Loneliness is the Most Terrible Poverty

lonelyI’m lonely.

I can’t even describe my loneliness

Mommy is stuck in bed: she can’t move (and Mommy, don’t feel guilty – you are entitled to rest and get better)…Thais is now in India (and Thais, no feeling bad – you keep having fun and sending back photos...the boy that I may have been interested in(and who I had hoped may help me escape this total solitude) is out-of-bounds…and I can’t confide in my cousin/friend (who ‘called’ the boy out of bounds) because I am still angry that she has imprisoned me in my isolation (whether the boy and I worked out or not)…

The last few days I have stayed in the same pyjamas, not leaving the house – swimming in my seclusion. Is there a record for how long some-one can stay in one pair of pyjamas non-stop?

I’m looking forward to the hospital because I’m hoping the higher dose of ketamine will let me sleep for the whole week – that’s a week less loneliness! (And I’ve organised extra posts for this blog, just in case I am unable to string two words together.)

I’m realising that I have nothing to do – no work, no friends, no life – and I’m hitting the ‘now what?’ time. I can’t be bothered with anything – it’s just sad. Despondency is the only word I can think of.

loneliness_working_from_homeI tried to distract myself by starting a new website – it’ll be called fibromodem.com – and putting everything in the one place. All I got was brain frazzled (and couldn’t do anything for 2 days – good thing that I save some extra research posts for such occasions)! The website will be up soon…it just seems that I need a little more time than I originally thought. I HATE that I can’t have what I want immediately (especially when I’m using it to hide from myself!)

I have no idea how to fix this problem. I have no idea how to meet any new people. I have no idea why all my old friends are gone.

I know that all of you (whether you’re married, attached or single) understand this without me having to find the right words, and I realise that many of you look to me for some answers; but this time, I have no solutions.

Riding the Wave – Part 2

…and continuing from yesterday’s post…

5. Create a new self.

If we hang on tightly to the “old self” we were, finding the value of our “new self” becomes increasingly difficult. (You may even exaggerate how fit that person was: “I didn’t need any sleep, I never felt bad, I could do anything!”).

This does not mean we should totally discard our previous conception of self; rather, we need to find a way to integrate the two. In other words, you should seek to find in your new body new ways to enjoy and experience the things that you had done before. Consider all the aspects of yourself that you like, and the things that you most want to do; then step by step, find ways to achieve as many of these as you can. At the same time, recognize that your expectations must shift so that you can once again meet them.

6. Don’t forget the good stuff.

While the physical symptoms of FM can feel all-encompassing, there should be other parts of your life – your social relationships, passions, family – that also exist. By focusing on the positive aspects of your life, you become more aware of how many there are: the friends that stuck by you, the things you still enjoy, and the accomplishments you have been able to make, however small, under very different conditions. Because each task now represents a challenge, we should celebrate whatever we manage to accomplish. As we have been told many times, if we shorten the list and pace ourselves, whatever we do eventually adds up to something to be very proud of.

fran.yetta7. “Oy, it could be worse.” (The Jewish mantra).

As comparisons shape our view, it is helpful to find comparisons that will provide a fuller appreciation for what has befallen us. OK, the ‘eat because children are starving in (fill in the developing country)’ did not work for you as a child. But try to think of it this way: Many bad things happen in the world. The odds are that some of them will happen to you. Not because of anything that you have done, but because, as the saying goes, shit happens. It takes only a short view of the evening news to remind ourselves of the horrors occurring every day. So, this is what has happened to you – you, too, were caught. Let us examine what we have:

  • We know our condition is not terminal, so we need not begin contemplating our pending mortality.
  • As bad as we sometimes feel, our underlying condition is not going to get worse. We have already experienced the worst, and, to our credit, have gotten through it.
  • Although only a few people achieve permanent remission, many improve significantly. As we understand how our actions and emotions influence our general well-being, we can find ways to partake in more and more activities.

8. Keep the hope alive!

I canThere is so much room for hope. It has only been since the 1990s that our condition has acquired any legitimacy from the medical community (okay, mostly!). We are in a far better position than the generations before us who suffered without ever receiving validation. We know much more about the important roles of exercise, medication, stretching, pacing and meditation to bring relief and a sense of control. Furthermore, as medical research increases, it is only a matter of time before better therapies (and perhaps even a cure!) are introduced.

9. Lean on me!

A single most important predictor of how we do is the support network we create. We certainly appreciate what it means when someone helps us when we feel especially lousy. Make sure that, within your abilities, you continue to be a good friend to those you care about. We still have lots to give. During a good moment, write to a friend that you are thinking about her. Help your family and friends find ways to maintain their relationship with you. Invite them to your place to eliminate travelling (and do not worry what your place looks like! They came to see you, not your house-cleaning abilities).

Try to be open with family members, while at the same time supportive of their needs. Put yourself in their shoes as often as possible – it can be scary to have someone you love be sick! Also make sure to seek help outside of your immediate circle so as not to drain your closest friends and family. There are now all sorts of support groups, both live and in virtual computer space (hey! Right here!)

10. Indulge whenever you can.

old-lady-wheel-chair-ballerinaWe have lots of time to focus on our thoughts. Most people do not have the luxury of taking time to relax and think. OK, we did not ask for these ‘time-outs.’ They are demanded by the needs of our bodies. Nevertheless, we have control over how we use this extra time.

Instead of dwelling on what our bodies are not doing, give your fantasy life full freedom. Turn these rest periods around to be indulgent time. In our mental playground, we can practice dance steps we used to know (for there WILL be some times we can dance!). We can use the time to think through problems we face and how we want to spend time when we are feeling ready, or we can analyse a movie we recently saw, say prayers, or mentally write a letter to a friend.

Meanwhile improvements in spirit have an added impact on our entire well-being. Laughter is good medicine; while dwelling on our troubles tends to compound them.

Riding the Wave – Part 1

thinkHave a positive attitude!

How many times have we heard that one?

While our emotions cannot cause FM, they no doubt affect our symptoms. But how can we maintain good thoughts when we feel so lousy? This challenge, of course, does not exclusively affect FM patients, but to any time when things do not go as we wish. But in our case, seeing the positive presents a continuous struggle.

Yet our moods are not necessarily in tune with our physical state. You can probably recall times that despite much pain or fatigue, you were able to cope and even achieve high spirits. Perhaps the weather was perfect, good friends visited, you just accomplished something or helped somebody, making you feel good about yourself. Other times, depression seems to take hold even when our physical discomfort is at a manageable level. Why is this? Answering this question is the key to finding optimism.

FM can feel like a swim in the ocean – sometimes it is dark, grey and turbulent, and it seems you have fallen and the waves continue to crash over you, as you struggle to rise, only to be knocked down yet again. But that same ocean sometimes allows us to find a wave we can ride smoothly to the shore.

What can we do when we feel under the waves? How can we find the strength to climb back on top, and the patience to know that we will?

There are 10 cognitive exercises you can use to maintain a positive attitude. So I don’t overload you, today I will only present 4 and the remaining exercises will continue in tomorrow’s post.

1. Expect bumps!

Aluminum-Speed-Bumps-Ahead-Sign-K-2059It is important to acknowledge that we will sometimes feel down. Who wouldn’t in our condition? But by expecting rather than dreading down time, such periods become more tolerable. In addition, recognizing that we will have blue periods helps keep them in perspective. You will be able to say to yourself, “I was depressed before, and got out of it; this time, too, it will pass.” It is easy to forget that before our illness, there were times we felt down. Now these periods are wrapped up in our medical problems; but everyone gets depressed some of the time. After accepting that you will sometimes feel sad, and even experience self-pity, you can concentrate on ways to shorten these periods and make them fewer and farther between.

2. Track the changes.

Keeping track of moods helps put ups and downs into perspective. During your best times, make a conscious attempt to capture the feeling. Leave notes on your wall attesting to the way you feel. Living with FM easily creates a Jekyll-and-Hyde persona, where your optimistic self and your flare-up self may as well be two different people. When we feel bad, it becomes quite difficult to imagine that things can be otherwise.

Similarly, during times of improvement, it’s amazing how quickly we may forget how bad a previous period was, making subsequent flare-ups not only intolerable but shocking. Counting and measuring the duration of the bad times – as well as the good ones – can put them into perspective. It may be that over time, our worst occurs about once a month, although it feels much more frequent. This knowledge is empowering, because we can remind ourselves that a bad flare is, for example, our monthly temporary setback, and find ways to ride it out until our baseline returns.

3. Stock-pile fun distractions.

What things make you happy? We all need to keep lists of the things that make us happy. One of the cruelties of our condition is that when we need distractions most, we are least equipped to seek them out. For this reason it is important to compile a list of your favourite activities when you are feeling optimistic to be used when you most need them.

People with FM often describe how even their worst pain can be put on a back burner, so to speak, when they become engrossed in an activity. This is not only a psychological but a physiological response: your brains can only process so much input at once. When you are engrossed in a beautiful movie, talking to a good friend on the phone, or listening to your favourite music while lying on a heating pad or in the bathtub, you can trick your pain receptors into leaving you alone!

4. Shape your perspective.

glassIs the glass half empty or half full?

Perspective determines, quite literally, how you view the world.

In Western culture, much emphasis is placed on independence, individualism, and achievement. Through this lens, developing a condition that makes us feel dependent and less productive is likely to be a huge disappointment. You are forced to adapt to a sudden, new condition by adopting a perspective that accommodates change. Your perspective is shaped by the comparisons you make and the expectations you create.

Consider, for example, the immigrant who had been practicing medicine in his home country, but flees to the US to escape a repressive political regime. Here he works as a janitor; after years of medical study, he has lost a prestigious and rewarding occupation. Yet he is thankful for the opportunity to work and wakes each day driven by hope, perhaps, of a better future for his children. Yet his difficulties are also quite apparent. What keeps his spirits up and makes him thankful rather than bitter? His perspective.

…to be continued tomorrow…


A No-Win Situation

blackdogMany of us suffer from depression, as well as FM. But did you suffer from this horrible black dog before you developed FM, or after?

You’ve heard people complain that they’re depressed after a breakup, a layoff, or an overall terrible week. But are these people really experiencing depression? Are you really depressed?

When a stressful situation is particularly hard to cope with, we react with symptoms of sadness, fear, or even hopelessness — a type of reaction that’s often referred to as situational depression. Unlike major depression, when you are overwhelmed by depression symptoms for a long time, situational depression usually goes away once you have adapted to your new situation.

The problem for a lot of us is that FM is not going away – we can only manage it, so we need to adapt to our new situations as soon as we can.

depression_200_133In fact, situational depression is usually considered an adjustment disorder rather than true depression. But that doesn’t mean it should be ignored: If situational depression goes untreated, it could develop into major depression.

“Situational depression means that the symptoms are set off by some set of circumstances or event. It could lead to major depression or simply be a period of grief,” explains Kathleen Franco, MD, professor of medicine and psychiatry at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine in Ohio. However, she adds that situational depression may need treatment “if emotional and behavioural symptoms reduce normal functioning in social or occupational arenas.”

Who Gets Situational Depression and Why?

Situational depression is common and can happen to anyone — about 10 per cent of adults and up to 30 per cent of adolescents experience this condition at some point. Men and women are affected equally.

The most common cause of situational depression is stress. Some typical events that lead to it include:

  • Loss of a relationship
  • Loss of a job
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Serious illness (hello? anyone recognising themselves here?)
  • Experiencing a traumatic event such as a disaster, crime, or accident

What Are the Symptoms of Situational Depression?

The most common symptoms of situational depression are depressed mood, tearfulness, and feelings of hopelessness. Some other symptoms include:

  • Treatments-For-Depression-90Feeling nervous
  • Having body symptoms such as headache, stomach ache, or heart palpitations
  • Missing work, school, or social activities
  • Changes in sleeping or eating habits
  • Feeling tired
  • Abusing alcohol or drugs

How Is Situational Depression Diagnosed and Treated?

A diagnosis of situational depression, or adjustment disorder with depressed mood, is made when symptoms of depression occur within three months of a stress-causing event; are more severe than expected; or interfere with normal functioning. Your doctor may do tests to rule out other physical illnesses, and you may need a psychological evaluation to make sure you are not suffering from a more serious condition such as post-traumatic stress disorder or a more serious type of depression.

The best treatment for situational depression is counselling with a mental health professional. The goal of treatment is to help you cope with your stress and get back to normal. Support groups are often helpful. In some cases, you may need medication to help control anxiety or for trouble sleeping.

Situational depression and other types of depression are a common problem today, notes James C. Overholser, PhD, professor of psychology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. “Many people are struggling with social isolation, financial limitations, or chronic health problems,” says Dr Overholser. “A psychologist is much more likely to view depression as a reaction to negative life events. Many people can overcome their depression by making changes in their attitudes, their daily behaviours, and their interpersonal functioning.”

If you have (or think you have) situational depression, you should know that most people get completely better within about six months after the stressful event. However, it is important to get help, because situational depression can lead to a more severe type of depression or substance abuse if untreated. For many people with situational depression, the coping skills they learn in treatment can become valuable tools to help them face the future.



Absolute Silence Leads to Sadness

1980s-makeup-madonna-i3A long time ago, when I was about 18, I had a huge crush on a bartender at my regular night club. At the time, of course, I thought that I was desperately in love. I was crushed when he approached me to tell me he liked my best friend and asked me if she might be interested in him. As teenagers do (or did back then), both my friend and I went to the toilets to talk. Feeling very noble and selfless (and rational), I told my friend that if he liked her and she liked him, it didn’t matter that I ‘loved’ him.

I’m really quite sad (and angry under that) at the moment: basically, the same situation happened to me 25 years later -tonight…except I was playing the friend role. BUT the person playing me was not so self-sacrificing.

cartoonSo, tonight, a date that I was longing for after 10 days of FB messaging, texting and Skyping, is no longer; and I am sitting here, instead, writing my next post…so, I am (I think, deservedly) sad (and angry under that).

In the face of my emotional state, I wonder if this whole thing will cause a flare because women with FM are more emotionally sensitive than women who don’t have the condition – right? WRONG!

Researchers who set out to understand the role emotions play in FM pain may have ended up dispelling this myth. Scientists at Utrecht University in the Netherlands asked 121 women (About half the women had fibromyalgia; the other half did not) to think about a personal experience that made them angry or sad. The researchers then exposed the women to painful electric shocks.

All women in the study (about with FM and half without) felt more pain after becoming angry or sad. And the more emotion they felt, the more pain they reported.

The study, which is published in the October issue of Arthritis Care & Research, may help to dispel the notion that people who have FM are more emotionally sensitive than those without our mysterious illness – There was no difference seen between women who had FM and those who did not.

“We did not find that women with fibromyalgia were more sensitive to emotions than women without fibromyalgia,” says lead author Henriët van Middendorp, PhD, senior researcher in the Psycho-rheumatology Research Group at the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology of Utrecht University in The Netherlands. “However, because women with fibromyalgia already have heightened pain levels, the increase in pain due to negative emotions is troublesome, because the starting level of pain is already high.”

cowardly-sadness-aka-angerResearchers involved in the study say their findings suggest that techniques that reduce anger and sadness, including cognitive behavioural therapy and meditation, may play an important role in pain management.

“Many studies have shown that negative emotions and pain are associated, which likely reflects that pain causes negative feelings. However our study strongly suggests that negative emotions may also cause an increase of the pain,” van Middendorp says.

“Since drugs only work partially in fibromyalgia, everyone is looking for lifestyle and other things to do. So emotional regulation techniques might be helpful,” Robert S. Katz, MD, a rheumatologist and fibromyalgia expert at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, says.

By the way, it’s my birthday now (it’s after midnight)…so I’m sad (and angry under that).


Chronic Comic 260

And (drum roll please!)…Introducing FibroMale:

260. Depression

I apologise for introducing him on such a downer but I’m a little depressed at the moment.

Spiritual Stability?

spiritualityPeople who are spiritual are more likely than atheists or the religious to be mentally unwell, according to a new study by University College in London.

They are also more likely to have used or abused drugs, to experience anxiety, neurosis or phobias and have ‘abnormal eating attitudes.’

Nearly 7,500 randomly selected men and women (average age of 46) were interviewed. They were asked about their spiritual or religious beliefs and their psychological state.

Of the participants, 35 per cent had a religious understanding of life, 19 per cent were spiritual but not religious and 46 per cent were neither religious nor spiritual.

Religious people and atheists were on par in regards to prevalence of mental disorders, but the religious were less likely to have ever used drugs or be a heavy drinker.

1300434290_164926594_1-Pictures-of--Spiritual-WorkshopsHowever, the spiritual people  were 50 per cent more likely to have an anxiety disorder, 72 per cent more likely to suffer from a phobia and 77 per cent more likely to have a drug dependency.

But, it is not all bad news for believers: other studies that have found performing religious or spiritual practices provides physical and psychological benefits and helps people to integrate intellectually and emotionally.

“Transcendent spiritual and religious experiences have a positive, healing, restorative effect, especially if they are ‘built in,’ so to speak, to one’s daily, weekly, seasonal, and annual cycles of living,” said Ellen Idler, acting  dean  of  Social  and  Behavioural  Sciences  at  Rutgers  University, in a paper titled The Psychological and Physical Benefits of Spiritual/Religious Practices.

20786675As for the latest study, published in British Journal of Psychiatry, the researchers concluded that: “People who have a spiritual understanding of life in the absence of a religious framework are vulnerable to mental disorder.

“The nature of this association needs greater examination in qualitative and in prospective quantitative research.”


We Cope, Not Hope (results)

Disease as an adverse interruption of life is the prevalent interpretation of chronic pain conditions. But there are different ways to cope with pain, and there are different ways to regulate emotions associated with chronic diseases. Because most patients with chronic conditions are unable to ‘solve’ our persisting pain by ourselves (in terms of recovery or repair) and to find distance to negative emotions associated with pain, we have to find strategies to adapt to a long-lasting course of illness.

We have to find ways to maintain physical, emotional and spiritual health in spite of often long-lasting courses. Thus, our coping with chronic pain is an ongoing process which includes appraisals of stress, cognitive, behavioural, and emotional coping responses, and subsequent reappraisals of stress.

One of the most frequently used concept on adaptation strategies for patients with chronic pain diseases differentiates active and passive coping:

  • Active coping (i.e., problem solving, including collecting information and refocusing on the problem, or regulation of emotion by focusing attention on the emotional response aroused by the stressor) is associated with less pain, less depression, less functional impairment, and higher general self-efficacy;
  • Passive coping (i.e., avoidance and escape) is correlated with reports of greater depression, greater pain and flare-up activity, greater functional impairment, and lower general self-efficacy.

Although the importance of decreasing maladaptive and encouraging adaptive coping responses is emphasized by innovative treatment programs for chronic pain (if you can get in!), one nevertheless has to ask which adaptive coping strategies were of relevance for the patients.

I asked the same question of you: Which of the following coping strategies best describes the way you cope with your chronic pain?

The answers (so you don’t have to return to the poll) were:

  • Trust in Divine Help in response to disease addresses non-organized intrinsic religiosity as an external transcendent resource to cope (i.e., trust in a higher power which carries through; strong belief that God will help; faith is a strong hold, even in hard times; pray to become healthy again; live in accordance with religious convictions).
  • Trust in Medical Help addresses patients’ reliance on an external medical source of health control (i.e., trust in the therapeutic potentials of modern medicine, take prescribed medication, follow advice of medical practitioners, full confidence in doctors and therapists).
  • Search for Information and Alternative Help refers to external sources providing additional information or alternative help (i.e., thoroughly informed about disease; get thorough information how to become healthy again; find people who can help; search for alternative ways of healing).
  • Conscious Way of Living addresses cognitive and behavioural strategies in terms of internal powers and virtues (i.e., healthy diet; physical fitness; living consciously; keep away harmful influences; change life to get well).
  • Positive Attitudes refers to internal cognitive and behavioural strategies (i.e., realization of shelved dreams and wishes; resolving cumbering situations of the past; take life in own hands; doing all that what pleases; positive thinking; avoiding thinking at illness).
  • Reappraisal: Illness as Chance addresses a reappraisal attitude referring to cognitive processes of life reflection (i.e., reflect on what is essential in life; illness has meaning; illness as a chance for development; appreciation of life because of illness).
  • Escape from illness (i.e., fear what illness will bring; would like to run away from illness; when I wake up, I don’t know how to face the day)

The study, which started all of this, had 579 participants – we had 239 (not too bad). The study also asked demographic type questions but I decided not to make it too long a poll so we could have more answers.

From highest reliance to lowest here are the results from both the study and our poll:


We (as a group) seem to be much more aggressive, active participants in the search for sufficient condition management.


Most study patients tended to externalize the process of disease management, i.e., the chronic pain disease was regarded as an adverse interruption of life, and patients called experts for help (i.e., medical doctors or therapists), and followed their advice or relied on the effects of prescribed remedies, which alone is a rather passive strategy. However, if you add (internal) cognitive-behavioural changes (i.e., patients may change distinct aspects of their life, try to become more consciously, healthy, physically fit, use distinct diets etc) or try to think positive (resolve cumbering situations of past, realize shelved dreams and wishes etc.) – both are active strategies.

In face of an insufficient manageability of chronic pain, some patients may call upon ‘more powerful’ external others (i.e., Trust in Divine Help), because the conventional resources of help seem to be (subjectively) exhausted.

In general, both groups relied on external powerful sources to control their disease (i.e., Trust in Medical Help; Search for Information and Alternative Help), but also on internal powers and virtues (i.e., Conscious Way of Living; Positive Attitudes).

In contrast, Trust in Divine Help as an external transcendent source and Reappraisal: Illness as Chance as an internal (cognitive) strategy were valued moderately.

Escape from Illness (which is not regarded as an adaptive coping strategy) was highly associated with depressive disorders.

The researchers came to the conclusion that to restore a sense of self-control over pain as well as the conviction that you are not necessarily disabled by disease and that pain is not necessarily a sign of damage is a major task in patient care. Changing negative/maladaptive illness interpretations and depressive or avoidance coping by means of an intervention and encouraging social support by means of patient support groups may at least improve quality of life.

Apart from effective pain management, a comprehensive approach is needed which enhances the psycho-spiritual well-being, i.e. self-awareness, coping and adjusting effectively with stress, relationships, sense of faith, sense of empowerment and confidence, and living with meaning and hope.

Further studies are required (of course!), particularly longitudinal studies to measure changes in the weighting of adaptive coping strategies and interpretations of disease with respect to pain intensity, and comprehensive intervention programs.


F.Y.I. – The utilization of the different adaptive coping strategies did not significantly differ with respect to gender, while the educational level had a small impact on Trust in Medical Help, which was the highest in patients with a lower educational level. Age had a significant impact on Trust in Divine Help, Trust in Medical Help and Conscious Way of Living. The duration of the condition had no significant impact on the adaptive coping strategies.

An obvious result showed that patients from the outpatient clinic had significantly higher scores for Trust in Medical Help and Escape from Illness than patients from the rehabilitation clinic or patients attending the mind-body program, and were also in Search for Information and Alternative Help. This may indicate higher need for external help.


Surprise Posting

My head is not working right at the moment. I was totally prepared for this and had a number of pre-prepared posts (…and here’s one I prepared earlier) ready to publish. I even had one for today BUT this wasn’t it.

One of the doctors in the hospital (who didn’t know me from a bar of soap) said that my blog was a sign of maladaptive behaviour. Firstly, I am not exactly sure what this is but it sounds bad. Next, he wants me to change my anti-depressant by going to a new psychiatrist. He also wants me to see a new psychologist (despite the fact that I have been happy with the one I have had for 5 years now; and that I thought I was doing pretty well and hadn’t been to see her in quite a while (ok, I have no idea how long it has been!)) I won’t be seeing a new psychologist, although I think I will drop in to see my ‘old’ one to check on this maladaptive behaviour.

So back to that…this had me thinking and I started to go back and read some of my old posts. I came across ‘Waking Up with Debbie Downer’ (written in May of this year) which I am re-blogging because it sort of sums up my mood right now:

Guess what? I woke up this morning – that’s all I can say without getting negative; and even that can be taken in a negative light. I was going to write wonderful, positive things about home treatment but my mean-spirited voice kept adding in asides.

As such, on the left is the post I was intending to write (when I went to sleep last night) and on the right is the Debbie Downer digressions. Do NOT read the right-hand side if you’re feeling horrible!

Although fibromyalgia is a

chronic condition, there is

much you can do to relieve

and control your symptoms.                    Yeah, right!

Taking control and becoming

involved in your own

treatment is the most

important part of treating

fibromyalgia. There are many

things you can do:
Exercise regularly. Of all                    Regularly? Does that

the treatments for                                  mean when I’m 

fibromyalgia, cardio-                              regularly feeling well?

vascular (aerobic)                                   Or when I’m feeling

exercise may have the                            like I regularly do?

most benefit in reducing                        (which means I really

pain and other symptoms                      don’t feel like 

and in improving your                            exercising!)

overall condition. Work                          And who is going to

with a physical therapist                        provide the money for 

or other professional                              this professional help?

who has expertise with

fibromyalgia to build an

exercise program that

works for you.

And then stay with it.

Improve sleep. Sleep                          Oh, really? Because I

disturbances seem to                              haven’t been trying to

both cause and result                             do that already?

from some of the other                           Because I really enjoy

symptoms of FM,                                     waking up feeling this

such as pain. Learn good                        bad? Because I love

sleep habits. And try to                           feeling this tired all

get enough sleep each                            the time?


 Relieve pain. Heat therapy,                   Anyone got a

massage, gentle exercise,                       battery operated heat

and short-term use of non-                    suit?

prescription pain relievers                      My chemist already

may be helpful.                                       believes that I am

                                                                   running some kind of

                                                                   lab from the basement

                                                                  of my house!

Reduce stress.                                       Have you been in my 


Learn about fibromyalgia.                    Control is merely a 

The more you know, the                           figment of the

more control you will                                imagination!

have over your symptoms.                        Even at my most

People who feel more in                           positive, I know that I

control also tend to be                              am just running

more active and report                             (figuratively) from FM.

less pain and other


Learn ways to manage                         If I could do that, I

your memory problems.                            wouldn’t have memory

Feeling as though you                               problems!

are not thinking clearly

increases stress and can

make memory problems

worse. Simple things like                            But where did I put

writing yourself notes                                 that note? And what

can help you feel more                               did I mean when I

in control.                                                    wrote SHARE?

Adopt a good-health                               Even I’m speechless

attitude, along with these                          for this one (and I

other healthy habits. It’s                            wrote the stupid

hard to stay positive when                        sentence)!

you don’t feel well. But a

good attitude helps you

focus less on your

challenges and feel more


The best results occur when                       No-one can say that I

you take an active, committed                   haven’t been taking

role in your own treatment.                        an active, committed

You may need to adjust your                      role in my own

lifestyle to fit home treatment,                  treatment – and this is

especially regular exercise,                       the BEST I can come up

into your daily routine. It may                    with? I’m going back

take time to find an approach                    to bed!

that works for you. Try to be

patient. And keep in mind that

consistent home treatment

usually can help relieve or

control symptoms of


All expletives (and there were many) have been erased!

Hmmm, which way are you leaning today?


***Maybe I should make that appointment with my psychologist on Monday!


The Sleeping (Mass) Debate

I was sent an article about older women (although I have no idea by what is meant by older: is it older than 18? 30? 40? 50?). I had a read, then did some further research.

So now, I have found a treatment, as old as time, which may help those of us with sleep problems: masturbation!

Sexual climax (of any kind) leaves one in a relaxed and contented state. This is often followed closely by drowsiness and sleep – particularly when one masturbates in bed. Ta-Da! Problem solved!

***If you do not approve of masturbation, please do NOT continue reading***

Matched with male masturbation, female masturbation is considerably less common: 90 per cent of the total male population compared to 65% of the total female population masturbate from time to time. There are many benefits linked to masturbation, in general.

General Benefits

Masturbation has been shown to relieve depression and lead to a higher sense of self-esteem.

Masturbation may even be considered a cardiovascular workout. Though research remains scant, those suffering from cardiovascular disorders should resume physical activity (including sexual intercourse and masturbation) gradually and with the frequency and rigor which their physical status will allow. This limitation may also serve as encouragement to follow through with physical therapy sessions to help improve endurance.

Benefits for Men

In 2003, an Australian research team led by Graham Giles of The Cancer Council Australia found that males masturbating frequently had a lower probability of developing prostate cancer. Men who averaged five or more ejaculations weekly in their 20s had significantly lower risk! However they could not show a direct causation. The study also indicated that increased ejaculation through masturbation rather than intercourse would be more helpful as intercourse is associated with diseases (STDs) that may increase the risk of cancer instead.

However, this benefit may be age related. A 2008 study concluded that frequent ejaculation between the ages of 20 and 40 may be correlated with higher risk of developing prostate cancer. On the other hand, frequent ejaculation in one’s 50s was found to be correlated with a lower such risk in this same study.

A 2008 study at Tabriz Medical University found ejaculation reduces swollen nasal blood vessels, freeing the airway for normal breathing. The mechanism is through stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system and is long-lasting. The study author suggests a male can masturbate to alleviate the congestion and can adjust the number of ejaculations depending on the severity of the symptoms.

Benefits for Women

As you age, your body undergoes normal physical changes that may affect your sex life. The good news is that all these changes aren’t bad: ageing can have positive effects on sexuality. Some women, for instance, report feeling the freedom to enjoy sex more as they get older and don’t have birth control issues to contend with. Other women, however, experience emotional or physical changes that can make sex less enjoyable.

Practicing masturbation techniques can help remedy some of the problems experienced by women as they grow older. As a woman ages, her vagina becomes shorter and more narrow. In addition, without regular supplies of estrogen, the walls of the vagina can become thin and stiff. For this reason, it is common to experience vaginal dryness, or a lack of natural vaginal lubrication (wetness), as you get older. Masturbation stimulates the brain to produce physical changes in the vagina and activates various neural pathways responsible for clitoral swelling, vaginal congestion, lengthening of the vagina, and lubrication.

Bottom line? Having a healthy sex life, including masturbation well into your golden years, may solve those sleeping problems!