Georgina Harvey is 28 years old and did not spend a single day without pain in fibromyalgia. Here is your testimony.
When was the last time you had pain?
Anyway, a headache, a shoulder contracture, kidney stones or a toe bump is likely to be cured.
But imagine how difficult it is to get up every day, knowing that this discomfort will not disappear.
This is the life of people living with chronic pain. Many feel frustrated because their symptoms seem to be invisible to others and often people don’t understand and underestimate them. September is the international month of pain awareness and to better understand what it means to live constantly with this disease, BBC Three invited Georgina Harvey, a 28-year-old British woman with fibromyalgia, to share her story.
“It’s as if all the nerve endings have been burned.”
“One morning in July 2016, I woke up as usual, but when I tried to move, I felt a very intense pain running through my body.
It is as if all nerve endings were burned and I could scream.
The smile in the photos does not show the pain that Georgina Harvey suffered every day for four years.
My mother came running to my room, took me aside and stayed with me until the sensation disappeared. We knew I had an outbreak of fibromyalgia, but it is the worst I have known since diagnosis two years ago.
My problem began with the need to stretch my neck when I was 19, shortly after my convalescence.
After that, he developed a tingling sensation in his shoulders and a deep pain in his back.
I thought it was due to bad posture, but at the age of 21, the pain was almost constant.
I did radiographs, blood tests and MRIs, but nothing was seen.
I was given powerful pain relievers and the doctor increased the dose or type when the pain became unbearable.
I described the discomfort as the worst stomach pain imaginable, but in the back, combined with intense chest pressure, as if splashing my ribs.
When the only alternative I had to treat was morphine, they gave me sick leave and recommended a rheumatologist, which led me to a diagnosis.
“The impact was paramount: work, exercise, social life,” says Georgina.
He explained what fibromyalgia is: chronic pain caused by a disorder of the central nervous system, but he added that there was no specific treatment or treatment, but simply ways to treat the problem.
I spent years trying to do the things I was proposing: pills, yoga, swimming, physiotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, but nothing calmed the pain.
Although it was a relief to finally diagnose what was happening to me, it left me devastated to think that it would be something I should live with.
“It’s all about”
Today, the pain has spread to my hips and feet and I have also developed stomach problems.
Daily activities such as talking on the phone, wearing a bra or just sitting in a chair can trigger an outbreak of pain and showering can be exhausting.
The pain gives Georgina an impression of mental weight that prevents her from thinking clearly.
I never felt rested because fibromyalgia prevented me from sleeping and generated a fog wrap in the brain, a feeling of mental weight that prevents me from thinking clearly when I have a lot of pain.
I’ve always been a little shy, but now it’s even harder to have a conversation. Overall, I think that made me an anxious person, because I’m always at the forefront.
The impact was everything: work, exercise, social life. The recommendation they make to me is “continue”, but when I have a bad episode, I can’t do anything, so it’s a vicious circle.
When I make plans, I have to wonder if I will have to stand or sit and how long I will have to leave the house.
Most of the time, if I can, I try to keep going because I don’t want the pain to stop or my friends think I’m sorry.
But often, I have to move to an isolated place, usually a bath, when exhaustion and pain are very strong.
– Handle the pain –
Some things can comfort me, like a hot water bottle or a soft blanket. In fact, I am obsessed with things that generate well-being or are pleasant to the touch, because my body is very sensitive.
I also like to walk, but I have to do it at my own pace. It helps me prevent epidemics and always improves my mood.
Sometimes a hot water bottle helps.
Last year, I quit my job in London in event marketing to avoid the 90-minute trip, which made a difference for my well-being.
Although I never have a totally painless day, some are easier to handle than others. I always remember that there are people who suffer much more than me. My family also encourages me. I live with my parents and they give me a lot of emotional support.
My boyfriend is also doing everything he can to help me, but I feel guilty when my health affects our relationship. Recently, after a romantic dinner, we headed towards the car, but it was cold on the road and the tremors almost made me fall.
For me, it is important to disseminate information on how to live with chronic pain, because every time I say I have fibromyalgia, nobody has heard of the problem and, since it is “invisible,” unfortunately, there is a lot of stigma. People underestimate him and several bosses told me they didn’t understand.
In any case, I understand: I make jokes. I don’t drink when I walk and put smiley photos on Instagram. But these photos do not show that I was under the strongest pain relievers I have, nor that when I go home, I start to cry.
I don’t want my condition to define who I am. Yes, that’s part of me, but I’m determined not to let him dominate me.