Living my best life with fibromyalgia.

Cough, I know you’re thinking Jesus, Steph has finally decided to get out of her funk and help herself.

Not really, I don’t know, maybe I’ve just been lucky. Since I left my job my health has improved tenfold. I believe this to be because I have more time to rest when I need to, but it could be due to a lot of factors, or it could just be good old coincidence.

Mentally, I am stronger than I have been for some time. I’m off of antidepressants for the first time in years, and I’m not feeling constant impending doom. This is a really big deal for me, and I’m feeling positive about the next chapter.

But it’s not all cupcakes and rainbows (yes that was a Trolls quote) Pain has got a lot to do with mood, low mood can exacerbate pain. Especially when suffering with a condition that effects your central nervous system, as that’s when it’s on high alert. Psychological pain can bring on physiological symptoms. I’m not a doctor, but I have spent a lot of time researching my condition. I’m not going to sit here and spout that positivity cures illnesses as that’s untrue and offensive, but when you feel happy it makes pain more manageable. That much I do know.

Today I woke up earlier than usual due to Ciara’s new found love for 6am. I felt terrible, my body was heavy and I can feel pain deep inside each joint. This is not imaginary, this is real pain, and I’ve had to take some heavy duty painkillers to combat it today. Despite being in very real pain today, I feel good. Good, because I’ve had a decent run of late, without this kind of debilitating pain. I’ve had pain, but the kind of pain I’m in today, is what reminds me I have a disability. In short, it sucks.

However moving on to the positive bits again. I’ve been doing little things that make me feel better. Small things like, having a tidy living space, getting enough sleep (when I can and Shaun’s snoring allows) but generally doing things that make me feel good. Avoiding toxic people, not analysing every little thing, not comparing myself to everyone, and trying to accept my pain without beating myself up. All these little things help. They aren’t a cure but they do make a difference. I went through such a battle with myself to accept this illness without it breaking me. To allow myself time since my formal diagnosis to grieve for the old me. I’ve spent two years grieving, and I still suffer! I won’t play it down, but I’m in a place now where I can accept it without it breaking me. I can move forward and still live a good life. I can have bad days but they aren’t all bad. Some of them are fucking brilliant!! You too can have good days again. It’s not going to be easy, but even without an illness or disability life isn’t easy.

But I have all my faith in you. You can do this, you can live your best life too. đź’•

10 things people without children should never say to Mothers.

10 things people without kids say to Mum’s that they need to STOP!

1: When I have children I’ll _______ The likelihood is that whatever _______ is, you wont.

2: I’d never co sleep.

When you’ve been up for 15 hours straight with a colicky baby, you’ll do almost anything to make them sleep so you can close your eyes too.

3: I know having kids is hard but everyone does it.

You haven’t done it yet Julie, so why not pipe down.

4: I would never let my kid do that! If we’re talking about eating a happy meal or an ice cream before dinner or even staying up past their bedtime, sometimes Diane, you will.

5: If my kid doesn’t eat their dinner they won’t get offered anything else.

I didn’t believe in giving your kids coco pops for tea or letting them eat off of the floor either, but when they’ve turned their nose up at 5 different meals and found a wotsit behind the sofa that they actually WANT to eat, trust me Wendy, you’ll believe in the power of orange corn puffs.

6: I’m going to establish a routine from day one. NEWS FLASH babies are human beings, that means they have their own brain, and do pretty much what the hell they like. But good luck with setting those ground rules by day 3 Keisha.

7: My kid would never get away with that!!

Ok darling. Keep me posted when they draw all over the walls in pen, punch another child for no reason or eat a tampon, feel free to give your advice on a suitable punishment.

8: All kids are the same.

NO, No they’re not.

9: I wouldn’t do that if I was you. Great thanks for that Rebecca.

Please feel free NOT to give me advice on what you wouldn’t do.

10: You look tired. YES, Yes Stacey, I am so fucking tired, my tired is tired, thanks for pointing that out.

Motherhood is hard. Mums are tired, and hormonal, and sensitive and everything in between. Please be mindful of this when giving out unwanted and it most cases unnecessary, advice.

Try saying ‘How are you feeling?’ in place of you look tired.

Or ‘Can I do anything to help?’ In place of I wouldn’t do that if I were you.

Lastly, you could just keep quiet and provide an ear to listen.

Snoring is ruining my life

It’s 2am and the drilling has started. You wake with a start and want to wake your fiancé up to tell him he’s going to have to go next door and talk to them about the noise! And that’s when you realise, it’s not the neighbours drilling again at all, it’s coming from him, he’s snoring.

So you punch him in the shoulder, probably harder than intended but you know, snoring! He then wakes with a start of his own, moans and rolls over. For all of 30 seconds it’s quiet again. 30 seconds isn’t very long. Repeat above steps until you can cope no more, so you go downstairs and join the cat on the sofa instead.

What am I complaining about? For the love of God woman, everyone snores sometimes! Yes, that’s true, but this isn’t sometimes, darling, this is Every. Single. Night!

For us, snoring has come close a number of times, to destroying our relationship. I have a chronic illness and sleep is crucial for my body to repair nightly and reduce symptoms. I cant function on less than 8 hours. Minimum. Gone are the days I can stay out until 4am and get up at 9. No, I NEED sleep. I have a child, I can’t afford to be faced with the daily fatigue that follows around Fibromyalgia sufferers after a sleepless night.

So what can I do about it you ask? Well, I do a lot of punching, and a lot of sofa sleeping. We don’t have the luxury of a third bedroom in our house, so fortunately or unfortunately, we don’t have the option not to share a room. I know, that sounds an extremity, but I know a lot of couples that have their own bedrooms based on the fact that one of them incessantly snores. In my Fiancé’s defence, he’s been to see his GP about our little but loud problem. More than once, and do you know their advice? To go on a website and read the tips. Like we haven’t read every fucking tip there is to read about snoring, online already!! Sure, thanks Doc, why didn’t I think of that? He’s already tried, nasal strips, throat spray, throat foam, even a fucking chin strap to keep his mouth closed, didn’t work. The only thing that sometimes allows me sleep is if I go to bed an hour before him and get to sleep before him, so that when he starts, I’m already asleep. Sometimes it works and sometimes he STILL wakes me up. Not to mention the fact going to bed an hour before him makes our sex life impractical and irregular, but also you lose a closeness between you. You lose the cuddle that comes before you roll over to sleep. You lose the leg over that cocoons you during the night, and although annoying makes you feel safe.

It sounds like a real first world problem, and is I guess, but it’s one that really does test our relationship. I wake up some days so resentful that his snoring has kept me from the sleep my body so desperately demands that I don’t want to talk to him. Other days he wakes up resentful that I’ve banished him to the sofa for something that’s not his fault. Out of his control. To be honest I can still hear him from the sofa, but it’s a welcome dulled down version when he’s not sharing a bed with me. I don’t know what the answer is, maybe surgery? But sleep therapy isn’t well funded by the nhs and it’s another expense we can’t afford to invest in at the moment. What’s the cost to our relationship if we don’t though? I know it’s not his fault but it makes no odds to the despair I feel nightly. Buy a bigger house? Wear ear plugs? (Tried them, can’t hear toddler in the night then though) put a pillow over his face? Maybe! The irony is apparently that I also snore pretty loudly, but I don’t keep him awake so if we’re competing then he’s still in the lead for the loudest and most annoying!

It’s something I don’t think I’ll ever be able to live with, but I also don’t think I’ll ever be able to live without him. So here I am preparing for another shit nights sleep, and getting the pre bedtime cuddle in, just in case I have to abort the master bedroom before sleep hits, again!