For the record, it’s highly likely that you should never take my advice. In fact, don’t even consider anything I ever write AS advice. I might talk about some things that work for me to help me battle my personal demons, but I never, EVER think these things will work for everyone. Hell, they only work for me when I’m in a good enough place FOR them to work.
However, I do want to talk about them. Some of the most useful things I’ve learned in my own life have been from paying attention to what works for other people with similar issues. Whether they be mental or physical health issues, our compadres…our tribe…can sometimes have something to teach us. Other people going through something similar might have a different perspective or have tried something I haven’t. Often what works for them does NOT work for me…but sometimes it DOES.
My Turn To Share.
First, in case you didn’t already know, I have fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome (or ME), some holy-moly arthritis, and degenerative disc disease. The disc degeneration thingy is busy taking out much of the cushion in my back, so chronic back and neck pain are a part of my daily life no matter how well everything ELSE is going. That’s enough – there’s a bunch of other stuff, too, but if I list it all I just sound like I’m bragging! 😀
I recently ran across an article about taking the supplement D-Ribose for fibromyalgia. Most supplements do nothing for me – at least, nothing that I can actually feel or notice making a difference. Magnesium with calcium seems to help a bit, and now this. It might be too soon to tell, so I will report back in a month or two to let you know, but I’ve been taking it for several days and I’ll be damned if my hips and lower back aren’t hurting less already.
I mean, noticeably less. My energy has been a teeny tiny bit better, as well, but I definitely need more data about that. I might just be in a “less depressed” stage. I can’t know about this without several months of ups and downs through which I can judge. However, my pain levels don’t really change much with a depressive episode.
The Elements Of Pain
It’s kind of hard to explain, because I know that pain IS affected by depression. However, years and years ago, I spent a lot of time learning hypnosis for pain management. One of the primary and most useful elements of that research was learning to separate the actual physical sensation that is the pain signal, from the emotional and energy wallop that pain can deliver – especially chronic pain.
Ever since then I’ve been able to be pretty clear about what is “real” pain and what is the emotional reaction, the mental story I’m telling myself, etc. This doesn’t really make the pain signal less, but it does change how I am affected by it. When I am having a day in which I feel good otherwise, my pain levels don’t really decrease. I am less affected by them – less likely to just sit and wallow in pain – but they are still there in a relatively steady way.
When I am very depressed, it seems like pain rules every aspect of my life totally and completely with no respite. I have difficulty focusing on anything else – so the pain often SEEMS so much louder. It’s only been with a lot of practice that I can mitigate that when I am less depressed and have more access to my internal resources. Depression often robs me of the ability to effectively use the various tools I’ve collected over the years…which is why external intervention like medication may end up back in my repertoire, eventually.
Right now, I manage all of my issues without medication. Well, that’s not entirely true – I don’t MANAGE well at all, for one thing – I’m primarily house bound with no social life and can’t work a real job…sooooo, “manage” might have been a little bit of an over sell. Plus, I take over the counter ibuprofen like it’s free candy! I don’t even want to tell you how much, it’s THAT much.
The point is – I am not taking any prescription medication. I’ve been without healthcare, and now that I have insurance, my deductible and copay still make going to the doctor out of reach for me. Which is ridiculous – I’m PAYING for insurance that I can’t use because even WITH the insurance I can’t afford to go to the doctor. Welcome to America! I know – many of us struggle with this very issue and it’s not really the point of this post. It’s just SO frustrating!
SO – back to the non-medical things that I am NOT advising or recommending about, because I am not a medical professional and I don’t know anything. I am simply recounting my personal experience, on my personal blog, in case it is of any interest to anyone out there.
If you see something here that you want to explore, do so at your own risk, and if you can afford it, with the partnership of a qualified healthcare professional.
How’s that for a disclaimer???
A Little Bit About D-Ribose
D-Ribose is apparently used by athletes, and has something to do with muscles and energy production and…well, hell – here is what Web-MD has to say about it:
Ribose is a kind of sugar that is produced by the body. It is used as a medicine.
Ribose is used to improve athletic performance and the ability to exercise by boosting muscle energy. It has also been used to improve symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, and coronary artery disease. Ribose has been used to prevent symptoms such as cramping, pain, and stiffness after exercise in people with an inherited disorder called myoadenylate deaminase deficiency (MAD) or AMP deaminase deficiency (AMPD deficiency). Ribose has also been used to improve exercise ability in people with another inherited disorder called McArdle’s disease.
There ya go. I’m trying it, so far it seems to actually be helping…and I am NOT an athlete, that is for sure. I did have a physical therapist once try to explain to me HER theory about fibromyalgia, and that my muscles didn’t repair themselves properly because I don’t sleep, etc, etc, etc. So maybe it affects that? I don’t know, but I’m mildly and carefully hopeful. Not quite optimistic, mind you…just barely hopeful.]
Other Things That Help When I Actually DO Them
Some other things helping me lately seem kind of silly to mention, but maybe you haven’t tried this or need a reminder or something. Or maybe I’ll need a reminder the next time I take a deep dive into depression.
Distraction is my friend. Which means WORK is my friend. The more I can work (my work involves making and selling art), the less depression, anxiety, and chronic pain rule my day. That doesn’t mean I’m not depressed or anxious or in pain…it just means I’m thinking about something else for a bit. As long as I don’t have to actually interact with other people, I can usually hyper-focus on my work and that helps me get through a good portion of the day.
Water is my friend. I would love to get IN water more often, but for now, reminding myself to drink enough water seems to make a pretty big difference in my overall well being. I think I must let myself get dehydrated a lot. I often forget to eat (which would AMAZE you if you saw me, because I definitely do NOT look like I forgot to eat yesterday until I was so starving that I had no brain function left – quite the opposite, in fact. My appearance would suggest that all I do is eat…ironic, isn’t it?) I forget to drink water, too, was my point there.
Which brings me to eating – I need to eat, and preferably something with fat and protein, early in the day. My days usually go better when I remember to eat. Go figure.
SO – I’ve started setting an alarm on my phone to force me to get up and walk away from the computer every hour or so. With my back and neck issues, if I’m at my desk for TOO long without a break, sometimes I can’t get up. Literally – my back and hips give out and I collapse. It sucks for me, although it might be kind of funny if you’re watching it. Maybe I should record it. I could start a Youtube channel that is just videos of my stupid back and hips making me collapse in different places. Maybe THAT is how I make my millions!!!
The phone alarm. When I remember to do it, it works, and it helps me.
OK, that is it for today. Mostly I wanted to share the D-Ribose thing, in case any of you want to do your own research on that.
OH – I almost forgot – I’ve also been working productively (I know, amazing, right???) and am almost ready to launch the art part of this blog. I still have to learn how to set up a shop and stuff – but you KNOW you want art from a crazy person, right??? Eh??? Just think of the conversation starters!
Besides, I need to food to eat when the alarm on my phone goes off – so I need MONEY. I’ll keep you posted on the art thing, in case you want to give me some of yours and receive some delightful artsy fartsy thing in return.