‘Welcome to the dark side’ is what my friend at work (right behind me) says to me when I pop around her ‘side’ of the office, demarcated only by a glass wall.
It’s a joke of course but what Lucy doesn’t know is that I already live on the dark side.
Living with a chronic condition is tough. An invisible chronic condition – tougher. Two invisible conditions? Well, welcome to the dark side.
It is misunderstood, underestimated and invisible – making it even more misunderstood and underestimated. It is hard talking about fibromyalgia when people like to tell me how I feel and what’s not happening in my body, like they’re the ones trying to live in it everyday.
It is hard trying to explain…to loved ones even. It is a dark, lonely place. But you know why I talk about it – to raise awareness so that one day people will understand, and in the meantime sufferers know they’re not alone.
Chronic Condition #2
Talking about depression and anxiety is just as hard for me. It is even more personal, and strangely for the same reasons.
Depression is largely misunderstood and underestimated, though most of us will experience it in our lifetime. Some of us will live try to live with it. Live with it in the face of whispering mouths, stigma, ostracism…
Most fibromyalgia sufferers experience depression and anxiety. Researchers are still exploring the relationship between the two. What we do know is they both impact on eachother significantly.
I’d sometimes wondered when one suffers from both how one could be sure which of the conditions was causing certain symptoms on any given day.
If I had forgotten, I had a rude reminder this week.
The Dark Side with Fibromyalgia & Depression
I’ve been having a break down. Again. And the first observation I made had to do with my exhaustion levels.
I went from running on a flat battery to not being able to run at all. I could force/push my body against my exhaustion to make it to work, to go to the shop and enjoy a very minimal/close to nonexistent social life. When my depression levels escalated, there was no pushing to be done. My battery couldn’t be taxed. Exhaustion cripples me and lays me flat on the bed all the time. But I was now being pressed down by a heavy force unwilling to let me rise.
So weak, I couldn’t walk properly for two days. Food wouldn’t stay down.
I went from poor, little sleep to no sleep. When it came it was disturbed. Thoroughly disturbed, like a drunk demented person.
My cognitive impairments became …well I’m not sure I could call them impairments anymore. I am no longer functioning. I almost got knocked over yesterday.
Blaring horns, shouting people, screaming children, flashing lights, trains that are too fast, moving mouths that produce no sound…THIS, THAT, HERE, THERE, IN YOUR FACE… SYSTEM OVERLOAD.
I live on the dark side. But I found that I am not alone. I have many friends in my Facebook Fibromyalgia support group who suffer with me. Who check in on me. Who share my secrets and I theirs, the ones we cannot tell families and ‘in person friends’ because they cannot or will not understand. My Depression Alliance friends call, write, arrange doctor appointments and urge me to plod on.
I live on the dark side. But I do not live alone.
*DEDICATED TO ALL MY FRIENDS – SUFFERERS OF FIBROMYALGIA AND DEPRESSION. STAY STRONG*