Taking My Body Back After My Fibromyalgia Diagnosis

By December 30, 2016Motivation

You can work through almost anything if you push yourself.

During the second semester of my freshman year, I started to notice that I was really tired from walking to class and walking up the stairs to my room left me out of breath and winded.

To give you some background, I’ve always been a pretty active and healthy person. I played sports growing up, enjoyed running in high school, and I loved my fruits and vegetables. When I got to college, none of that changed even though life got a whole lot crazier. My schedule was busy and life was chaotic, but I kept up with it. 

Well… until that semester. I thought that maybe I just had a weird bug or virus and that it would get better. It didn’t.

Unfortunately, it got worse. I began to wake up with terrible pain in my muscles and joints. I felt exhausted no matter how much sleep I got. After a couple months of this, I began to realize that something was definitely wrong. My body didn’t feel like it was mine anymore… it felt old, tired, and weak.


After months of going to different doctors and specialists and getting various tests, I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal disorder that affects muscles, joints, energy levels, and the mind. Those who suffer from fibromyalgia experience a variety of pain and constant exhaustion, as well as “brain fog” which effects focus and memory. Fibromyalgia is considered an “invisible illness.” Those who suffer from it may look healthy and be able to function, but in reality they are suffering from what can be tremendous pain and fatigue. The worst moment I experienced was one day when I couldn’t get out of bed. My body was so physically exhausted and ache-y that I legitimately couldn’t leave my bed.

Since I was diagnosed, I’ve tried various treatments, medicine, and natural remedies. At first I was told not to push myself too far physically and to stretch my muscles in the morning and at night. That really didn’t work, so I was prescribed drugs that were shown to help some patients. The problem with fibromyalgia is that everyone’s case is different, so everyone needs a different type of treatment. After a year or so, the medicines did help but I still didn’t feel like the “old” me. I still felt my body wasn’t mine, and I wanted to get it back.

So at the beginning of 2016 I resolved to better myself and my body, doing whatever it took to get there. And I started to go to the gym.

At first, I was intimidated by everyone who seemed to know exactly what they were doing. It was a scary experience for me… I was a workout newbie who’d never really lifted weights in her whole entire life. I felt a little judged and a lot inadequate. There were times that I gave up and told myself that this wasn’t for me.


But thankfully, a friend showed me the ropes. She taught me how to lift right and how to work out and target different muscle groups. She showed me what to do and what to eat to get stronger. She was patient with me, but also pushed me to stay dedicated to it. Once I got a handle on it, I began to work out on my own.

Now I’m at the point where I go to the gym nearly every day. I’m setting PRs and seeing my body change and get stronger. And it’s amazing, really. I feel like I have my life, my body back. I feel like I’m kicking fibromyalgia’s butt one rep at a time.

Today I am happier, healthier, and hella stronger than I have ever been. And it’s absolutely empowering. Just two years ago doctors told me that I probably would never be able to be as active as I once was, that fibromyalgia would always dictate my life. But now I can say that I’m the one calling the shots, not fibromyalgia. I’m doing things that they said I might never be able to. And I can’t explain how good that feels.

I’m not sure where you’re at in your fitness journey. Maybe you’re just beginning, maybe you’re a seasoned gym rat. But my encouragement to you is to never give up. Think of your biggest fitness goals and dreams… I promise you that they’re reachable, with perseverance, a strong mindset, and a willingness to fall at times. There are so many times when I have failed and have felt defeated, but I didn’t stay there. I got back up and tried harder until I accomplished it. Everyone’s fitness journey is unique and different, but they all require hard-work, dedication, a little courage, and a lot of perseverance. I’m cheering for you!

This fitness story was written by Erin Mathews. To see more, check out her blog, Instagram, and Twitter.

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