If you have fibromyalgia and work outside the home, on the days when fatigue slams down on you like a lead blanket, how do you cope? This kind of fatigue isn’t just about being tired because you didn’t sleep well the night before, says a community member -- it’s like being starved of food or oxygen. Another says that the fatigue of fibromyalgia is often more difficult to deal with than the pain.
So what do you do? How do you get out of bed when you don’t really have a choice?
Several people say they have found some relief by taking regular doses of vitamin D, which they feel gives them more energy. “Be sure to ask your doctor to check out your vitamin D level,” urges one. One woman suggests also having your doctor check your iron levels at the same time. “Being low on iron can definitely make your butt drag,” she says. “I felt the same way you are feeling and no amount of vitamins or caffeine or anything helped me. Once I was given meds to fix my low iron I pepped up.” Many people suggest the strategy of building rest into your day. “A one-hour nap is usually helpful,” says one man. A woman notes, “On my days where I am completely exhausted, I give myself permission to go to bed at 8 p.m. and leave the chores for another day.”
Others confess that they haven’t really found any solutions for combating the fatigue, other than “a mind thing.” “It's either do this, or not have a house and be homeless. Not something I want to do,” says one woman.
Other community members have tried complementary approaches, like acupuncture and chiropractic, to help manage their fatigue and get more sleep. "It saved my life. I could only stay awake for about 3 hours during the day and I'd have to take a 2-hour nap,” says one man. “I'm self-employed, so that was a blessing in one regard, but I don't make money unless I'm working so it was also very frightening.” He suggests looking for an acupuncturist who also does electromagnetic therapy, which might facilitate some coverage by health insurance.
Nearly as bad as the physical fatigue is the mental fatigue, say many people. One woman reports that she’s resorted to taking down notes of her conversations. Another woman is relieved to learn from other community members that not being able to comprehend what she’s just read doesn’t mean she’s losing her mind -- instead, it’s “just another symptom of fibro.”