Wednesday, May 12, 2010

National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day (Mood Swing Question)

To all my Fibro Mates and their Mates and their children!

You're in my thoughts today.

I've been around blogging under a pen name, spreading the word in honor of Fibro, and I hope you all have found a way to do the same.

Today's letter comes from Francesca.

"Dear Gin,

How do you handle the mood swings with your children?"

Like many answers, this one is best solved by observing yourself. Start up a mood journal with a few simple questions at the beginning.

What medications do you take on a regular basis?
How many hours of sleep do you get and do you feel rested?
Do you take naps?

Then start documenting your days:

-How do you feel when you wake up?
-How do you feel around meals? Any foods trigger irritability? (Sugar and carbs are known to.)
-How is your pain level when you notice yourself feeling down and blue?
-How is your pain level on your upswing? (Sounds like a no brainer right? But sometimes, Fibro Mates pain DOESN'T influence their mood because we're so used to it. I've also noticed at times that I'm crankier when I'm not feeling bad pain, almost as if I expect it to be coming and I'm calmed once the familiarity of it returns.)
-What is said or done when you notice yourself get snippy?
-How do you feel before bed?

Things to keep in mind:

Medications amplify irritability.

Not on medications? How long has it been? Detox takes a while. For me, I'm not myself until I've been off narcotic pain killers for over a week, possibly more.

Lack of energy makes us more snippy, too.

Possible fixes:

-Detox. (If you're on pain medications and you just can't seem to control your outbursts, wean yourself off of you narcotics. Talk with a doctor about this before hand so that you know what to expect. You'll have trouble sleeping and severe irritability at first if you decide this is a good option for you.)

-Awareness. Once you become aware of how quickly you snap off to loved ones and friends, you have to try to run interference on yourself. Go to a bathroom and take a moment to talk yourself out of your sour moment.

-Explain. Tell your children that some of the meds you are on and/or your condition makes you say and do things you don't always mean. Also explain that it will not be an excuse for them to disregard your authority but if they feel you are being overly harsh, to talk through the issue with you.

-Find your triggers. By keeping the journal, you can find out what sets you off. For me, a big one is not being able to find something I *JUST* had in my hands. I snap.

-Find ambition. Happiness is hard to come by, so we need to find a goal in our lives that will make us happy. Something we can actually work toward. There's nothing wrong with having the goal "finding the cure for Fibro" but for your sanity, shoot lower. "I want to help someone with Fibro" or "I want to take a trip to Australia." Your ultimate goal can still be "I want to cure Fibro" as long as you have other goals to drive your ambition.

-Find Energy. With Ambition you need Energy. For me, I find energy in forced exercises (yes I have to force myself most days), acai berry supplements, B vitamin complexes, and simple determination! Try everything until you find something that gives you a little more zing to your day. Some Fibro Mates find this in their medications, but I do not.

I hope, Francesca, that you find a way to curb your mood swings, but you have to also learn to forgive yourself, too. We all snap off some times and though we feel like hell afterwards, we just have to be okay with who we are in the long run. Try to make amends, try to talk reasonably, and hope for understanding from those around you.

All my best to you and everyone,