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My Battle with a Chronic Invisible Illness

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With 50 years around the sun, Kimberly enjoys sharing a variety of her personal life experiences with others.

Chronic Illness

Come along for the ride as I share my firsthand experience of fighting the battles of an invisible illness called Fibromyalgia.

I share my story hoping that it will help another living soul understand their struggles with this chronic illness.


my-fight-with-a-chronic-invisible-illness

What Do the Experts Say Fibromyalgia is?

The Mayo Clinic describes Fibromyalgia as a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain and spinal cord process painful and nonpainful signals.

Symptoms often begin after an event, such as physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.

"You don't know why you're exhausted?

You're fighting a war inside your head every single day.

If that's not exhausting, I don't know what is."

— Unknown

In the Beginning...

I grew up in a loving household with both of my biological parents. Of no fault of my mother or father, my childhood was plagued with different ailments and compromised health as far back as my mind can remember. I experienced early onset trauma in my life, night terrors and nightmares, OCD, food allergies and sensitivities, dry cracking skin, headaches, dizziness, and phobias.

In my youth, my health continued to be affected by emotional and psychological issues, fears, anxieties, abandonment, victimization of sexual abuse, broken trust, troubled relationships, drugs, alcohol, self-harm, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, and tormenting nightmares.

Adulthood happened, and my life found purpose in God and raising a family. However, I still struggled with some of the strongholds and pitfalls from my youth; life was much better.

In 2018 something monumental happened to me as an adult that shook my wellness to the core of my being. My life flipped upside down like a derailed train wreck. In one unsuspecting moment, my body broke.


my-fight-with-a-chronic-invisible-illness

My Failing Health

The following will be a long list of health issues that suddenly turned my life inside out.

I had zero life force left inside of me. I felt utterly unplugged as I experienced an unsurmountable amount of fatigue. (later diagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome) My body was unable to regulate its body temperature, and I found myself constantly freezing. I had difficulty with my fingers and toes turning colors and experiencing pain and numbness. I was diagnosed with Raynaud's syndrome. My sleep patterns were completely skewed. I was purely exhausted and napped off and on throughout the day. Nothing in my toolbox of sleep aids seemed to be helpful. I experienced electrical type currents up and down my body, paresthesia, burning skin (felt like a torch set me on fire), zapping sensations in my head, crawling skin, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, tender and swollen lymph nodes, poor circulation, chronic ear pain, tinitis, extreme joint pain especially in my elbows, hips and knees, daily headaches and several migraines a month, painful breasts, morning stiffness, muscle spasms, muscle twitching, muscle weakness, scalp pain (like my hair was literally being pulled out), extreme brain fog, an inability to think clearly and short term memory loss, lightheadedness, dizziness, vertigo, my balance was clearly off, I suffered directional disorientation, as well as feeling spatially disoriented, eye pain, blurred and jumpy vision, confusion, difficulty expressing my words or finding the right words, great difficulty making personal decisions, too disoriented to drive, suddenly abrupt and/or unpredictable mood swings, anxiety, fear with no probable cause, frequent crying, panic attacks, irritability, bloating, frequent constipation, nausea, chronic sore throat, sensitivity to chemicals and fragrances, a mile long list of food allergies and sensitivities, sensory overload, highly reactive to stress (good or bad), skin rash, psoriasis, constant itchy skin (to the point of drawing blood when scratched), jaw pain (TMJ) painful menstruation cycles, night sweats, nightmares, depression and more.

Food had become my nemesis. My digestion was upside down and sideways. Whenever I tried to eat a whole food diet, I ended up in severe pain, bloating, and extreme discomfort.

FIBROMYALGIA

The Achy,

Crampy,

Itchy,

Twitchy

Hurt all over,

Hurt all the time,

So you can't rest,

Syndrome that no one understands.

— Unknown

Stress the Great Enemy

I found myself living in a body that had greatly malfunctioned. It was as if I was living in a nightmare that I couldn't escape. Only this was now my living reality.

The only precursor I can look back upon as triggering this onslaught of ailments would be "Extreme Stress." At this time in my life, my husband's employment had closed down, leaving him jobless. Together we experienced lifestyle changes, job retraining, and a new career. In his new job, we experienced a lot of transitions from scheduling, a longer commute, and less pay. I lost a very dear friend, our financial outlook was bleak, and family drama was high. Depression and anxiety had crept in and left me feeling very fragile.

my-fight-with-a-chronic-invisible-illness

The thief that is Fibromyalgia

The thief that is Fibromyalgia

It steals your body,

It steals your energy,

It steals your mind,

It steals your sleep,

It steals your friends,

It steals your happiness,

It steals your fun,

It steals your special moments,

It steals your careers,

It steals the person you used to be.

— Fybro Ramblings

A Sinking Ship

I became a shell of the person I once knew. This invisible illness took root and stole my identity. Every day my health spiraled deeper and deeper into an abyss of pain and confusion, and desperation.

my-fight-with-a-chronic-invisible-illness

When You Feel Hopeless

The loss of my memory was gaining on me, and the inability to live my life as I once had was terrifying. I forgot how to use a calculator, make change, or operate the cash register at my place of employment. I couldn't find the right words to speak my sentences, nor could I hold a conversation with any clarity.

My loving husband, adult children, and a few of my close-knit family and friends rallied by my side. I am forever grateful to those who believed in me and never gave up on me.

Sadly my performance of participating in my own life significantly declined due to this invisible thief named Fibromyalgia. The constant battle from this chronic illness left me feeling oppressed, depressed, and at times utterly hopeless.



When you have an invisible illness, it's hard to explain to someone who doesn't have a clue. It's a daily struggle being in pain or feeling sick on the inside when you look fine on the outside.

— unknown

Victory is Mine

I will share the long grueling journey I went through in my search for answers and a diagnosis in future articles to follow. I will also share my victories and triumph over this dark period that once tried to destroy me.

I thank God for walking hand in hand with me and never forsaking me through life's storms. He is my hope and my salvation, and I give him honor and praise for the vital work he has done in my life. Amid an impoverished situation, my divine creator picked me up and gave me a mustard seed of faith to seek out my inheritance of abundant, prosperous health.

I am mindful of fighting this battle every day, and I make lifestyle choices that support my well-being.

If you feel defeated by illness, I encourage you to stay the course. Look up and call upon the divine creator to help you one step at a time to find your place of restoration and renewal.


References


Article title:Fibromyalgia - Symptoms and causesWebsite title:Mayo ClinicURL:https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/symptoms-causes/syc-20354780

  • Fibromyalgia My Search for a Diagnosis
    Welcome to the road less traveled. I will be sharing the extensive process I went through in searching for a Fibromyalgia diagnosis. Giving insight into the numerous ups and downs along my Fibromyalgia journey.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Kimberly

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