Fibromyalgia Can Be Disastrous For Sufferers Living Alone

Have you ever spoke to a patient who is being treated for fibromyalgia? To fully grasp why fibromyalgia can be disastrous for sufferers living alone, one does not have to look much further than a doctor’s waiting room. Patients identified as fibromyalgia sufferers do not show any obvious signs of trauma or illness, yet they are caught in painful spasms that make it virtually impossible for them to grasp the doorknob when it is their turn to see the doctor. They may also slowly shuffle forward, much like a person who has been without a good night’s sleep for a prolonged period of time, and who is now suffering the ill effects of their oversight with respect to their much needed sleep.

Of course, these patients who are writhing in pain most likely get a full eight hours of sleep at night, try to take a lot of naps and rests throughout their day, and may not even have a demanding, challenging or even taxing job. This makes it hard to cope with fibromyalgia during the best of circumstances, but for someone living along, it is a recipe for disaster. The throbbing pain of fibromyalgia is of course identified as the most unbearable factor of this ailment since it prevents the person suffering with the disease from actually participating in daily activities most everyone else takes for granted.

Caring for a garden, painting the inside of a house, or even just making a bed becomes a study in pain management. The pain may be so severe that sufferers are forced to remain indoors, perhaps even remain in bed, and judiciously plan their every move to minimize the effects of the pain. A tiredness that is hard to understand by anyone who does not experience it first hand complements the debilitation fibromyalgia causes in the lives of its sufferers. Even patients who have found useful painkillers may not be able to make it past the feelings of fatigue. This is not the kind of tiredness that can be overcome with a nap or even a full eight hours of sleep.

Instead, it is the kind of tiredness that makes even the most normal tasks – such as placing a cup and saucer next to the sink – a task so immense that it is carefully weighed by the patient and usually not executed. The result of this fatigue is a sufferer whose basic household is slowly falling into disarray, and who have a home or garden that are going into disrepair. Sufferers living alone find that this leads to an inevitable form of depression. Fibromyalgia patients become slowly realize that they cannot depend on being able to engage in enjoyable activities for a sense of self worth. Instead, they must rely on the kindness of hired help or friends to do even the most menial tasks.

Before long, a patient with fibromyalgia who lives alone may find that she separates herself from other people, lives on her couch with pain as a constant companion, and has the only hope that tomorrow will not be quite as painful and fatiguing as today. There is little to hope for, and depression continues to grow. Intervention by third parties or professionals is crucial to increase the patient’s quality of life and also to ensure that she will take sufficient care of herself.

5 Responses to “Fibromyalgia Can Be Disastrous For Sufferers Living Alone”

  1. Nancy says:

    I was really identifying with this article until the last sentence, and then I almost laughed out loud…and not in a good way.

    I’ve been to 4 psychologists/psychiatrists in the last 3 years and not one of them understands a thing about Fibromyalgia. They tell me to get out more or go exercise, which is an insanely stupid thing to say to someone who can barely get off of the couch.

    The kind of support I need isn’t something I can get from a support group or a psychologist. I need the kind of support that can help me get things done that need doing! If that happened, a lot of the emotional stress would take care of itself.

  2. Sue says:

    Nancy;
    I totally get how you were irritated by someone telling you to get out and exercise when you can barely move,or walk. I know I hurt so much even lying in bed or trying to walk from my chair to the bathroom. However, it is important for us to keep ourselves moving. I make sure even just 3 days a week to just do stretches on the floor. Nothing to strenuous, but have to keep my body a bit flexible, and not to the point of causing more pain either. Also a lot of circular motions where the joints are. My mother had MS for over 18 years and she did the same. No she did not run marathons,but it really helped with keeping her strength and if not for anything else, just get the endorphins flowing and give a little energy even if only for a short while. It helps with the depression to. ANd believe me I know I have terrible depression. Good luck to you, and I am not trying to come off like I know it all, I a, still learning more and more every day. As I always will be. This is what works for me and I know everyone is different.

  3. Nancy says:

    Thanks, Sue. You don’t sound like a know-it-all, I promise! Every little bit helps.

    I do stretches – I’m actually very limber – and I work about 50 hours a week on a college campus as a teacher of both day and evening classes, so I really do get out…but only because I have to feed myself and keep a roof over my head. There’s no one else I can fall back on for support. The work is so exhausting that when the weekend or a break comes, I’m a total zombie. It would be one thing if I was just *tired*, but I’ve actually gotten into fender benders by falling asleep behind the wheel at stop lights.

    So, my main problem with fibromyalgia isn’t the pain. I know that for a lot of people it is. My main problem is chronic exhaustion. I used to swim for an hour every Friday…and then it got to where I was going home and sleeping for 8 hours afterwards. That’s what exercise does to me these days.

    I still haven’t found a doctor who can give me suggestions for things I haven’t tried yet. Sometimes things will work for a short while and then stop working, like Lyrica and various narcolepsy meds. But, then I’m always back to square one. I’m not sure how much more my house can stand.

  4. Janet says:

    Nancy,

    I totally get you. I was diagnosed with fibro in 1996 after getting some kind of flu in September of 1995 that wouldn’t go away. I have lived alone all the years since I’ve had it. Friends and family just don’t understand.

    I was a national educator for a sewing machine company which meant I had to do day-long lecture demo programs while traveling across the US. My body finally gave out and I was unable to continue doing that, so I worked in customer support after that.

    I am now receiving Social Security Disability and was able to find a part-time job doing data entry. Doing that job is exhausting, so I don’t get much else done.

    I used to pay someone to come and help me clean a couple times a month. I also hired a personal organizer once. I need these services on an ongoing basis, but can no longer afford them.

    I have been searching for a very long time for an organization to help me. I was told by one organization last week “The people we help, are more disabled than you.”

    I think it is not good for me to live alone anymore, but I can’t figure out how to get into a better living situation. Finding a suitable roommate or husband is a scary thing. I definitely am not ready for a nursing home. There is so much red tape with government housing that it is exhausting just educating myself about that.

    I wish there were communities where single people could live with some kind of program in place to have help available when we need it.

  5. Nancy says:

    Janet,

    I have frequently thought that it would be helpful for there to be housing available similar to the small “senior” communities I see around…the type that don’t have stairs and that have support services on hand. Most of the ones that I’ve seen around have an age minimum, which is not helpful to those of us who are younger than 60 or so.

    I’m looking for the same answers you are, so I feel your pain.

    Ten months ago, I moved halfway across the country in order to be closer to my parents. I do have to say that it is nice to know that they’re there in an emergency, but the day-to-day stuff still piles up.

    Good luck with your search. I hope more options become available for us soon.

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