Depression. I was becoming depressed.
I was supposed to be the Jack of All Trades AND the Master of Most
of Them, but my work performance was not living up to my former
reputation. These feelings became so overwhelming, one day at work
I just collapsed, and I never returned.
Diagnosis. My doctor finally ran out
of things to eliminate - and that's what FM and CFS are, conditions
which are left over when everything else is ruled out. I was diagnosed
with CFS and FM. I found myself unable to read a book, to design
a piece of jewelry, to remember the simplest things, or to be reliable
in the workplace either from lack of sleep, pain or fatigue.
Short Attention Span, Insomnia and Extreme Fatigue.
My small attention span made it hard for me to watch TV shows
and keep up with plot lines. The prescription drugs I needed to
take if I were to make it through the day also made me sluggish
and incapable of getting out on my own. I became house bound. I
had always been your basic Germanic worker bee. Then - nothing!
Down for the count!
Panic Attacks and Anxiety Difficulties.
I began having panic attacks which often go hand in hand with CFS.
My concern for my Mrs. Gottrocks business and my customers was overwhelming.
For years I had made my living by my reputation - and suddenly it
seemed the only thing I could do was make simple afghans and watch
TV. My depression was worsening, and the anxiety made me feel like
there was a motor running all the time. I became hypersensitive
to sudden motions, light, extremes in temperature. I was miserable.
...AND THE BURN
Take 10 Steps Backwards and Call Me In The Morning.
I was forced to quit my contracting job and to close my studio location
to recuperate, spending nearly a year in bed and another year slowly
regaining some strength and testing the boundaries of my limitations.
I joked about being a Type A personality in a Type F body, but
it was very hard for someone like me to accept that they have limitations.
Before I came down with CFS and FM, I was working a full time job,
a part time job, working the Internet and working hard within the
growing Women Entrepreneur Movement on the Internet. Thank goodness
by the time I got critical the website was practically running itself
or I would have had to give that up too.
The Web Becomes My Salvation. The
Internet, once just a small aspect of my business, suddenly became
a way to keep the dream of Mrs. Gottrocks alive. Since then I have
tried many drug and physical therapies, and I am slowly beginning
to understand what is practical in both my career and my private
life. I miss the contact with the public my storefront offered,
and I have not given up on the idea of reopening my design studio
in my old neighborhood - provided I can stabilize my condition.
I may have to sell Mrs. Gottrocks eventually, and take it even easier
than I do.
New Doctors, New Hope. I've been to
many doctors, tried endless drugs, and generally have improved to
where I can function as long as I take things VERY easy. Of course,
my lifestyle is about 1/10th as busy as the average persons, I still
can't drive and I'm still fatigued very easily, but I get more sleep
now than I used to and I have a great doctor now who is determined
to find a cure. I am happy to try the therapies he recommends, and
each month we get closer to making me feel more human.
New Life. I have gone through the
hell of applying for Social Security Disability, which is hard for
someone who is not used to saying "I Can't." Now that
it is approved, I may find someone to take over Mrs. Gottrocks and
concentrate on the pure artistic side of creating and making jewelry.
I am learning to paint, and really enjoying it, in case the pain
of working on the wax bench or jeweler's bench never fades. Luckily
many of my designs can work as either jewelry or paintings.
Mrs. Gottrocks and the Future. Mrs.
Gottrocks lives on the Internet thanks to a phone, a laptop and
automated catalog which requires little work on my part. I have
to constantly remind myself that tomorrow might be a hard day, and
not to start something I can't easily finish. Like the father says
in the movie Contact - little steps, little steps.
Little steps are hard for me. I'm used to leaping. For the last
few years, some days I just had to get help. Now, the site is scaled
down to where it requires only minor input from me, and my husband
takes care of the rest.
Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diagnoses are
increasing in the United States - probably as much from our increased
understanding as an increase in new cases. I think of when Southern
women such as myself were thought to be "weak natured,"
"delicate" or "given to bouts of the vapors"
(my personal favorite). I think this condition has been with us
a long long time. I'm just glad I have it in an age when there are
treatments and research. Not enough, mind you - ask four doctors
what causes Fibromyalgia and you'll get four different answers.
But at least women such as myself aren't just ignored or trivialized
any longer. We're understood to have a very real condition by enough
of the medical world to make us realize we aren't weak or crazy
- there is a real medical problem. I have made it from the bed to
the chair, and from the chair to a modest amount of activity. I
can sometimes read a book now, I can go shopping, even if it means
bringing along my wheelchair so when I tire I can sit down immediately.
I crash and burn occasionally after an increase in activity - finding
myself in bed and useless - but I am still learning what is too
much and just the effort of trying to get back to a consistent lifestyle
makes it worth the challenge. The drugs I am using are more effective,
and the side effects less incapacitating, although some still do
contribute to the general brain fog I'm usually under. I am, slowly,
getting back to being me, albeit a somewhat slower version.
There may come a day when I have to give in and admit that
I can never handle the business of a storefront or even work outside
the home. I may never be able to be consistently artistic in the
jewelry field - I may end up painting, or pursuing some other creative
endeavor on only a hobby level. But for now I'm just happy to know
I have improved, and new research is yielding new drug therapies
every day. For now, and hopefully for a long time, the dream of
Mrs. Gottrocks Fine Jewelry and Gifts lives on the web at www.gottrocks.com.
My painting skills are improving, and my ability to amuse myself
when I am having a bad day is improving. I have every hope that
ten years from now I'll be reminded of "that time when you
were sick at home" and this will all be a fading memory. Maybe
I've been told I will probably never be able to be the Master
Juggler I was before. But that's OK. I believe in time I can adjust
my sails and lean towards a life equally satisfying.I invite anyone
who needs more information on Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue and
my battle to pursue a career in spite of them to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please put "Fibromyalgia Comment" in your subject line
so I don't mistake your Email for spam.
Fibromyalgia is sometimes misspelled
as Fibromyalsia. This text with the word Fibromyalsia is here
for the search engines to find to help people searching for information
on Fibromyalgia or Fibromyalgia to find. I am also adding chronic
fatigue syndrome, CFS, FM and Fibramyalsia and Fibramyalgia to
also assist the search engines.