Mood swings

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New member
Oct 4, 2022
I need a little advice and support.

I’ve had fibromyalgia for 6 years now and have recently had a flare up due to stress. I’ve managed to sort out what was making me anxious but it was too late to stop the flare up. I noticed today that I got really anxious to the point of struggling to function (for no reason) wanting to cry all the time and then had a meltdown and started crying uncontrollably. I should note I was also struggling with vertigo which isn’t unusual for me but it is unusual for me to cry about it. I’m normally a very happy person however I do struggle with how anxious I am but never this anxious. I’ve also been doing really well recently with only mild symptoms (and the constant brain fog). I was just wondering if anyone else struggles with mood swings like this. I’ve been crying on and off all day, its not my hormones because I’m on the pill so I know I can’t blame it on that.

If you do deal with this, do you have any tips on dealing with the spike of anxiety and crying spells because I feel terrible for crying on my colleagues (who are all lovely and supportive) and it’s really hard to explain that I’m okay in myself when I don’t look like I’m okay.

If you also have tips on dealing with vertigo/ motion sickness (when you’re not even moving) I would be really grateful. I’ve tried eating ginger candy but should I try travel sickness tablets?

Hi Lizzyloo, and welcome to the forum.

Mood swings are not a symptom that fibromyalgia produces directly the way that pain and fatigue are. But it is not uncommon for people with fibro to struggle with anxiety and depression. When you cannot predict accurately whether or not you will be able to do this thing on that day, when you are often too tired to do the things you want to do and even the things you need to do, when you are in pain, these things will often lead to those kinds of mood difficulties. I doubt anyone here on this forum could say they have never experienced those.

In my advice post (linked below) I talk about how important it is to treat fibromyalgia by taking the entire body/mind into consideration and doing all that you possibly can each day to ensure that you maintain the best health overall. doing this will be very likely to make you feel better and that in turn can help a great deal with mood.

However, those mood issues may still persist. I wrote that post, and I have taken myself from having no life to having a pretty normal one (while still having pain and fatigue and brain fog and all that goes along with fibro), by learning to manage it the way that works best for me. And, I still have anxiety and depression. Now, I had those things chronically before I developed fibro, so I can't say that fibro caused them. For others, those things developed along with the fibro. either way, the management of overall health is the best way to deal with it in terms of prevention.

I also take medication for anxiety and depression, and had been taking that for many years before fibro came along. If you have not tried medication you might think about it. Be aware that many of those drugs have unfortunate side effects and sometimes it is an ordeal finding the one that works for you. And then sometimes it stops working and you start all over. I have experienced all of that, and it's no fun. Currently I am on medication that doesn't have side effects for me and that helps but it was a long road to get there.

When I have anxiety I use one or more of many different techniques you can use to calm it down. You can find a lot of these online. The one I use when it's really bad is to sit still and look around the room and pick out 4 things I see, such as Couch, Curtain, Lamp, Coffee table, and then I look at those and repeat the names in the same order over and over. It grounds me in the present moment, and in the present moment (assuming you are not actually facing a wild tiger or have some other imminent danger causing the anxiety), there is peace. Anxiety is always about what might happen but has not happened yet. If you can get yourself in the present moment and that moment is OK, you can stop it.

Another thing I do is I bought a pulse/oximeter. I put that on my finger and watch the heart rate and concentrate on that and only that, not alowing any other thoughts in my head, just focusing on the numbers, and will it to slow down.

Depression........there are so many things you can do aside from medication. I do many things and I can tell you what I do but you need to find what works for you. Again, there are many ideas you can try.

I have been lucky and have not had vertigo. If you have not had this specific thing checked out thoroughly by a doctor and possibly a specialist then I strongly urge you to do that because it is not necessarily connected to fibro and could be caused by something that is treatable.

You can always come here if you are anxious or down and we will do our best to help. that's what we are here for. You are not alone.

Anxiety/depression often go hand in hand, and are frequent visitors to those of us with chronic illnesses. That does not mean one is a direct symptom of the other, but more a comorbidity, if you will.

I have suffered with mild depression most of my life, with bouts of 'not so mild' in times of extreme stress.
Anxiety has been a more recent visitor..

At my last job, i would have mini breakdowns and start crying.. my boss (not very supportive, btw) kept saying, "whatever it is, leave it at home" - what I could not tell him was that the problem was not at home, the problem was HIM. Kind of hard to leave something at home when home is not the source.

Then came Covid, and anxiety took over my life.. I was terrified to go anywhere.. I chose to stay home, for MY health, and ended up losing my job over it. (turns out that was not a bad thing, really - less toxicity in my life now)

My PCP recognized the anxiety as a big part of my ongoing health issues and put me on meds to help with that part of things.. and yeah, it took several tries with different meds to find one that worked ok for me with few side effects.
I also chose to start seeing a counselor - I was very lucky to find one that I "clicked" with right away.. not always that easy, but it is important. I still have a lot of work to do, but I have better tools in my "kit" now than i did before.. one of the biggest tools is learning to forgive myself for not being able to do everything all at once..

Sunkacola is right that there are many ways of coping with anxiety/panic attacks... finding something that works for you is very important.
She gave great examples of a couple different methods...
For me, i have found that focusing on my breathing works - i tend to want to hyperventilate - especially if i also start crying, so if I focus on slowing my breathing down.. breath in slowly thru the nose, then blow it out slowly thru pursed lips, kind of like you are going to blow out a candle, but very slowly.... focused and controlled.. I can usually calm myself enough to get out of/away from whatever situation caused the attack to start.
There are other methods as well, so if one does not work well for you, try something else.

I dont suffer with vertigo, however, i am still getting the "brain zaps" that started when I came off a medication too quickly, and they do have a little vertigo attached to them.. not bad, but noticeable.
Do you know what causes your vertigo? is it something that can be treated? Have you talked to your primary care doctor about it? If not, i think i would start there - there might be a treatable reason for it.

Just know that you are not alone. Many of us are dealing with similar issues.
Thanks. I’m going to phone the doctors tomorrow if the sickness doesn’t stop. I don’t know if vertigo is really the right word for it. More that Ill, headachy, sick feeling you get with travel sickness but all the time and worse (obviously) when moving. I had this about a year ago when I had another flare up and had to walk everywhere looking at the floor so I wouldn’t feel too sick, it lasted for a few weeks and then went off again. I’m wondering if it’s almost like a migraine aura.

In terms of depression and anxiety, I’ve never been diagnosed with either. I wouldn’t be surprised if I have some form of anxiety but most of the time I have it under control. It might be worth a chat with my doctor about that too as It’s not good for me to get to this state again.

Thank you both for the great advice on dealing with a rise in anxiety like that. I think rather than trying to stop my brain from spinning out of control, I allowed it to and just added fuel to the fire.
it is always worth bringing up to your doc - especially if you have a good working relationship with them.

as far as being diagnosed with depression or anxiety...
i was never diagnosed until i took too many pills once during an extremely stressful time in my life.. in my mid 20s - even tho i had struggled with it on and off since middle school..
the anxiety came later.. much later.. after a mental break (caused by exhaustion) when i was driving truck.. I had been asking to come home for nearly 2 weeks - told dispatch i was tired & needed a break, and kept getting talked into "just one more thing" and we will get you home.. well turned out to be one too many. When i came around, i had no idea where i was, or how I had gotten there... needless to say, i got to go home.
This all happened in my late 30s... and to be honest.. i think this is also when the fibro symptoms started.. very mild at first, but gradually getting worse over time.

No one ever recognized the anxiety (including myself) until I met the provider i currently have.
Vertigo can be as simple as an inner ear infection that is readily curable.
Hi. I suffer with anxiety too. I found mine was getting so bad I self referred for counselling. I also have bad arthritis and am peri menopausal. My gp has put me on hrt patches and they have worked wonders for my anxiety, depression and pains for my no more hot flushes! With vertigo, I have that too. I was medicated for it but now when I suffer I go straight for the ginger biscuits. Good luck x
I have had chronic nausea in my life. One thing that helped (did not remove it, but helped) was a ginger tincture I made using a clear alcohol base and fresh ginger run through a garlic press. Let sit in cool place but not fridge for a couple of week and then dispense with a dropper. You can mix in a little distilled water if you like but not very much. You have to have mostly alcohol or it will go bad....the alcohol is the preservative.

Dried candied ginger is good too.
But beware with candied ginger and the biscuits....they are a lot of sugar and sugar is usually counter-indicated for fibro.
If you're having mood swings maybe you need to relax and exercise more. Some cardio (walking) and water.
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Very interesting to me look forward to replies. Happy New Year hopefully to everyone. Nan x
I do deal with this frequently, but I was diagnosed long ago with social anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder. I'm not sure how much help I can really give you since you did not mention any of these diagnoses. Even with medication, I do frequently have mood swings. I know it will take time to tweak my meds to get the most benefit. But I also cope by practicing gratitude, mindfulness, reaching out to those I am closest to, and awareness that everything is impermanent, including my emotions.
talán a megoldás: keress egy hobbit, amely sikerélményt ad, és sok problémát megold.
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