day is a struggle. I wake up tired, my body is aching. Just getting up out of bed and moving about can be difficult with fibromyalgia.
When I was first diagnosed and before this. I felt tired, fatigued and had pain in my body for months that just got worse. Nothing I did seemed to help. To some extent it was a relief to find out what was wrong. I had managed to keep working and had odd days off. These days stretched into longer periods of time off.
After the fibromyalgia diagnosis, I slowly started to learn, how to manage my symptoms on a daily basis. Finding out my limitations and how much I could do without making my symptoms worse or triggering a flare up took time to find out. I found stress played a big part in making symptoms worse. Making sure I took adequate rest breaks during the day was essential.
At some point during these initial first weeks you will want to consider what changes you need to make in your life to help manage fibromyalgia symptoms. One of them may be to re-evaluate your work choices. Perhaps looking at alternative jobs after doing thorough research.
Thinking about what would help you do your existing job and talking to your employer is worth considering. Beforehand gather together evidence to support your diagnosis such as doctors letters. Get the support of your superior and other more senior staff. Explain to them what it’s like and how it’s affecting you. Perhaps taking along a diary of symptoms, would be easier to illustrate how to adapt your job. Approach this in a positive way showing you can be flexible, will help.
If you are newly diagnosed, your first step could be to educate others working with you, what fibromyalgia is. Your relationship with colleagues is important when your working, if they have a understanding of your condition it will help you feel more confident about work.
Things that could help you……
If you live in the UK have a look at the following information.
If your looking for a job, finding work with an employer in the UK who is disability confident can make a difference. Depending on what they have signed up to they are encouraged to recruit new staff and retain existing employees who would be defined under the equality act 2010 as having a disability.
The equality act 2010 states that all employers in the UK must make reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities, or a long term health condition, so they aren’t disadvantaged when carrying out their jobs.
Your employer can look at ways you can adapt your role, within the reasonable adjustments criteria. This could include switching your working hours to more suitable times or looking at special equipment to help you carry out your role.
A UK access to work assessment may be able to highlight things you have overlooked that could help you carry out your work. The assessor contacts you to find out more about your circumstances and makes recommendations to suit you.
So, what else can I do?
I personally think that having a long term health condition has made me more aware of my health and well-being. I look after myself better than some of my peers.
Because I need to exercise regularly to keep my body moving I have a very good awareness of what I need to do to keep as fit and healthy as possible. Take a look at my pages on Exercise , Diet and Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Self Help.
Telling your family and friends and explaining how it affects you. With their support you will be able to achieve more.
Having a positive mental attitude and setting yourself realistic goals. I use meditation to help me find focus and a positive direction in my daily life. Follow my link to meditation for information about this.
I would welcome any fibromyalgia sufferers to get in contact with me about your experiences.