I have recently been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and been given pain killers for during the day and another for night time, I have taken up exercise and I struggle at work with my day to day jobs but my work nurse is helping me with reduced hours. Sometimes i feel so tired I don't go into work and I feel really guilty for it.
How do people cope and deal with this when your work collegues or family don't understand
This is a really tough one! I have also recently been diagnosed with Fibromylagia. At first I was relieved to have an answer, FINALLY! But now I'm dealing with the emotional side of things, the acceptance that I will have this condition for the rest of my life.
I found it hard to relate to my family and friends regarding this. I mean how do you explain to someone that every muscle fiber, tendon and ligament in your body can ache at any given time and for whatever duration AND still expect them to believe you. So I decided to do as much research as I possibly could and spoke to each person who I felt this may affect and explained to them exactly what I go through on a daily basis and have been for years. Every friend and family member MUST support you even if they do not understand what you go through. They must help you cope with it and deal with the challenges as well.
I do not think that pain killers are the only meds you should be taking. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, maybe ask your doctor's opinion on muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory medications. I also find that medication that relieves anxiety and depression helps to take the "edge" off and aids in restful sleep which is of the utmost importance. I find that with light to moderate cardio-exercise that is of low impact to my body e.g. walking aids in restful sleep, not to mention the fact that you feel great due to the endorphin being released.
You must realise that when you inform your employer of your condition, it is not an excuse to slack off or to be treated differently. You need to make sure that they know you are still dedicated and hard-working but that you may have different needs when it comes to stress management and having sufficient time to rest in between shifts for example. As long as you provide a positive front when telling your employer, it will put their mind at ease. Have an action plan ready. Try not to just go to them with a problem but inform them of your potential solutions and keep them up to date with your progress.
Lastly, I find it helps to keep a journal to "log" my daily/weekly experiences both in the working environment and socially. Let's face it, with this condition we have bad days and we have good days. Let the people around you know when you are having a bad day - this will prepare them and they will appreciate the fact that you took them into consideration as well.