Brain fog For the last 3 weeks I have been off-line: brain-and internet-wise. As is usual with me, it took a while for me to realise: oh damn! it's Fibromayalgia again. Well, OK, it sounds weird that you would have a condition that affects your health and not blame that when things go wrong but I do.  And fibro-fog fogs up your brain and I just put  the memory-loss, the disorientation and the general fatigue down to either advancing Alzheimer's or Dementia. Over-dramatisation? Moi?

That's because I considered I have been very lucky with fibromyalgia and for the last 10 years I have been able to relegate it to a state of 'minor discomfort'. Like everything you ignore it either goes away or develops little bubbles of irritation that can either pop regularly or grow into a huge issue that will overwhelm you. I didn't ignore it for the first 5 years, blaming FM  for everything that went wrong in my life. Well, hey, you get an excuse like that and you don't use it? Come on!

She's mental 

I was given a 'looks-like' diagnosis in an age that Fibromyalgia was emerging as an illness and to escape the stigma of going slightly mad or mental illness we all rushed to find a more reputable parent page to hang our complaints under. Here in the Netherlands Fibromayalgia is reckoned to be a Rheumatic condition (because that is one very rich source of charitable funds).  Just as ADHD and ADD and now Eating Disorders and Coeliac and other conditions are battling for a rightful place in the echelons of mental and physical illness, disease or conditions. I can't get myself to call them an illness: an illness suggests a cure and for most of these above conditions there is only containment and acceptance. It's not terminal and therefore, like a food allergy, an irritant for the rest of the world and all in your (she's MENTAL!) mind. Years of reading and listening and thinking have given me my own insights and I have long considered that fibromyalgia is one of those conditions caused by a body and brain in rebellion.  One of those conditions that cause you to SIT, SLEEP, REST, go into THERAPY!!!!

The 'looks-like' diagnosis meant that I was never taken seriously as a sufferer of anything other than inheritance of my paternal grandmother's hypochondria; my mom used to say: 'please don't ask Granny how she is otherwise she'll tell us'.   The road I walked from that diagnosis on was mostly lonely, usually paved with gritted teeth, efforts to find reasons behind all the symptoms and denial.  This morning I actually realised, for the first time in 15 years, truly and clearly: I have fibromyalgia. How did that happen, what triggered this really seriously delayed acceptance of one of the immutable facts of my life?

aha1

Let us go back in time a bit:   say a crime is committed: I did my mind and body wrong. So I call in the cops: the doctors. All the detectives get to work and they use forensics and clues and donuts to get to the motive because, as we all know, motive is important. Most of the detectives decide it's not their field of expertise and go on to some other case. Then one guy comes up with a rather dicey motive that nobody really believes and those left on the case get disheartened and somebody suggests that maybe there was no crime at all: imagination. So they let the trail go cold, and I go home feeling uncertain and in the years that follow, despite frequent signs that maybe the crime DID happen and maybe there is something broken or wrong, I go on because I just imagined it.  The clues are piling up but hey, I imagined it. It's depression, or a leaky gut or food intolerances and all kinds of imaginary conditions.  Everyone thinks so and so that is what I think. Submissive much?

Once I stopped blaming FM I started blaming me.

Of course, for me, the rainbow road that is life and the thread that is fibromyalgia has it's own hues. Once I stopped blaming FM I started blaming me.  That's that catholic education I had: St. Mary's Convent has a lot to answer for, let me tell you. What happens is they implant a mental scourge that stays with you for the rest of your life, ever ready to lash you for any misdemeanour that you can imagine. Being the third child and therefore more submissive would easily make you more than ready to blame yourself for any- and everything. I lashed myself for addictions, health problems, being a bad wife, mother, sister daughter and person. In fact, I got a big buzz from being the worst;-). One of the legacies of all that angst is Fibromyalgia.

 

Deadly diseases, pounced to kill

My version of fibromyalgia is fairly sneaky: it goes away for long periods of time or manifests itself in new ways, keeping life exciting. I am inclined to forget that many of the ills I suffer are not because of deadly diseases pounced to kill me: it's just a new manifestation of an old discomfort. Like a friend who gets a makeover or your husband who shaves off his mustache. And of course, the almost diagnosis messed with my mind. I never really believed in this condition and denied myself the knowledge and relief acceptance would have given me. Which is why my aha moment the other day is so important. Fibro-fog, followed by stiffness in my muscles, bowel pain, mouth sores and flu (I NEVER get flu) all told my sister that FM was playing up, it didn't tell me anything:.I got my doctor to test for mental deterioration. I blamed hay fever and pollen for the mist in my brain, scrubbed my glasses for the mistiness of vision and studied my diet to see what I ate wrong. Finally, after 3 weeks of stupidity,  somewhere a light went on. I have Fibromyalgia.

Symptom: stupid

Writing this blog, I went looking for information on Fibromayalgia to link you through. 15 years after my almost diagnosis the list of symptoms has changed beyond recognition. No: into recognition. Because there, in a row, are my problems. Not leaky gut, not gluten-intolerance, not anything but fibromyalgia. A big new fact to take on board. My main symptom? Stupidity.

 

Hold on the gluten...

What am I going to do with this? Am I going to rush off and buy a croissant? order pizza? Dive into crusty bread with old Amsterdam cheese? Nah. I DO react to gluten. Dairy does make me gassy. I love the new food I eat. so I will stay in this lovely, healthy green and organic world I have moved into. Just with a different perspective: I don't have to blame me for eating the wrong food. I can go back to blaming Fibromyalgia. Isn't that just too cool?

 

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