Fibromyalgia is like riding a roller coaster and sometimes it’s like riding it with a blindfold on.
I’ve tried many times to explain to healthy people what it’s like to live with fibromyalgia, the highs of good days and the lows of flare days and the constant struggle of never knowing what’s going to happen next. To me it feels like riding a roller coaster while wearing a blindfold.
Everything starts off nice and smooth and safe, you can breath just fine and you are having fun. You head up a hill and it’s no big deal, then you come down the hill and your heart pops out of your head.
It’s still not that big of a deal and you can handle it. You head back into a trough and you think “OK, it’s over, I can breath now”. So, you breath, you relax as much as you can and then the next thing you know you feel your entire body spin into a loop-de-loop.
We have troughs all the time in Fibro – good days where things seem to be going just fine. But, we know that there are loops coming. We use those troughs to get as much done as we can. We try to enjoy our families, get work done, and just have fun. We work our butts off during those troughs. Then the loops start again.
When the loops start up sometimes all you can do is close your eyes and hold on for dear life. They can be pretty crazy at times. Sometimes they come in singles and we get another trough where we can calm down again, sometimes they come in doubles and sometimes they spin us into a corkscrew that we don’t think we’ll ever get out of.
Sometimes it feels like the loops will never end, and we’ll never catch our breath.
Unfortunately, where real roller coasters can be a lot of fun, the Fibro roller coaster just sucks.
Sometimes we get lucky and the ride stops in the middle of a trough and we can relax and things seem to be getting back to normal again. We may even be fooled into thinking we’ve gotten off the ride completely, but eventually it will start again and there will be more loops and corkscrews to come.
The truth is that like a real roller coaster, once you are on the ride you can’t get off until the ride has completed. And, sadly with fibromyalgia (as with any chronic illness) the ride is never really over. Like a real roller coaster, we have no control over where it stops or starts or when the loops come or the corkscrews or anything else that might spin us out of control.
Sometimes we can grab the brake and slow things down a little, but we know that there’s another corkscrew coming just over that hill. Sometimes, we are flying blind, like riding a roller coaster with a blindfold on, we have no idea what’s coming.
Over time, as we ride the coaster more and more we can learn to predict the loops, the spins, and corkscrews. We can even learn to adjust our response to them so that they cause less stress on the body and the mind, allowing us to return to the troughs sooner and for those rest periods to last longer. But, it tends to take way too many rides to really get to that point. Over the years, I’ve found ways to shorten the fibro flares and allow myself to bounce back faster so that I spend less time in the corkscrews and more time in the troughs, but it was no easy task.