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I don’t know if this is more of a review or a testimonial. Let me just say that I find Belleruth Naparstek’s healthjourneys guided meditation CDs an amazingly helpful coping tool.

I typically practice mindfulness meditation, which involves concentration and focusing on particular sensations in the body without an attempt to control or influence those sensations. This allows me to stay in the present moment, develop concentration, and change my relationship with my pain. I’ve written a lot about it in previous blog posts.

Guided meditation involves, well, following a guide’s mental imagery. This could include a mental journey to a sacred or safe space, visualizing something that you want to happen, a guide to letting go of anger, and much more. I can’t speak to it as much, because most of my experience with guided meditation has been at the end of a yoga class.

Each of the healthjourneys meditations focus on a particular issue, including relaxation, sleep, PTSD, and even fibromyalgia. I bought the mp3 of the fibromyalgia CD, and I’ve been listening to it at night. One of the things mentioned in the CD is that it works even if you’re sleeping, because your unconscious brain will absorb what is said. I’m not sure how much scientific research has gone into that claim, but I will say that I’ve slept better than I have in years.

My favorite imagery on the fibromyalgia meditation involves listening to your body like it’s an old friend, as it’s your oldest companion. Belleruth takes you through a body scan. There’s also a lot of focus on the breath, and on breathing out negativity and taking in healing. It’s a really nice CD, and listening to it has definitely helped me fall asleep.

Meditation CDs are somewhat idiosyncratic, as what one person finds soothing another person may find annoying. Belleruth’s voice is deep, almost husky. At first it kind of made me giggle, but now I’m glad that it’s slow and steady. It makes her voice easier to sleep to. You can listen to an audio sample of the fibromyalgia meditation on this page, underneath where the checkout information is.

Each CD also has a series of affirmations, which you can apparently listen to in the car as well. I like the affirmations, so I mostly just listen to them when I’m sleeping.

Ever tried a guided meditation CDs? Feel free to comment with some of your experiences.

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I think I’d forgotten fatigue was a main component of fibromyalgia. The pain can be so all-consuming at times. Do I take medication or try to manage it through other techniques like meditation? What time is my physical therapy appointment? Am I sitting with correct posture, or is this going to hurt later?

Lately, the fatigue has really been getting me down.

Sunday went something like this.

9:45 am: Oh great! I woke up before 10 am without the alarm. I must really be making progress with my sleep, I’m so excited.

11:00 am: Well, I’m kind of sleepy. The couch looks really nice for a nap right now. But I’m trying to cut out daytime sleep, so I’ll avoid it.

12:00 noon: Okay, maybe reading will distract me from wanting to sleep.

1:00 pm: Right-o, I have to get ready for an appointment. That should keep me occupied.

2:00-4:00 pm: Appointment happening. My eyes are a little blurry towards the end, and I’m having some trouble focusing. Is this fibro fog, fatigue, or something “normal”?

5:00 pm: Food sounds really good right now. I’ll do that.

6:00 pm: Back at the house. What to do?

6:05 pm: Oops, I sat with my neck turned to the left while I was listening to someone. Now my whole left side hurts. Ow ow ow.

6:30 pm: Shit, this really hurts. I guess I’ll take some medication.

6:45 pm: And the meds are making me drowsy. Well, I guess this is as good a reason as any to take a nap.

9:00 pm: Woke up from nap. Dammit, this is really going to throw my whole sleep cycle off.

9:30 pm: Better head towards getting sleepy – maybe read a book or something.

11:00 pm: Sucked into the internet vortex of webcomics, news articles, and random nonsense.

12:00 midnight: I should probably go to bed, but this is really interesting.

1:00 am: Is it 1:00 already? Well, I’ll head to bed in a minute.

2:000 am: Shit shit shit, I was really hoping to get my sleep cycle adjusted. I’ll brush my teeth and such.

2:30 am: In bed. Trying to fall asleep with my new relaxation CD. It seems to be helping, although mostly right now my breathing is nice and relaxed and my limbs feel heavyyyyyyyyyyyy…zzz.

And this is the saga of my day yesterday. It really feels like I’m stuck in this endless cycle of fighting with sleep. Will it be relaxing? How to coax myself to bed on time? How to wake up in the morning before it gets really late? And of course, the struggle to avoid daytime sleep.

I’ve read all of this stuff on sleep hygiene and the like, but it’s so much harder to do in practice.

Do you ever have one of those days where your body says, “Whoa whoa whoa, slow down! You’d better rest up or you’ll have to pay for it!”

I’m having one of those days. Yesterday I was very “productive,” in the sense that I made a lot of food and then cleaned up the kitchen. (Healthy and delicious food, I might add.) I think I would have been okay if I hadn’t made the spicy olive oil bread dip, or maybe if I hadn’t gone out afterwards to pick some friends up at the airport from their 10:30 pm flight.

Either way, my body is saying, “Rest.”

So I’m going to listen, otherwise it will get much more insistent. It’s like fibromyalgia is a voice for my mind, body, and spirit. Enough stress on any one of them, and fibromyalgia gets a wee bit louder.

“Pssst, hey, you might want to lift with your knees next time.” (back gives a twinge.)

“Okay, if you’re going to walk around a lot at least wear those inserts the doctor gave you.” (slight foot pain added to the chorus)

“Do we have to stand by the kitchen pot the entire time it’s steaming? Can’t we set a timer and go sit down?” (fatigue)

“Wait, you’re going to cook something else? Okay, but we better get to eat it once you’re done. We’re hungry.” (hunger, fatigue, and pain)

“Dishes? Okay, there are a lot of dishes. But you had better sit down and rest after the dishes, young lady, or you will be sorry.” (pain and more fatigue)

“You want to extend your curfew so you can go out tonight? Well, if you do that you have to rest tomorrow. I mean it. No going out to the museum like you wanted to.” (really, really tired, on the edge of a headache)

Every time, my body ratchets up the pain and fatigue just a notch – trying to get me to notice my limits. If I really, really don’t pay attention, it screams at me. (Or as a friend says, I have to “pay the piper.”) That’s when it takes the stern-parent-you-are-SO-grounded approach by incapacitating me for several days – or more. “You will rest, because I said so.”

Honestly, I think all people have these kind of limits. If you are “able-bodied” and you run on little sleep for a long time, your start getting cranky, have trouble driving, etc. It just takes longer for your body to scream at you. With fibro, it’s like my body is a little trigger-happy, and is VERY insistent that I know my limits.

It’s that balancing act I was talking about the other day, although maybe I’m personifying my fibromyalgia a little bit.

Winston Churchill had severe depression, which he described as his “black dog” that followed him everywhere. I suppose fibromyalgia is a little bit like that, although I picture it more as a little gremlin on my shoulder that starts gnawing on me if I don’t listen. Or maybe it’s more like my own body rebelling, and us a time-out. After all, why create this artifical divide between “my body” and “me”? That’s a subject for a different post.

Signing off now, so I can go rest.

My Etsy Store

A fibro-friendly item from my Etsy store

I've been working on making fibro-friendly jewelry. I'd love it if you checked them out by clicking the image above, or going to www.etsy.com/people/RogueCrafter

About Me

This blog is intended as a place for me to reflect on my own healing journey, in the hopes that others may also gain insight from my experiences. I've "borrowed" a line from Robert Frost's poem, The Road Not Taken:

'Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.'

I think the most important thing for me now is that I feel empowered to be a force for positive change in my life. And that, my friends, has made all the difference.

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