Pleasant Pain: with FM
The stress and strain of even the good times
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Pleasant Pain: Fibromyalgia and the stress and strain of even the good times. Since the holidays are coming up, it seemed a fitting time to repost some issues that those of us with FM face, even when the event is a happy occasion.

It seems weird to say that pleasure can create pain, but it is true. In this case, the pleasure was a family visit a few years ago. This missive is NOT to complain about them, as my resultant state had nothing to do with the family themselves … but rather to explain and hopefully prepare any readers who have FM for the events which likely will happen to them, due to otherwise good or pleasant events.

My pleasant event … I had my immediate family here for a week for the holidays ( as well as a few drop in’s by near by relatives ) Now, this meant trips out to do things together, making meals for large numbers, total changes in sleep times, life cycles, etc. All for very nice reasons, and I enjoyed having them all around for the week … however FM makes NO distinction between body and mental stress brought on by good times.. or bad, which is my point here.

In a word, I am paying for the visit in pain, just as I would if I had been through any other stressful demanding set of events.  And given as I was already IN a flare state due to recent minor surgery … I was double dipping into the stress pool. However, that fact is almost to my benefit. As the body was already maxed out with a flare, so that adding a few more events, did not seem quite as bad.

However, there were issues the surgery did not create, that the family visit … did. What are these reactions and why do they matter ?

Known VS unknown environments: This one is a combination of factors. When we are out and about, we lack control over the environment, temperature, light levels, exposure to chemicals, pollens, and more. This creates a large stress loop feedback to the body, that by and large we have NO control over. And with a family visit you are more likely to engage in such events. ( Known Vs unknown on site link )

( I was able to bow out of one of the planned activities  and rain canceled another, so things were not as hard as they could have been. But as we with FM know any trip out for any reason, can be draining  )

Dietary changes: In the normal course of our days, we can eat when we want, how we want etc. ( or rather we can to the extent our Gut permits us to eat ) If you have a houseful of guests however, their needs become paramount, which almost always means a change in your diet. If for no other reason than the time of day that you eat, will tend to change. Which creates:

IBS: Which due to the diet changes and general stress, kicks off with abdominal cramping and pain. Diarrhea and/or constipation with attendant flatulence …which with a room full of guests, can be a problem. :(  As well as, bloating, abdominal distention and nausea. ( IBS on site link )

Push Crash: Since you are acting as the host, even with family, you will tend to push yourself to keep up with the obligations that go with that state ( this is true, even if you do manage to bow out of some of the activities as I said above. ( Push Crash on site link )

Sleep disruption: If  any of the guests stay in the house with you, then your entire sleep wake pattern can and likely will be disrupted. ( In fact, this is likely to be true, even if they sleep elsewhere, as their “day” will start sooner than yours over all, which will force you to cut your sleep hours short to accommodate them ) This creates sleep deprivation in either case.  ( Sleep issues and FM on site link )

Which causes problems like so:

Aching muscles, blurred vision, depression, drowsiness, decreased mental activity/concentration dizziness, fainting, confusion, hand tremors (  my dominate hand had the shakes so bad, I could barely hold my glass at one point ) Headache ( that is an understatement, rather say Migraine on site link ) hyperactivity, hypertension, irritability, memory lapses or loss and nausea.

Just to name a few

General flare: Which is where all issues above, pain etc, intensify. And to top it all off, I got a grand case of Laryngitis from talking so much.

All of the above and more are true.. even IF the family over all does understand what the term FM means. They really have NO understanding on how it affects you day by day. In fact, unless they live with you, and sometimes not even then, none of them are going to be able to adjust their actions or moderate the demands their presence makes on you to any real degree. As it takes more than just “understanding"  what FM is. What it takes is understanding how they are likely to need to change how they behave and what demands they make on you.

And, even if they "get it " the extra demands, started before they even showed up. With extra shopping trips for food stuffs etc, more cleaning activities and the like, just to prepare for their visit.

Now, would I change a thing about any of it ? No, totally enjoyed it and would do it again in a heartbeat 🙂 But a word to the wise, even pleasant activities have a price, if you have FM and it is best to be prepared for the flare and other issues that it will create.