I started experiencing fibromyalgia symptoms a few years ago, when I was only 18 years old. I'm now 23, a college graduate who lives at home and does... well, not very much of anything. I'm just not physically capable of performing most jobs, and with the recession, my parents are pretty insistent on me finding work now, and with good reason. Supporting a 23 year old man with the sort of medical bills FM can rack up, in addition to my two younger siblings, is a big strain on them. They pay for my day-to-day, my health insurance, medical bills, my therapist, any socializing I do with my friends, basically... everything.
And it sucks. Most of the time I don't know what to do. I just can't get a job like a normal person. My parents are very, very sympathetic, but when my dad tells me, "I'm 57 years old, I have aches and pains every day, you just have to suck it up and push through," I know there's no way he'll ever really understand.
I can't imagine what it's like to have been dealing with FM for the past 13-14 years, and especially not in a time where people might have called you crazy for feeling something very real, and very, very painful, all the time. The only advice I can give is to just try everything. Try the standard medicines, and if they don't work, try the alternative medicines. Get some exercise a couple times a week. Take epsom salt and magnesium baths. Stretch your worst areas on a daily basis.
In particular, I say take a course in meditation, or a very light movement-based yoga (yoga where you have to hold positions, for me, has been one of the most horrible, painful experiences). I find that learning to meditate, and to maintain a relaxed, meditative state as long as possible helps your brain stop tensing your body. When I hone in on mental relaxation, it's the only time I can feel my contracting, spasming muscles start to release and let go. My aunt with FM prefers the yoga. And strangely enough, she, like myself, is a redhead, with very fair skin, and the oldest of three siblings. I don't know what that means for a medical practitioner, but for me, that fact has always been a reassurance that FM is indeed genetic, and very real.
Anyway, I'm just taking it day by day and trying my best to be upbeat, optimistic, and grateful for what I have. My parents took out hundreds of thousands of dollars in college loans for me to study and earn a degree in acting at NYU, a profession that I am no longer physically capable of performing. So I'm trying my hand at writing screenplays, something I can do every day, without having to push myself too hard. It's only about six feet from my bed to my computer, so I do what I can, no more, no less. I'm still getting over the beating myself up over what I can and can't do part of it all, but it's better than it was because I realize I'm not the only person feeling like that.
The fact is, I'm still a human being, I'm alive, and I plan to stay that way. The thing I worry about most is children; I want kids one day, and I wonder whether I'll be able to pick them up and carry them around, or if they'll be sad that daddy can't play with them because I'm laying in bed with a heating pad. But I'd take the difficulties I know are in store for me for the rest of my life, even compounded by the fact that the onset of my FM was abnormally early at 18 years old, over giving up on life entirely. I know there will be good things, good times, good friends and family, good experiences for me in the days and weeks and years to come, and I have to believe that those things will make all the hardship worthwhile.