Fibromyalgia warrior, James Langan, suffers from Fibromyalgia. James has added his face and story to Faces & Stories of Fibromyalgia. I am so grateful that James has shared this, as each story told raises awareness and helps fellow sufferers.
You can connect with James by following him on Instagram.
My name is James and I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia almost three years ago when I was 31.
I started developing symptoms of Fibromyalgia whilst I was in recovery from spinal surgery following a back injury. My surgery was a success and I finally felt on the road to recovery after almost a year and was beyond excited to get life up and running again.
However, this was not the case and two weeks into my recovery, my life hit some unforeseen stress which resulted in me having, what I can only describe as, a nervous breakdown. I became incredibly weak, I could hardly get out of bed, let alone walk, and I started developing new agonising pain in places I had never felt before.
These symptoms grew stronger, and I started developing other new traumatising symptoms and pain, beyond something I could never have imagined. Bear in mind, I have a high pain threshold with being covered in tattoos.
I spent months back and forth to doctors, Neurologists, and Rheumatologists, and after a long process of some rather gruelling tests, and through the process of elimination, I was eventually diagnosed with Fibromyalgia … Fibro what now??? I couldn’t say the word, let alone spell it, and furthermore I had no idea what it meant or what it was.
My life had already slowed to a stop following my back injury, but I was set to make a full recovery following surgery, and the plan was to return to work ASAP. However, with this diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, came the advice from all medical professionals involved, that I should choose a less physically demanding job role. Prior to my downfall, I worked in the hairdressing industry. A career of sixteen years with the last ten specialising in the fashion industry, working for a number of designers, magazines, and artists. I had resided working in-house as a hairstylist for a leading fashion retailer where my career came to an end.
Being forced into an early retirement from a career I never thought would end, with the added bonus of being diagnosed with a condition that would affect my life, tore my world in two and I found myself in one of the darkest periods of my life. I truly hit rock bottom with little view of any light at the end of the tunnel whilst not even recognising the person that was staring back at me in the mirror. I felt truly lost and truthfully hopeless.
However, the person I once was could not be defeated, and one day that energy flooded over me, and for the first time in a long time I said to myself, “not today Satan!” I am not, not, going to be defeated, especially by a word that I couldn’t pronounce, hell no!!
I threw myself into my recovery and went down the rabbit hole of Fibromyalgia. I read and researched everything I could on this “F” word that had infiltrated my life and turned it inside out.
I attended health workshops with others from the chronic community and learnt the skills of how to live with a long-term health condition, making the appropriate changes, from diet, to sleep analysis, physiotherapy, and health management.
Along this journey I worked with a wonderful health coach and together we decided to set up my Instagram account, with the main goal of getting the information I was learning out to the community, but also as a primary push function for my own recovery. I am a firm believer in practicing what you preach, and this is keeping me focused on my recovery and wellness. It’s not without its struggles and hardships and I constantly find myself with a new “mountain” to climb, but now I just focus on the goal, forget the bad, and ride the wave.
There have been many things that I have tried and failed on my journey so far, mainly with medications such as Pregabalin, Tramadol, and Codeine. I have also had bad guidance from SOME medical professionals, however these situations only push me to find the correct solutions and answers myself, as I realise that no one is going to do it for me.
To anyone newly diagnosed I would give this advice:
- Breath, it’s going to be ok. There is a community around you that has your back.
- There is a wellness journey out there for you and you can get yourself on the correct path.
- Be the master of your own condition. Research as much as you can, get to know your condition, so you can work alongside each other rather than against each other.
- See what is available in your local community for those living with a long-term health condition, as you will be surprised at what is available.
- You may try and fail at things, but this is all part of the process to get results. Even though at times it may feel like a losing battle, but who goes to battles?? Warriors!
Finally, I have become a firm believer of what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, it’s cliché, I know, but isn’t everything?!
Trust and believe, and thanks for giving this a read.