Laughing and crying, you know it's the same release. Joni Mitchell

Laughing and crying, you know it's the same release. Joni Mitchell

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Put Out the Fire: Fibromyalgia Flare-ups

Fibromyalgia, like a fire, burns whoever, whenever and wherever it can. Like a wildfire, FM can strike unexpectedly, at any time. But how do you put out the fire?

When a major flare-up hit me this fall, I had a dream that I was working at a daycare center when a small fire broke out behind the building. None of the teachers knew how to react or what to do. I shouted at them to get the children out and send them home. Then I grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran outside. I put out the fire but the ground was still hot and flames would start spontaneously. I kept putting out the flames and eventually disaster was averted. However, one of the fathers was irate because he had to come and pick up his child and demanded to know the protocol for emergencies. I was angry with the owner of the daycare for not having a policy for dealing with emergencies.

When I woke up, I was struck by the message: Put out the fire! I had to put out the fibro flare-up before it raged out of control. The women in my dream circle asked me what kind of policies I needed put into place for emergencies, in my dream as well as waking life.

Here is the list I came up with:

  1. Sound the alarm - Listen to your body. My body was sounding the alarm loud and clear through extreme fatigue, flu-like aches and pains as well as acute depression and anxiety.
  2. Evaluate and Evacuate - Evaluate how extensive the "fire" is. Do you need supplements or heavy-duty drugs? Make sure all your "children," whether emotional, physical or mental parts of yourself, are out of harm's way as soon as possible. 
  3. Call for help - Don't be afraid to ask for help. Within a week of the flare-up, I had called on my doctor, my therapist, my acupuncturist and my dream circle for help.
  4. Notify loved ones - I told my family and friends what was happening to me so I could get the help and support I needed.
  5. Douse the flames - Deal with the flare-up before it becomes a conflagration. Through supplements, acupuncture, hot baths, good sleep hygiene, meditation and lots of love and support, I kept putting out the flames until they didn't come back anymore.

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