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Arthritis and Fibromyalgia

Category: disability, Flexible Working, IOPC, Independent Office for Police Conduct, Invisible Disability, Health, Physical Wellbeing, Invisible Illness and Disability Week, Working from Home

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Arthritis and Fibromyalgia

When I was finally diagnosed with arthritis in my spine and fibromyalgia after years of apparently unconnected symptoms, I actually felt an enormous sense of relief. I finally felt vindicated in my belief that something wasn’t right. "At last they will be able to fix this and I will be back to normal". I guess I had a naïve, misplaced confidence in the ability of the medical profession to cure everything.

The diagnosis proved to be just the start of another phase of my journey. Reasonable adjustments, side effects of medication, and judgments from people were just some of the issues I had to deal with. This, alongside the varying symptoms ranging from, but not limited to, widespread and extreme pain, stiffness, IBS, extreme fatigue, cognitive difficulties and poor sleep patterns, meant I was struggling even more to manage various aspects of my work and personal life.

It took a while for me to come to terms with having a chronic condition and the fact that this was my new normal. I was referred to a six-week pain management course, which really helped me re-evaluate both how I viewed my conditions as well as my ability to cope with them. I finally accepted the fact that the conditions were here to stay. Some days would be better than others, sometimes I would have to face flare-ups of the various symptoms, and I would face constant struggles with pacing myself to ensure tasks were completed. These were just facts that I had to get used to. Once I arrived at this point, things improved as I started to use various tools to help me manage the conditions. I accepted my limitations while resolving to do my best within those limitations.

Written by F. Khan, L&D Officer

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