I have mentioned that I have not had a Fibro flare in many years. So many people have asked me how I did this, I decided to spell it out. To be clear, my Fibro was always episodic rather than chronic; I would get a flare every year or two that put me in bed for weeks. I would just wake up in the morning and not be able to move. Between flares I had some aches and pains, but like most of you, I sort of considered that normal. Now I know that is not normal, and the normal amount of pain is ZERO.
Here is what I did:
- I changed my diet. I started with an elimination diet so I could figure out my trigger foods. For a month I avoided gluten, dairy, sugar, nightshades, caffeine, alcohol and meat (I have never been much of a meat eater, but this included fish as well). At the end of the month I added foods back one at a time. I confirmed that my problem foods were wheat, dairy and sugar. I stopped these foods nearly 100%.
- I started a yoga practice. I had already been practicing meditation daily for many years, so I added a moving practice to that. I still do this daily, even if it is only 10 minutes.
- I learned to set some boundaries. I started saying no. I started asking myself what I want, what is good for me, what do I enjoy, etc. With four teenagers/young adults at home, this was not the easiest change, but it was crucial.
- I started swimming again. I love the water, and this is my favorite form of exercise. I had not prioritized swimming because I couldn’t justify the expense. That was a mistake.
- I started practicing gratitude. A foundation of positive psychology, practicing gratitude is one of the pillars of health and well-being. Gratitude makes us happier.
- I went to therapy. Even therapists go to therapy! CBT helped me to integrate the changes I needed to make, and helped me sort out my personal priorities. A good life coach can also help with this.
- I bought CBD oil and topical cream. I almost never use them anymore, but I have them just in case. I also started taking Vitamin D.
- I made my self-care a priority. This was the last excuse standing. I had so many other people to take care of, how could I put myself first? Well, what I learned from this was, how could I not?
I have been pain-free for many years now, and I am grateful every single day. I also know that if I don’t maintain my commitment to self-care, I could end up back in bed. I know how challenging some of these changes can be. I could not have succeeded without some support, and I don’t expect anyone else to be able to. This is the main reason I have devoted my life to training therapists and life coaches to help people with Fibro and other chronic conditions to make the changes that matter so much. I wish you all a pain-free life. You deserve it!