Thursday, 10 May 2012

Finally some good news...

If you have been reading my past posts you will know that I was soon to be unemployed. Well, a lot has happened since then. I handed my notice in four weeks ago and today was actually supposed to be my last day. After my section manager read my quite nasty resignation letter about how they have mistreated me (someone with a disability) she was very annoyed that this was aloud to happen. She has now managed to find me another job in the company but in a different department doing basic admin work that sounds perfect for me, even though it's only temporary until the end of the year. But it's better than having no job!

So my advice to anyone going through what I went through with your team leader claiming they can't help you, you should always go higher because at the end of the day they're not always trained to know how to deal with disabled employees. Lets just say he should be getting a very stern talking to from his boss!

As I thought I was leaving and after being sick of being treated unfairly by my team leader I was suffering with stress, anxiety and could feel a panic attack coming on at the thought of having to go back to work and see my team leader. So my doctor signed me off work until what was supposed to be the end of my notice. This means I haven't been in work for the past three weeks. And just my luck I had the worst week Fibromyalgia wise I've ever had and that is an understatement

I was experiencing pain in new places which I didn't even think was possible to have pain. I felt like my bones were hurting as well as my muscles and ligaments. I was struggling to lift my arms up and this is what I found hard to deal with the most as I've never had pain that severe in my arms before. I couldn't lift the milk or the kettle, so making my own breakfast was out the window. I couldn't wash my hair myself so queue the mother. She had to wash and dry my hair for me. I was struggling to drive so for the first time in years I was asking my parents for lifts. I just felt like I was loosing my independence. All I kept thinking was is this going to be it from now on, is this what my pain level is now going to be. So I was so upset, everyday I woke up and I was no better I'd just cry thinking this is what it's going to be like everyday.The only medication I found would take the edge of was Ibuprofen, so I was dosed up on that daily taking it constantly as soon as it had hit four hours since my last dose. This went on for a good two weeks. I struggled to do anything.

Luckily it was just a very bad attack and I slowly started to feel better. Having the movement back in my arms was the best feeling in the world. As much as I'm hateful towards my Fibromyalgia I am so grateful it didn't stay that severe. However, I could have a bad attack like that again at any time. That's the worst thing about the illness, how much of a roller-coaster it is. One day you can see me and I'll be having a good day so I'll look fine, but the next I could have a bad day and be crippled in pain. Baring in mind, you won't see me on my bad days because I'm more than likely going to be in bed or staying as far away from public places as possible.

My favourite quote: I may not look sick, but you don't look stupid.

On Saturday 12th May is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, please just take a moment to think how it would feel to have an illness so painful, so tiring and so depressing but no one could see, understand or even help. To everyone else you looked normal.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Anti-Depressants for Fibromyalgia...

First of all I would like to apologise for my lack of blogging lately, a lot has been going on especially with work. Saying I've not been well lately would be an understatement. 
I posted a link to my blog on my Facebook and the response still amazes me to see that you really aren't alone even though it does feel like that with such a complex and varying illness, no two people with the condition are the same.

So this post is to tell my experiences of taking anti-depressants as a treatment for my Fibromyalgia. Some doctors believe that anti-depressants can help make some FM symptoms more manageable because as FM sufferers know, nothing will get rid of them. They can be used to help ease pain as they affect the nerve endings or just to help you relax to get a better nights sleep. 

I have currently been on Venlaflaxine for just over a year now and it's a noradrenaline based anti-depressant. The most common type of anti-depressant used for treating FM is a serotonin based anti-depressant but I experienced a very uncommon reaction to them. The first anti-depressant I tried was Setraline which is a serotonin based one. I was taking one 75mg tablet a day but on the second night I suffered a very severe reaction which the doctors described as an overdose but as I'd only taken two tablets they said my body had an uncommon reaction to the serotonin called serotonin syndrome. 
Please do no let this put you off trying them though as like I said it is uncommon to have this reaction.
I first realised I wasn't right on them when I started to feel high as a kite, I was having fits of giggles and hallucinating that the words on my TV were jumping. I then went to feel sick and dizzy and when I got up in the night I collapsed and had to be taken to hospital. I was only in for one night while they just monitored me but luckily I was fine and just had a few days off work until it was completely out of my system. 

Being too scared to try any other serotonin based anti-depressants, that's when my doctor suggested going on a noradrenaline based one which are normally used for treating anxiety. I first started on 75mg a day but when my body started to get used to this dose I increased to 150mg a day. I had no reaction what so ever on these and at first didn't suffer from any side effects. They were great for relaxing me and helping me sleep better at night. And if you suffer with FM, you understand the importance of a good nights sleep. So if that is something you suffer from I definitely recommend to give these a go.

As I am only 19, I started taking antidepressants when I was 18 which was a scary decision to make as they affect the chemicals in the brain as they are first and foremost a tablet to treat mental illnesses. But I would only recommend trying them if you fully trust your doctor. As if you don't suffer with depression or anxiety they can be quite strange to start with. I started to feel no emotion at the beginning, my mum would describe me as being numb. Nothing would really bother me, I was never excited or stressed out by anything. Now that my body is getting used to them it's quite the opposite. I'm never just normal, I'm either extremely happy or extremely sad. Which can throw me off a bit because there doesn't seem to be any middle ground. 

Lately I have been starting to suffer with quite bad side effects from them. My doctor calls them 'zaps' as the only way to describe it is that it feels like your getting an electric shock through your body that literally makes you feel like your jolting or twitching but it can be quite painful. They are horrible and they come and go.

MAKE SURE you ask what type of anti-depressant your taking. Some are slow releasing and can stay in your system for a couple of days. Where as other are fast releasing and when it comes nearer the time to take another dose they can start to wear off. I am on the fast releasing and if I miss a dose then I start to get minor withdrawal symptoms. Stupidly I forgot to take them last night, so I thought I'd write this blog today to explain how it's made me feel. I am getting these 'zaps' every couple of seconds as well as feeling extremely nauseous.  The 'zaps' have given me a severe headache, backache and are even making my eyes ache. I have been suffering all day with numbness and tingling in my hands and slurring of my words. It scares me how much these tablets have an effect on my brain and body to cause me to feel like this when I miss one dose. 

This post was just to tell you my experiences with taking anti-depressants, I don't want to scare anyone out of trying them because they do help. I wouldn't still be on them if they didn't but I just wanted to tell you all what happens to me when I'm on them because my doctor didn't warn me I could have such bad reactions or any of these problems on them. So if nothing else will take the edge off (which it didn't for me), I recommend these as a last resort. But I recommend trying all other medication roots before trying these are they are very strong and scary medication. My doctor used them as a very last resort and waited until I was 18.

In other news, as per my last post about my employment situation. I have had to hand my notice in, even though I have no other job lined up. This is because of how ill the job has been making me, I'm so drained physically and emotionally after a day there it was becoming unbearable. Even though I'll have no constant money flow soon, my health and happiness is the most important thing. FM sufferers need to try and make themselves as happy as possible as if your happy it will naturally make symptoms more manageable. So as my dad explained it, if I was walking the plank I'm jumping before I'm being pushed. As it would look better on my CV to have left rather than be sacked due to absence and my illness.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Downer than ever...

Judging by the title this isn't going to be a very positive post as I don't have anything positive to say. Lately everything just seems to be going from bad to worse.

I have had the flu and been off work the past few days. When I catch something else like a cold, flu or virus it makes my Fibromyalgia symptoms so much worse. I ache more, I have less energy and just generally feel more rubbish than usual. So day to day things do become pretty impossible for me when I'm ill, my mum's even been having to dry my hair for me! 

As I've had quite a lot of time off work in the past few months due to my condition and stress from working in a sales based role. I have been put on report for my absence as it's too high for someone who only works 16 hours a week. God help me find another job if I can't even handle rolling out of bed to sit on the phone for four hours a day. As I've now had further days off for the flu, I am pretty much on the road to being laid off work. I'm really stuck with options as I don't know what to do. Who will want to employ me if my previous job I was sacked for having too much time off sick?! Looks like a trip to the local Citizens Advice Bureau is on the cards now. So if anyone knows any information for being fired due to illness PLEASE let me know!

I've also been having a pretty rubbish social life, all I want to do is lie in bed and rest with a good film or evening TV. I don't have the energy lately to go out and do things, so if I do it tires me out so much. People really do take being able to go out and do what they want whenever they want for granted, I'd love to be able to. I feel as if I let people down all the time as I have to cancel things last minute or just say no if it's something I know I won't have the energy or strength for. It makes me feel so bad when I have to let people down, I will literally stress and feel guilty for days. As they don't see it as their ill friend being too ill to do something, they see it as a normal friend that's letting them down which isn't the case. I would LOVE to do all the things I've missed out on due to illness such as holidays, festivals, nights out, nights in and days out. I am starting to realise though that friends that make me feel like that if I can't do what they want or go out with them aren't friends worth having. Friends should understand that I'm ill and understand I can't do everything they can do. 

Jeez, by the sounds of this I'm going to be jobless and friendless soon haha!
No I do have some amazing friends and family that do understand and I couldn't cope without them, but no matter how many people I have around me I still feel lonely as I'm the only one who really knows what I'm going through. As every Fibromyalgia sufferer is different. Some can have jobs, some can go to university and lead a normal life. Guess I drew the short straw as I can't do half the things they can.

So yeah I'm downer than ever lately, but when you've reached the bottom, the only way is up!
Hopefully my next post will be good news or that I've won the lottery!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Being Paranoid...

Lately things have been really getting to me, so I need a big fat rant to let it all out. Don't even know where to begin, so I apologise if this post has no real structure. I also apologise as this post isn't probably going to interest anyone, it's just literally me getting things off my chest. So here goes...

The past couple of weeks my fatigue has been so bad that it's actually been making me angry because of how much I feel it's been holding me back. But some good news I have had my hours changed in work and no longer work Sundays, thank goodness! I have worked nearly every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday for the past year so it's such a relief getting my Sunday lie ins back and I have already started to feel a difference in my tiredness levels. Which is really good and suppose the only positive thing.

The main thing that has been getting my back up is how paranoid I feel I get about friends and trying to keep them all happy. I know I over think things but I have always done that. Girls are notoriously bitchy and I don't think I've ever met a girl who hasn't bitched about another girl or their own friends for that matter. So I constantly want to please everyone as the thought of people bitching about me due to me not being able to do what they wanted literally makes my stomach go into knots. This normally leads me to pushing myself far too much than I should be as the simplest tasks can be so hard for me. This is why I try and spend as much time as I can with my boyfriend, he really gets me and would never get annoyed with me for not doing something because I don't feel well enough to.

For example, my friends could be planning a girlie night in or just a night in the local pub which in theory isn't much effort. You just get ready and go to their house or the pub and sit and chat but for me this isn't the case. If I am having a bad day then just getting out of bed and getting out of pyjamas can be a very hard struggle. I never really have the energy to do my hair or my make up never mind go out the house. So when I say no to coming it's not because I'm 'sacking' you off to go see my boyfriend or that I've got other plans or that I don't want to go. Its because I genuinely don't feel well enough to go. I know girls don't like it when their friends go to their boyfriends rather than seeing them but for me it's not like that. I would class going to my boyfriends as just staying in I don't see it as doing 'something' or going out. He is literally my rock and sometimes I have to see him just to be able to smile once for that day. I see him pretty much every single day, I don't have to put nice clothes on, do my make up or hair to see him. So friends if you are reading this, if I say I can't come or do something and you see me driving to my boyfriends or he's at my house please do not think I'm sacking you off for him. This is probably one of the main issues I worry about because I would hate the thought of people thinking that of me when it's purely because I don't feel well and I don't need to make any effort with him and that's why I love him.

Another issue is if I can do something one day it doesn't mean I can do it another day. For example, if I go out one night in the week with one group of friends that will tire me out for days. So please don't get annoyed with me if I say I can't go out or do something with other friends a few days later. Its not favouritism, it's because I genuinely can't. 

I really hope if any of my friends read this they think Sarah you idiot, what are you even talking about? Nobody thinks that you Paranoid Idiot! Or I hope it helps change their perspectives on things in the past that have happened or think oh I knew that was why anyway! I have the best friends ever and I do try my hardest to keep every single one of them happy as much as I can! But I am a big paranoid mess!

Lately I have been struggling to say the word 'No!'. This is where me trying to keep everyone happy comes into play again. The last couple of weeks I have been none stop busy trying to please everyone. Work has been very hard and busy lately, I have made in total over the last two week 500 bows and still going, I made and decorated a baby shower cake plus 48 cupcakes, I now have college which means making time to practice and to do my assignments as well as trying to fit time in to see friends so they don't think I've forgotten about them or not making an effort. This means I have had NO time what so ever to rest or have any me time (which I love!!). Just chilling and being on my own really lets me relax and rest as I don't have to make the effort to even talk to anyone. So I've been trying to fit this in before bed at night which means I haven't been going to bed until at least 12pm every night which results in me being even more tired. 

It's just one big circle! 
And if you didn't know Stress and lack of sleep makes Fibromyalgia symptoms so much worse and then we start the circle again!! :'(

If you have read this big fat rant and feel like you've wasted five minutes of your life, I apologise but I needed to do this to take away some of my stress! I also hope other Fibromyalgia sufferers can relate to this because it is something that is always at the back of my mind.

P.S. This post wasn't to have a go at anyone it was to say why I'm such a rubbish friend sometimes because I always think who'd want to be friend's with someone ill like me.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

New Year... New Outlook

I have been awful at blogging, I just get that caught up in things I don't get chance to come and write how I'm feeling. 
From the title this post is going to be on my outlook on what 2012 is going to be like for me with Fibromyalgia and for the first time a rather positive post!

Christmas is always a tough time for me as the Christmas presents shopping is just a nightmare for me as I can't walk round the shops for hours to try and find the perfect presents. This year online shopping was my life saver, I did it all online and in advance which relieved a lot of the stress of Christmas.
However, the Christmas nights out and just the general doing more with friends and family was very hard for me. I have been struggling a lot the past few weeks with having no energy to do anything. Luckily I was able to have some time off work due to the bank holidays to be able to recover, but it will always put a downer on the festive period for me as I have to constantly battle with my Fibromyalgia to enjoy the things everyone else can do without the worry of it tiring them out too much or how much pain it will cause the next day.

Over the festive period I also had other problems such as suffering from a bad case of flu and had a very bad bladder infection that lasted a few weeks. But these are common in FM sufferers so I am used to having the urge to pee! (just trying to be completely honest!).

I have also been suffering very bad mood swings, which literally would flip at any point. I noticed they were also a lot more severe than usual. When packing for new years eve away I was hitting the door and shouting at my mum just because she asked me if I was fake tanning before I leave or when I get there? Crazy I know!

How my 2012 has started...

I celebrated entering the new year in Leeds with the other half, my brother and some very good friends which was nice to get away from home. But yet again all that was in the back of my mind was 'OUCH!'. I drove up which was a two hour drive so that straight away left me very achy and tired which for me is never a good start, but taking pain killers before going out is the norm for me. The walking, queuing, dancing and just partying was definitely all too much for me the next day as I was ridiculously tired and in agony but me being me, I hid it. I didn't complain or moan I just got on with it even though every step I took my legs would throb and feel like they were going to give up on me, I had to fight to keep my eyes open as I had no energy left in me. Everyone was complaining of hangovers but a Subway soon cured that for them where as I knew I'd be feeling these effects for days.

Over the past couple of months I have had a lot of reality checks when it comes to my future. I have always believed that I would train to be an accountant and that is the career I would do. Due to my Fibromyalgia I was unable to work full time as I was in too much pain and physically didn't have the energy. Also working in a stressful office dealing with customers has shown me this is not the environment I want to work in as stress increases the severity of my pain. 
After long hard chats with my parents we decided a change of career choice would be best for me which is a very scary prospect as I have been so sure I'd be an accountant. Something that doesn't involve too much of a physical aspect and can be done part time without the stress of working in an office. I have always had a passion for nails and experimenting with nail polish's and nail art. I do get a lot of comments on my nails, where did you get them done? what nail polish is that? etc. So I have enrolled on a nail technicians course and this is the career I am now going to have a go at. I feel at the moment nothing is certain for me as I don't know what's around the corner when living with such a unreliable chronic illness.

So please if anyone is a nail technician with Fibromyalgia or a similar condition any tips or advice would be very much appreciated!!

My new years resolution is to try to think more positive. With a chronic pain disorder its hard to think positive as everything takes much more effort than it would for a healthy person, so it is easy to slip back and think negative and expect bad things but for 2012 I am going to try to stop that.
I am thinking I have a new start with a new career ahead and hopefully this will reflect on my mood and my outlook on things which will help prevent my symptoms getting worse.

So best start now...
BRING ON 2012!!