Fibro is tricky, and can be unpredictable. Sometimes, however, it can be frustratingly predictable, meaning it can deliver exactly what you expect. I’m talking now about STRESS = FLARE. In times of high stress, our bodies often respond by shutting down. I remember in my early days of Fibro I went to my doctor in a terrible flare, and she asked me, “what happened yesterday?” She was right, of course, one of my kids had been hurt at school and I was upset. My body knew what my conscious mind had not quite processed, that I needed to shut down for a bit and deal with the emotions.
Fibro flares vary in intensity, symptoms and duration, just like everything Fibro. Some people get crippling headaches, some full-on body aches, some have extreme IBS symptoms. No matter what the specifics, it’s not fun. So, what should you do if you’re in a flare? Increase your self-care. Do more of the things you do when you feel down: Ask for help, rest, take hot baths with magnesium and Epsom salts. Drink tea, read a junk novel, get a gentle massage, take a slow walk in a beautiful place. At one point when I was not able to get out of bed, my acupuncturist came and treated me at home. Do whatever it takes to turn things around.
And most importantly, remind yourself constantly that THIS TOO SHALL PASS. One of the most challenging features of Fibro is the tendency to descend into negative thinking. It can be so hard to keep a positive outlook when our bodies betray us, but that is exactly what will help return us to normal. So, next time you’re in a flare, give yourself the extra love you need and know that you will get better soon. If you are having trouble with this last part, reach out to a friend – or to me – for a reminder.