Housebound and Hopeless

Just before the beginning of the new year I developed what seems to be costochondritis. For those unsure if that’s a condition or magic spell, sadly it is the former. It’s an inflammation of the breast bone causing chest and rib pains, sometimes mistaken for a heart attack. Fortunately for me, my pain was far enough over to the right that I didn’t worry it was my heart, and having a friend that suffers with this chronically I had a pretty good idea what this pain could be.
Since developing fibromyalgia I’ve always had tender ribs, even a small amount of pressure caused an immense amount of pain. I was not unfamiliar to the pain of the constricts of a seatbelt. It was often uncomfortable and painful even if an emergency stop caused the belt to lock, but the pain usually disappeared within 10 or so minutes.
I was travelling to Ireland by coach, and as per usual the prospect of a long trip had my anxiety spinning out of control. “I’ll be fine when we get there.” My catchphrases for such journeys. The cold wasn’t helping my fibro and coupled with the stress, my body was particularly susceptible to pain. Unfortunately for me, our coach had particularly tight seatbelts, at first I worried it wouldn’t fit, but it was the belt, it was so stiff. It took a while to drag enough of the belt over me to click in. I can’t say I noticed the pain at first, discomfort definitely, but I expected that. I’m not really sure what then caused so much pain, did the coach break suddenly? Or did the continuous tight pressure push my discomfort into pain. The one thing I do know, in the weeks following I was taping heat pads to my chest and was not able to lift my right arm up.
Since then I’ve had an electric heat pad over me like a bib and it’s been on me pretty much every waking moment that has access to a plug socket. The pain has been bad, even for someone who is used to daily pain, this was really bad, but the worst side effect was hopelessness. When it was bad I couldn’t use my right arm, my dominant arm. I couldn’t cut up my food properly, brush my hair, dress myself easily and I was pretty much housebound.
My body was in too much pain to do anything but my brain was still in a semi-functional state. I yearned for the times where my thoughts were so clouded with fibro fog all I could manage was a day in bed watching Disney films. This was the ideal time to have fibro fog. But my brain had other ideas. Without any mental stimulation my emotional state was spiralling down. I over thought everything, simple messages from my boyfriend turned into a minefield of hidden meanings. I was paranoid and I’ve regressed back to being afraid of everything and everyone. Talking has become daunting, the outside is scary. I’ve been out a handful of times, always accompanied by my parents and still the internal shaking feeling was always present.
Without jinxing it, today my chest has been a little better, and has taken a back seat to my usual ailments. I’m going back to my volunteer work tomorrow. I’m very nervous there’s no denying it. Even on a good day walking into a classroom full of twenty odd seven year olds is intimidating, but tomorrow is going to be an even bigger challenge. I never realised how much isolation can effect your mental state, I wish I’d never found out to be honest. But now I have, fingers crossed I’ll be me again soon.

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