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Young, Sick and Invisible

My illness has shaped me,
But it does not define me.

Guest Post: 'Tanya's Story.'

Daisy Buds

My name is Tanya. I will be celebrating my 27th anniversary next week. I have a 19 year old son and a 22 year old daughter. I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia 26 years ago.

I used to love camping, crafting, gardening, staying up late with friends. I still craft and do a little bit of gardening. I have worked as a substitute teacher, preschool teacher, tutor, and nanny. My energy has been less the past few years do to new insomnia symptoms. Right now I just nanny part time.

I was diagnosed 26 years ago. The beginning signs were panic attacks, extreme fatigue, light headedness, widespread pain, headaches. I saw numerous doctors in different fields before I was diagnosed. It probably took a little over a year. The internet didn't exist or very few people had access to it then, so sell diagnosis was a bit tricky. Once I had the internet I used it for support.

I flare in my neck, shoulders, upper arms, and head get super tight and painful. I might also have extreme fatigue. My muscles get super tight and painful. A flare really varies. If the weather is nice and I've been getting adequate sleep they usually don't last more than three days. If I'm not sleeping well they can last up to a week. The only thing is sometimes I'll start to feel better and then two days later I'm in another flare. I have to cancel most of my plans. To cope, I take hot baths, cancel all unnecessary plans, rest as much as possible. If I can afford it I try to schedule a massage. I also take a muscle relaxer and use Biofreeze. My main triggers are humidity, a storm coming, lack of sleep, stress. As fast as medicines go, I take flexeril, trazodone, cymbalta, lyrica, tumeric, vitamin D, zantac, magnesium.

My biggest tip would to not blame yourself for being ill. I know I still struggle with guilt. Don't feel bad about needing to take care of yourself. It has impacted my parenting. My kids are grown now, so it doesn't impact them as much. It has impacted keeping up with friendships and not being able to work full time. It has also impacted my marriage greatly because I'm not always able to keep up with chores or go out much.

It has stopped me from working full time, traveling as much as I'd like, staying up past 9 pm.

It makes it difficult for me to travel to see family and friends that aren't local. It bothers me that I don't have more freedom. Also I miss out on things sometimes and it's hard for me to see their posts on social media about what a great time they had.

I have learned to be more compassionate and empathetic towards others who have limitations. I also have learned that I am still worth something even if I'm sick.

Now that my children are young adults I hope I can concentrate on what I want and need to do.

Exploring online jobs and support groups. I just turned fifty so I want to take each moment as it comes.

- Medicines described in this blog are prescribed to this individual by their Doctor. Always consult your Doctor about what is best for your needs before taking any medication -

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