What most people experience as mild discomfort, I find painful. Much of the time there’s not much I can do about it. Unfortunately, fibromyalgia is the great amplifier. It exaggerates everything — especially pain. But, when there are choices to make, I’ll choose comfort every time.
Take clothing, for example. Every little thing about it bothers me. But, because I don’t live on a deserted tropical island, it’s not really a choice. So I deal with it the best I can.
The most annoying thing about most clothes are their labels. Before wearing any new garment, I wash out the excess chemicals and cut off all the tags. Even the tiniest piece left behind (especially in the back of the neck) will scratch me silly during every wearing until I finally refuse to wear it at all. And because the stitching used to hold those labels in place is sturdier than any other stitching used in the garment, removing it is not always easy. As a result, I own several items of clothing with a tell-tale hole positioned precisely in the middle of the back of the neck.
For years, I opted to go braless. I wasn’t making a statement — although it may have been perceived that way. It’s because I hated that band around my middle. Sadly, the years have taken their toll on “the girls,” and they really do need some support to be presentable. That elastic becomes annoying after about an hour of wearing, just about the time the shoulder straps start digging trenches in my shoulders. Needless to say, removing my bra is the first thing I do when I get home for the day. I often wonder about those fainting couches that were popular in Victorian times. Might they have been designed for ladies with fibromyalgia? It’s hard to imagine how painful a corset must have been if I can barely tolerate wearing a bra.
I wish someone would invent extenders for elastic waists. They’re never stretchy enough for me. The item can fit fine in every other way, but the elastic waist is painfully tight. I’ve been known to slit the elastic on a brand new item, especially if it’s something I like very much and it fits well otherwise. I know I won’t wear it if it hurts. Better to destroy the waist and cover it with a sweater than to let it hang in the closet until it goes out of style.
Speaking of style: Pretty shoes are just a pleasant memory for me. If shoes don’t feel like sneakers, I’m not wearing them. They hurt! I watch women walk down the street in 5-inch heels, and I wonder why they’re intentionally suffering. Yes, those shoes make their legs look longer. But is it worth the “agony of de-feet?” (Sorry, bad joke.) I’ve even seen high heels worn at a park — a place where you go to walk! Perhaps it’s old age in addition to fibromyalgia, but my mantra is: If they’re not comfortable, they’re not for me.
I don’t understand thongs at all. I see the allure for men. After all, they’re only looking, not wearing them. I suppose they make sense in the bedroom (for short-term wear). I’m all for anything that adds to pleasure. But are panty lines ugly enough to justify possible infection and/or hemorrhoids from wearing those painful things/thongs on a regular basis? Not for me! It hurts me just to look at them.
I also cannot tolerate the discomfort of contact lenses. When I was younger and only needed glasses for distance, I wore one contact on social occasions. It was amazing to me that my eyes could adjust to such a thing, but they did. I could see just fine. Unfortunately, that single lens migrated up and under my upper eyelid on three separate occasions. Each time it was a painful, panicky experience requiring assistance from an optometrist. I chose to go back to wearing glasses. The price of vanity was just too high.
Here’s the worst part for me. Even if someone were to invent a drug that was effective at lessening my sensitivity to pain, I probably couldn’t take it. My body is intolerant of most medications. Side effects from drugs are just one more thing that fibromyalgia exaggerates for me.
Unless and until medical research finds a cure for fibromyalgia, I’ve resigned myself to some degree of pain in my life. By utilizing the many techniques I’ve learned, I can usually keep it down to a tolerable level. What I won’t do is add to it by making uncomfortable choices.
Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.