Some Men With Fibromyalgia Use Alcohol
Norman finds that moderate consumption of alcohol seems to work well with his medication to ease his pain enough so he can function.
Although he doesn’t advise mixing alcohol and prescription medications, he is candid about his own use because he knows other men with fibromyalgia will be able to relate.
“For me, I have tried this and have found that only one alcohol seems to help without my having to drink in excess. That is Kracken Rum. Usually one to two shots per day, in a mixed drink if needed, help with the pain. Now, with that being said, being on the medications I am, I should not be drinking at all, however it is a choice I make, to be in less pain and therefore be able to get more enjoyment out of life.”
Men With Fibromyalgia – A Safe Haven for Men With Chronic Illness
Norman’s informational and support-oriented website, MenWithFibromyalgia.com, got its start when its creator began his disability claim. During this time, it was strongly suggested to him that he keep a daily pain journal. Since he doesn’t enjoy writing, he took to video blogging instead.
After sharing his ideas with a few Facebook groups, other men with fibromyalgia suggested that there should be a space where all men with the condition could chronicle their personal journeys through video and written interviews.
Thus, “Men With Fibromyalgia” on Facebook and YouTube was born.
“The site itself is still a work in progress, as with a new job and some personal setbacks, we have not progressed as quickly as I would have liked. However, we are growing, and the goal is to let men, women, and loved ones affected by fibromyalgia know they are not alone!”
How to Be Romantically Involved With a Man With Fibromyalgia
Norman considers himself blessed because he has an understanding wife who has dealt with her share of chronic medical problems including thyroid issues and chronic fatigue syndrome.
For any couple, communication is key, and it’s especially important when you’re romantically involved with a man with fibromyalgia.
“Ask us what we are up to doing; don’t let us roll into a shell of pain and non-communication. ASK us, and don’t tell us we are just lazy. Be willing to be gentle, as there are times even snuggling hurts us.”
He goes on to let romantic partners know not to take it personally. The symptoms of fibromyalgia can make men living with it somewhat unpredictable. This may mean unexpected cancellations of plans and mood swings that can be difficult to understand.
“We hurt, and being around a group of people may trigger more pain and/or exhaustion.”
Norman’s wife’s perspective:
“If you’re living with someone, it’s good to have daily touch-base conversations of ‘what’s on the schedule for today’. As Norman said, he is not always good at making a list, and this helps him identify some of the top things he needs to get done for the day, and reminds him of things he may have forgotten.”
Also, when you’re sharing the household duties, it’s a good idea to talk about what needs to be done and make a game plan as a couple. For example, if your guy is usually responsible for the laundry but doesn’t have the energy to fold the clothes that day, make it a couple’s task. For example, fold the clothes together while watching TV.
“I know that having two of us living with chronic illnesses living together can be frustrating as one has to pitch in more sometimes when the other is having elevated pain or fatigue, but things get worse when we don’t talk about it and work out a game plan together.”
For many men, just the idea of talking about how chronic illness affects their sex life is so unpleasant, they’d consider swimming with sharks as an alternative. Norman doesn’t back down, however. He answers the tough questions so you don’t have to.
Norman and his wife have a loving relationship that includes sexual intimacy. However, since they both live with chronic illness, it can be difficult for both of them to experience orgasm due to a combination of chronic pain and lack of energy.
Afterward, it can take one to two days for Norman’s pain levels to return back to “normal” levels. This is a concern for many men with fibromyalgia, so if you’re facing it, you’re not the only one.
Words of Encouragement for Men With Fibromyalgia
“YOU ARE NOT ALONE!”
If you take nothing more away from this article than this four-word declaration, you will have gained something valuable. You don’t have to go through this by yourself. There are many Facebook as well as face-to-face support groups designed specifically around the needs of men with fibromyalgia.
“If you just think you have fibromyalgia, but have not talked to your doctor, GO NOW. Do not wait, like many of us have, until the total crash! Find help, be it in a doctor, Facebook group, or with family.
Be open about your condition, don’t hide from life, and be open to learning your new limitations, but also how you can enjoy life with these limitations.
Share your story with others, and help raise awareness of this disease for men and women alike!”
I’m inclined to agree. The more we share our stories of chronic illness and pain, the more aware, educated, and open-minded those around us will be.
Visit www.MenWithFibromyalgia.com to get the support and answers you’ve been looking for.
Norman F.S. Hanley
U.S.M.C. Non-Combat Veteran
Fibromyalgia Fighter & Loving Husband
Also on Facebook & YouTube by the same name.
Part-time contributor to Spoon Geeks YouTube Page
and their Facebook/YouTube pages.
Photo of couple holding hands courtesy of Flickr/RichardBH
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