I’ve had a chronic condition called fibromyalgia for 20 years. It causes widespread pain, fatigue and many many other symptoms. There is no cure for fibromyalgia and whilst it won’t kill me, living with it is extremely difficult.
In fact, life as I once knew it was decimated by fibromyalgia. 20 years ago I was studying for a PhD in international family law at Cambridge University and had a full scholarship to train as a barrister afterwards.
I didn’t get the PhD and I didn’t become a barrister.
For 20 years I struggled with the physical and psychological symptoms of fibromyalgia with varying degrees of success. Meanwhile I found a new kind of meaning in life by raising my family, becoming a published poet, and volunteering for various literacy schemes for adults and disadvantaged children.
Unfortunately, 6 months ago all of the coping mechanisms I had developed were no longer working and I was in a very very dark place, physically but particularly emotionally. Seeing a well-being practitioner in the musculoskeletal service has been life-changing.
It hasn’t always been easy – in fact, there are times when I wouldn’t have been able to speak to you today without crying. Challenging the thoughts and behaviours of 20 years isn’t an easy thing to do. But there are no words to say what a difference this service has made – I have learnt better ways to cope with this condition and my well-being and quality of life has improved.
There are many many more stories like mine of the very real difference the wellbeing service has made to our lives by improving our psychological health alongside our physical health.
There are always going to be significant challenges in living with fibromyalgia but thanks to the wellbeing service I no longer feel like it’s a living death.