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.
Telford and Wrekin IAPT is a free NHS service providing a range of recommended support for people. Our new service for people with diabetes, respiratory or musculoskeletal conditions focuses on helping people claim back their quality of life, as well as their physical health.
Whether you have been diagnosed recently, or having been living with your long-term condition for a while, it can have a huge effect on day to day life. People with long-term conditions sometimes struggle with:
- Difficulty remembering to take medication, or injections
- Not wanting people to know about their condition
- Difficulty sleeping
- Panic about their condition, such as having a hypo, or not being able to breathe properly
- Feeling tired and a lack of energy
- Eating healthily or maintaining a healthy weight
- Little motivation to do daily tasks
- Worry about their condition, or things getting worse
- Feeling low in mood, and “down in the dumps”
- Feeling frustrated and angry about how to manage their condition
- Having mood swings, and not knowing how to change this
- Feeling socially left out, or that people are judging them
- Getting to regular appointments to keep a check on their health
If any of this sounds relevant to you, we may be able to help you improve your mood, worry less, and gain more motivation.
We offer a type of support called CBT, or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. CBT looks at how our thoughts and behaviour affect the way we feel. Our aim is to give people tools with which to manage their mood and condition, in order for them to feel happier, healthier and more in control of life.
Alternatively, we now offer self-referral onto our Computerised CBT programmes for people with longer term conditions. Please click here for our Silvercloud page.