Studying or working with fibromyalgia is never easy, but it is not impossible. We just need slightly more effort than the rest and if you look deeper, there are certainly some blessings in disguise.
1. Establish a Support System in School and Workplace
It helps if your school or workplace is aware of your condition, not to be granted concession but a support system so that a middle ground could be reached.
As I need space to stretch out and being extra sensitive to cold environments, my school has granted my request to be seated at the last row of seats for my examinations to avoid posing as a distraction to others. I have also requested to bring a warmer device which will help me to cope in the air-conditioned room during examinations.
If you know that you need anything that helps you to relieve your pain for better productivity, speak up and request. This is how we normalise fibromyalgia too.
2. Notes, Notes, and More Notes for the Brain Fog
Don’t underestimate the seriousness of brain fog. Sometimes, even the most simple recent information or word could be easily forgotten. I find myself often at a sudden loss of vocabulary or having extreme short-term memory. Post-it, notebooks, checklists, or whatever it helps you. Hardcopies do not work so well for me as I tend to misplace my post-its which is another challenge trying to keep track of where I place my stuff.
Personally, I find that Microsoft To-do app helps as it offers neat UI with categories and simple effective checklists. Once you find what works for you, make it a habit to keep track of your checklists, no matter how minor a task is as it helps to form a habit of using the same platform to organize your tasks.
3. A Head Start Goes a Long Way
Procrastinate is a big no-no as leaving tasks to the last minute will leave you more stressed, and you know nothing ever good comes out from a stressful fibromyalgia patient. This is definitely one huge blessing in disguise which I have found, as I see myself changing my habits from someone who used to procrastinate to someone being on the ball and complete tasks early.
4. Build a Healthy Sleep Cycle
Last but also most importantly, build a healthy sleep cycle! My doctors couldn’t emphasize more on this as having a broken sleep cycle is the most detrimental move to fibromyalgia patients. As fibromyalgia is highly likely related to sleep disorders, I do find myself functioning worse and pain more intensified the next day when I did not have a normal sleeping cycle the night before.
According to my doctors, a single disruption to the process of rebuilding our sleeping patterns could cause all efforts down the drain. Rebuilding sleeping patterns requires consistent effort and discipline to make it happen.