Fibromyalgia and Depression: The Cloak of Sadness

Fibromyalgia and Depression - A Cloak of SadnessThis time of year is always a hard time for me. The clocks have gone back, which has a more pronounced effect here in the Highlands of Scotland than other parts of the UK. We’ve just started November in reality and you can see the light starting to fade by about 3.30pm-4pm already. Yes, people I am a classic case of what is called ‘seasonal affective disorder’, fondly called “SAD”, sensitively thought-through terminology of the medical profession!

But life has just been hard recently. With stress of working with Fibromyalgia, leading to increased pain, a hit on our finances and my energy at an all time low, we brought forward a week off to rest at home and try to refind myself, so to speak.

Recently fighting this invisible enemy Fibromyalgia just feels totally bleak sometimes. There is no light at the end of the tunnel and I don’t see any positives from my current health situation. This cyclical thinking is always around. A couple of years ago I had to be told to go on anti-depressants, because I could not see that how I was thinking, how I was feeling were all symptoms of classic depression.

Face the Facts: Depression is Just Another Illness

Our society has encouraged a kind of stigma with depression, the way they used to have with leprosy in Biblical times. People seem to want to steer clear of the depressed person, running away wildly into the streets yelling ‘unclean, unclean!’

Maybe I exaggerate. I use humour as a cover for what’s going on inside. Quite a lot in fact. I can make people laugh – happy even, it just never sinks inside of me. Anyhow, I had to face the fact that depression isn’t a title, it isn’t a label – it’s just another illness, another medical condition. It is not bound by logic, you can’t think yourself out of it – or ‘snap out of it’ as my dad used to say.

People try to give advice, like ‘do something for yourself’ (when most ‘things’ cost money), or ‘take Vitamin D’ (which I already do), or ‘eat more fruit’ (I eat at least 3 pieces of fruit most days) – as though somehow putting something in me is the answer. What I need is to get out of me what is in there. One well-meaning (and well-off) person I know always says ‘you need to have a holiday in the sun’. I don’t deny that, but they have the money for that and I don’t. I don’t ask for money, we have just enough, but nothing to spare. I should be grateful for that, but I’m not feeling the gratitude at the moment.

I mean it doesn’t help that I’m an introvert anyway, prone to looking inward. But the funny thing is, I tend to avoid looking inwards in case I don’t like what I see.

Happening Again…

Our set of circumstances, plus feeling so stupidly tired and after a long week of high pain because of being ‘on demand’, I broke down last weekend. I don’t do that – at least not in public. But it was like the strong exterior I had been trying to put on – and I needed to put on – just broke into pieces. The emotional ‘armour’ I put on so I can be a boss (not metaphorically, I do employ a few people), a husband, a business-owner, a Christian – was replaced with a flimsy cloak of sadness.

As I said, there’s no logic. I’ve been fairly productive this week. The house isn’t in a total shambles and I’ve had some gaming time. But fighting Fibro and stress for so long has just meant I have no inner resources anymore. Nothing left to offer, nothing to give.

Sorry… and not sorry

In one sense I’m sorry I will publish this. In another I’m not. On my ‘work’ Twitter account I stopped saying anything about my health condition, because I lost followers whenever I did. People like positive, they like up-beat, they like motivational, they like good news and a bright outlook on life – they are also fond of extroversion. You know what? right now I’m not any of those things. I’m also taking a week off my work Twitter account – I’m sure you can see why.

But I guess, when all’s said and done and I’ve stopped fighting how I’m feeling and just wrap the cloak of sadness around me for a bit, for this week off work, maybe I will find me. Maybe I will just be how I feel. And being true and well representing myself, whether people like it or not, surely that’s a positive I can take from all this. If people stop being friends, clients, followers – because they don’t like who I am at my core, then maybe I wasn’t the right fit for them in the first place.

And if you’ve read this far, thank you – you’ve already heard more by reading than people I’m surrounded with know about me. That makes you a friend.

This brutal honesty hurts me as much as it may hurt or off-put others. But at least you know I’m being real with you.


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6 thoughts on “Fibromyalgia and Depression: The Cloak of Sadness

  1. I just read this post that you wrote on the 7th. I wanted you to know that I’m so grateful for coming across it. I also have fibromyalgia and today or I should say that the past few days I’ve been very depressed. I am not on antidepressants but was considering talking it over with my Dr until now. I learned from your blog that it may be due to the time change for myself as well also the very cold weather and dreary days. Thanks for being real. Don’t ever apologize for being truthful. I hope you are doing better today. Sincerely, Roni

    1. Thanks for being honest, and commenting here Roni. I think people with Fibromyalgia are prone to depression (fighting pain is really hard) but I feel the depression far more acutely now there are about 4hours decent daylight. I have a ‘SAD Lamp’ which helps a little bit but not getting enough sunlight will affect your mood, whether you have an illness or not.

  2. I just read your post from the 7th of November now. Thank you for being so honest and sharing your feelings. With Winter basically being here I also fight depression with my Fibromyalgia & arthritis pain. To be honest depression is a year round struggle with me, but with Winter it is worse. I have been on antidepressants for some time now, but there are days where I question how much they are helping me. To fight depression I just try to do little things for myself, like buy a new video game when I can afford it, self sooth myself telling myself these feelings will pass, and I have my computer by a window that gets plenty of sunlight during winter.

    1. Thank you for sharing Lesley, and sorry to hear you also fight this depression battle. At least you know you can do nice things for yourself. I find having a daylight box (also known as a “SAD Lamp” unfortunately). I find that helps. I treat myself with the occasional (now gluten-free) food or drink. You have to do these things sometimes, when finances allow.

  3. I can only side with you on the Depression cause with PTSD is a every day life for me and when some months come around i find my self slipping into a dark place and some times I break down. Been shoved meds after meds and some time for the good others break out a demon I though was long put a way. fighting in war as a christian I had to make a split person in my head and only take on that role when the uniform went on. But with flash backs hitting harder and hard I fear he may come out and not go back in to the box I made for him. So i kinds know the low energy and the pain that can come from Depression. I hope you feel better and find swtor a place where I can fit in and not be me at times

    1. Thanks for taking time to reply Joseph, especially on such a difficult topic as depression. From my understanding it’s not uncommon for army/navy folk to come back and struggle – memories of the the sights/sounds/reality of war are really hard to break free from. But from someone who has never served (and due to Chronic Pain I probably wouldn’t even be able to serve in IT in the armed forces – as they still have to pass fitness tests) – I really give a hat tip to you for serving. It’s just really sad that you have more bad memories as a result. Is there any coping mechanism that works to any degree for you?

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