How writing helped me to live with fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia image

It hit me out of nowhere. I was out shopping when I suddenly experienced shooting pains in both legs, then the pain spread to my arms and I began to feel weak. By the end of the day, I could hardly walk to the end of the garden path.

While my fibromyalgia began with chronic fatigue, after a few weeks the pain intensified and it felt like my skull was on fire. I was able to walk more in the house but I couldn’t sleep, so with my doctor’s help, I managed to find a combination of really strong painkillers that made things more bearable.

I couldn’t wear shoes much, as every step on the hard floor hurt my head. This made going out virtually impossible. We even had to change the car, as I felt every bump. And I had to stop teaching English for my local adult education service. This was a real blow, as I was feeling really excited about developing my career, although looking back it was quite stressful.

I was also keen to start a family, but having been told that there’s no cure for fibromyalgia, I assumed that I wouldn’t cope. However, a few months after I left work, my sister bumped into a lovely lady who was mum to a little boy despite having fibromyalgia.  She invited me over to her house and convinced me that I could manage to be a parent despite my illness, so a year later my daughter was born!

Having my little one was incredibly motivating and I began to think about whether I might be able to get back to work once she was at school. I’d always enjoyed writing, so I began to scribble down a few ideas for articles during nap times. To my surprise, three of my articles were quickly accepted by various magazines.

Realising that I had discovered my real passion, I kept an eye out for opportunities and found a regular gig writing remotely for a parenting website. Then I spotted an advert posted by a digital agency that was looking for freelance writers. I wrote a sample piece (which they paid me for!) and they phoned me up to invite me on board. I haven’t stopped writing since!

I love being able to work from home, as it allows me plenty of flexibility. If I’m having a good day I’ll write from nine until five, so that I can afford to rest if I need to. I also feel incredibly relaxed, as there are no office politics to worry about and I don’t have to worry about trying to attend work socials. It’s been 15 years since I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and I am feeling much better now, thanks to a combination of medication and a less stressful work life. I try to take every day as it comes.

What obstacles have you overcome to get to where you are? I’d love to hear your stories!

Author: Anna Whitehouse

Copywriter and journalist with a side serving of poetry

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