Fibromyalgia, Insomnia & PTSD
From Brisbane, Australia
Hi, my name is Naomi and I am a chronic pain, Insomniac and PTSD sufferer.
In April 2018 I was a busy mum of 4, partner and business owner creating my dream life. I was running two small businesses, I was a Freelance Hair and makeup artist and a Personal Trainer.
My dream was to be an online Coach incorporating Nutrition and Personal Training into a one stop shop for consumers all over the world to transform their lives when I was in a car accident and it changed my life forever.
A 3 car pile up; A 4x4 rear ended me and shunned me into a sedan at approx 70 k p/h. Writing off both 4x4's in the process and damaging the sedan in front of me in peak hour traffic in pouring rain.
Initially it started as typical whiplash presents, but over the course of the months the pain and emotional toll on my body progressed and became widespread.
Everyday I was in chronic pain, I would experience these intense dull aches that would just randomly appear in my hands, my knees or my ankles at any given time and with each Drs visit it became clear that this was not temporary but long term.
I had every scan under the sun from MRI's, CT scans, ultrasounds and full body spect scans and nothing would show up, theoretically I should of been a picture of health but my body was telling me different.
Sleeping was and still is hard, I spent many restless nights with restless leg syndrome. For those who are unaware what restless leg syndrome is it is a neurological disorder that effectively makes your body want to keep moving, particularly your legs when you try and rest. I have an urge to pull, move and squirm my legs to stop myself from going crazy. It is the worst feeling in the world.
I spent nights after nights sitting in the bottom of my shower, running hot water over my legs to stop the compulsion and momentarily it would feel ok until you go back to bed and relax...
So I would be up at 2am squirming on the couch trying to watch boring TV instead of being next to my partner waking him up.
This unfortunately still continues so I switch between running hot showers, netflixing, magnesium baths and pacing around the house until 6am hits and it's time to be mum again. Unfortunately this syndrome is just one of many side effects from my chronic pain condition - Fibromyalgia.
I could barely contain information sinking in, concentrate or remember the material I was reading or keeping up with the workload because I couldn't sit still for any length of time due to the pain I experience through the length of my spine.
I pushed through for a few months when I had to throw in the towel and give up my studies, it had to of been one of the hardest things I ever had to do.
I could no longer keep putting myself through hell only to come out the other side worse than I was the day before.
I had nothing, I could no longer run my 2 businesses or study my degree, I was just a mum... A mum who was in pain and had to watch my partner and kids look after me because I could no longer be a provider, my kids and partner became my carers.
As the months passed by so did the treatments; Physiotherapy, oesteopath, Exercise Physiology, medication trials and the list goes on but I finally got to a point where I was feeling ok enough to earn some money and start working again.
Luck happened to fall my way and a good friend of mine was opening up her own store close by and needed staff. I jokingly messaged her saying " Hey if you need anyone for the store I'm keen". We interviewed and I was hired on the spot, she knew my customer service and business background because I was the Hair and makeup artist for her best friends wedding.
Throughout the days, the weeks and the months there were days I couldn't work, I couldn't manage to do the shift, I was medically sidelined and my boss at the time was amazing and worked with me, for that I am forever greatful.
As time passed, my boss moved onto bigger and better things and work changed. I was the longest standing staff member at this store so effectively I knew the ropes and had to lead and work more, I had some flexibility until stores were short staffed and I was called upon.
The strain and pressure on myself started to weigh on me and I cracked, I needed to at least find something that gave me meaning and purpose so I went on reduced hours at the store and took a short shift job at a local gym within the sales/reception department.
I was beaming with joy, excitement and passion. My spark was lit and I didn't feel like the weight of the world was on my shoulders anymore.
For the next two weeks I would juggle both roles over short shifts and use the rest of the week to recover and attend my weekly TCM.
It wasn't until the manager and 2IC realised how quick I was picking up their running platforms and how good I was with the staff and clients that more responsibility and hours were passed onto me that my body yet again buckled under the strain and pressure, I couldn't perform the admin duties of the gym any longer as it was causing to much pain and discomfort. It was heart wrenching, like the rug had been ripped out from underneath me.
In that time I knew it was too much on my body and my emotional state that I had to yet again pull back and concentrate on my role at the Optical store.
The optical store still had me in pain constantly day after day and for the most part I would just push through as I felt like I needed to do this, I didn't want to be another statistic.
November 2019 rolled around and I was offered the chance to apply for a 2IC role but I knew my body couldn't handle working full time and that medically I had only been approved for part time work so I took another alternative that came my way- A role within in a new retail store that was opening up within the fashion industry.
This store was amazing and I loved the vibe, it was totally how I grew up and everything that made me smile and happy.
Advised my boss at the Optical store to work around the hours that I had with both stores and we will make it work. Happy Days!
Soon enough I knew that I couldn't do both, even if they weren't long shifts I knew physically I wasn t well enough so I took my last shift at Oscar Wylee and bid my farewell, Thank you for the 14 months.
Working at Ghanda, was a major vibe! each day I was in store made my smile that much bigger and my heart was greatful for the opportunity I had to make differences in people's lives. You wouldn't read about it but I literally made women's days by helping them look and feel beautiful and strong- there were many tears.
Just after the Christmas rush the store started to get back to normality and the staff dwindled after Christmas casuals were leaving so it ment more work for the remaining staff.
A quiet Thursday had us rather busy with stock and within 3hrs of my shift I was bum parked on a cardboard box and could barely move. Every inch of my body ached and I was so rundown and just fed up.
I was running the shop that day, yet the two staff members who were on with me that day had to work around and with me while I sat on a box trying to do some work.
The shift finished and within the next couple of days I was sitting at my Drs, head in hands crying whilst being told you can't do this anymore you are no longer medically fit to work.
It was hard, it really was and still is.
I visit my Drs weekly, get my TCM weekly when I can afford it, see my specialist 6 weekly and I am now back in Physio.
It is a rollercoaster I tell you!
I wake up some mornings, unrefreshed but ok and start to attend to my kids and the rest of the world and an hour later I'm limping shaking my hands because they are aching so bad I can't grip a pen or a spoon.
Through it all and into the future I have to work on activity pacing, being kind to myself and mindfulness, who would of ever thought that a hard hitting personal trainer adrenaline junkie would sit still and be one with the universe- I certainly didn't!
My life, my world and my family have changed drastically and although there is no cure or control over my chronic illnesses I am continuing to educate those around me with the knowledge and power I have.
I am still a work in progress and I still haven't got alot of it figured out, I still fall down and there are days I just cry because I don't want or can't accept my limitations or burden on my friends and family.
That being said I am still here, I am still fighting and I will continue to study and research to help fight these disease and illnesses.
We are all warriors, stand strong and live your truth as you only get one shot.