It’s Saturday morning. Head’s pounding…delirious…upset… It feels like a hangover but I assure you it isn’t.
It’s only fibromyalgia.
If you don’t have it, you might take it forgranted, but working with this condition is no easy feat.
I don’t know of anyone with fm who holds down a full time job. The few fm sufferers I know who work do it part time. And ohh believe me I know why.
My typical Saturday morning suffering is the cumulative effect of pushing my body to work a normal job like normal, healthy, non-fibromyalgia stricken people.
Once upon a time I used to have dreams of being an award winning journalist whose fearless reportage would help those needing it most.
I used to.
But fibromyalgia constantly gave me a bitter reality check, and as much as my mind wanted to, my body didn’t permit.
There was a time though when my stubbornness refused to give in to fibromyalgia and give up the only thing I’ve ever done since I was 16.
Debilitating exhaustion caused me to fall asleep constantly throughout the work day: to and from work, in the office at my desk, on the way to assignments, and AT assignments. I was particularly prone to zzz’s when politicians opened their mouths to spurt inane psittacism.
Then there were days when dizziness enveloped me and I felt trapped in a haze. There was the pain, anxiety, inability to concentrate, and understand even the simplest of things. And that wasn’t all.
It was painstaking. It still is.
I managed to scrape through my last, steady job as a broadcast journalist, just barely. But I didn’t want to just scrape through. I wanted to give it 200%!
It hurts just thinking about it. I wanted it so badly, and I tried so hard.
I’m sure there are ways it could be done, but not without supreme challenges and super understanding bosses. The latter I’d found hard to come by.
Despite the challenges, denial and stubborness (again) I persisted.
I struggled through university (twice) to earn my BA, then MA in media studies and international journalism. Two international journalism stints, and couple years later, I realised that fibromyalgia couldn’t compete with the fresh faced, high energised youth willing to work 14 hour days, chasing stories against deadlines in the fast paced newsroom.
So, I (kinda) finally called it quits, as it pertains to a full time journalism job, and decided to find other ways of making a difference in this life.
I’ve since landed my first stable, non journalism post, and I quite like it.
I’m still plagued by the usual suspects, but I am finding it easier to push through these days, one day at a time (hour by hour).
It is as much a mental struggle as it is physical: constantly encouraging myself and pushing my body beyond the limit.
By Saturday morning, I’m resigned to laying flat in bed all day. Sometimes I do, but if I did this always, I’d get nothing else done in my short life and there is much to do.
So I try to get out at least one of the days on the weekend, and make sure i have a full day to rest in preparation for the work week ahead.
I can’t not work. But having a job that’s easier on my symptoms and one I enjoy does help. I’m saying this to say that any of you fibromites who want/need to work as well CAN do it. You just need to find a job where you can pace yourself. Still, it won’t be easy but it is achievable.
I believe things will get better one day.
Gentle hugs 🙂