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!

Published by Anna Whitehouse

Copywriter and journalist with a side serving of poetry

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