And I guess that’s way they call it the blues


I try to keep laughing.  I really do. But sometimes it’s hard. I have always had a melancholy streak in my nature, as did my late father.

Lately, it’s been worse. Sadness seems to overwhelm me at times. Is is sadness or anxiety? I am not quite sure. Maybe a bit of both.

I cry so easily lately, it doesn’t take much.  Last night I kept crying in spite of my best efforts to contain it. The tears just kept spilling out, perplexing my poor husband and giving me a throbbing headache and stuffy nose.

I can’t stop fiddling with my hair. I’ve almost stopped biting my nails, so they actually look decent.

But the hair, longer now than it has been in years. is constantly being wound around my fingers. 

 I am always tired. Lack of refreshing sleep is a common symptom of FMS. It’s also a common symptom of depression.  I no longer really know where the FMS sends and possible depression begins. Chronic pain and fatigue can bring on depression. And I’ve been dealing with the pain and all that accompanies it for, what, 17 or 18 years now?

The FMS has altered my brain chemistry, Not enough serotonin. And so the perception of pain intensifies. I take antidepressants to help boost the serotonin levels, but they seem to work better at some times than others. I have a low pain threshold, but high pain tolerance. Sometimes, it still overwhelms me. I am tired of being in pain, tired of being tired.  Just–tired.  My brain is constantly spinning but am I getting anywhere?

I am anxious about my future. No job, no health insurance. A novel I am struggling to complete. Questioning my abilities, my capabilities.



(courtesy of the




About fedoralady

I'm an LA native--Lower Alabama, that is. My husband of more than 30 years and I live here on a portion of my family's former farm with two gorgeous calicos and a handsome GSD mix. My background is art education, and over the years I've been a teacher, department store photographer, sales associate and a journalist. My husband, his business partner and I have Pecan Ridge Productions, a video production company, for which I shoot & edit video and stills and manage marketing. I also still write part-time for the local paper. I love movies, music, art, photography and books, and my tastes in all of them are eclectic.

60 responses »

  1. Fall is coming, too, which doesn’t help.

    I’m sending you all my love (and eagerness to read the novel). I know you can finish the novel, and I know it will be a good result, and that everything you’re learning know will only be a step to an even better one down the road. And we’re all here behind you, nudging you on. We’re definitely in this adventure together.


    • Thanks, Serv. I appreciate your support. 😀 It’s a combination of things that seem to have me down right now. Weather changes and the looming birthday Tuesday probably doesn’t help. 😉

  2. Oh Angie chin up my dear you have an “army” of ladies behind you not unlike RA lol. I know how it feels to be out of work have been myself for 7 months. I have some awful days worrying about loads of things being on my own I think I probably worry more than I should, but your blog always cheers me up no end. Didn’t know you are writing a novel I await this with great anticipation, don’t give up girl Sir Guy needs you!!!!

  3. We need you!! (hope that doesn’t sound selfish) cheer up and yeah having a bday looming can be overwhelming at times, mine wasn’t any better this year, but it’ll pass and for the better. Sure you’ll find a way to finish your novel and hope to read it!! 😀

      • Well, once upon a time, there was birthday cake and ice cream, wishes to come true when you blew out the candles, pretty party dresses, and presents you didn’t expect. Now, a birthday can be just a reminder that you made it through another one, battle-scarred but not beaten. I prefer not to keep count anymore, and for others, birthdays are simply a very good excuse to tell them how glad I am that they’re in the world.

  4. Oh dear! If only you could get a restful sleep that would go a long way in lifting your spirits. I feel sure your novel will be a huge success. Please don’t give up!

    • Thanks, hon. You are right, Phylly, some good restorative sleep would make such a difference, and it is such a hard thing for me to get, it seems. I’m not giving up, I am just going through a rougher-than-usual patch.

  5. I’m so sad that you are feeling this way. It’s like our dear Angie has lost her motivation which I wouldn’t have thought possible. You have always managed to lift us up even when you have suffered so much with your health and other disappointments. You must know that “our little community” is cheering you on just as you’ve done for us so many times.

    When I read your post I immediately thought of this song and have been searching YT for the right version to send you as there are so many beautiful ones. I had thought of the version with the African Children’s Choir but the quality wasn’t that great. I hope the one I finally chose will lift you up as this song never fails to lift me – even though it brings tears to my eyes. You must know you are loved and I pray that this hard time for you will soon pass.

    • Thanks, Teutcher. That is a lovely song and one of my faves as well. Josh has a beautiful voice. I do appreciate everyone’s kindness and support and encouragement. “Our little community” is a very special one indeed. It’s been a tough year, I won’t deny, but I hope things will improve.

  6. Hang in there, dear friend. I felt like I was channeling you today, the blues connecting with their usual thump. I don’t look at it as “depression”, not without the other symptoms that are supposed to come with it. Yes, the pain is overwhelming and the lack of sleep is not helping. (You might want to change meds for the FMS; the antidepressants/SSRIs seem to lose their effectiveness after a year or so. Cymbalta, if you can get it through a patient assistance program, could be a good next step.) Being unemployed is disheartening. Yet the amount of loss and grief you have suffered recently just rises up, along with the anxiety. If you can let it out, I’m sure Benny won’t be so puzzled. I am sending you all loving and supportive thoughts, healing energy and prayers for well-being.

    • I am trying to transition to Cymbalta. Benny got some samples through the doc and I taking a small dosage in morning and then my old med at night. I agree that meds often seem to lose their effectiveness after you’ve taken them for a while. We’ll see.

      I think anxiety is a big part of what’s troubling me now. Anxiety brings on stress, and stress exacerbates the FMS–as you well know.

  7. Hello,

    I found you today through your marvelous “King Under the Hair” video on YouTube. I came here thinking I might meet a kindred spirit, but also found a sister. I also have FMS and depression. While I’m employed and have insurance it just means I can eat, provide for my 4 dogs and have doctors who have no idea what is wrong with me or how to treat it. I swear if I had 10 million in cash I would still be in pain and depressed. Medicine just doesn’t know what to do with us.

    I was on Savella for a couple of years, but weaned myself off since it stopped working…if it ever did. The one and only thing that helps and is very very difficult is regular gentle exercise. I have to drag myself to do it and still don’t do enough often enough, but it always helps and I always kick myself for not doing more sooner. I bought a used Schwinn Aerodyne stationary bike and I ride it slowly. Dancing helps too, I just turn on the music and move in whatever way seems to stretch the muscles. The beat helps lift my spirits too. I do find that 2 or 3 capsules of St. Johnswort is helpful in taking the sharp edges off of my depression.

    The depression make writing difficult. I’m a writer too but for years now answering posts has been just about all I’m up to. I can’t seem to evolve a plot or keep myself interested past the point where I know where the story is going and the ending. I guess since I’ve “read it” I have no need to continue.

    I had never heard of Richard Armitage before The Hobbit. I’m more into the Thorin Oakenshield Effect. He rode up in the trailer and turned to the camera and I was poleaxed…and I swore I would never look at another man after my last marriage. Let alone a man with long hair and a beard like my ex. Well, Richard proved me wrong, so here I am cruising the interwebs for treasures. I have watched “King Under the Hair” several times and sent it around to friends who were equally delighted by it. I have just started to peruse your site and have already found it to be a treat.

    Be gentle with yourself and have some dark chocolate. It really does help. 🙂


    • Jane, welcome to the Poleaxed Club. Even those of us who have already succumbed to the potency of the Armitage Effect, have been blown away by the Thorin Oakenshield Effect. Resistance is futile. 😉

    • Dear Jane,
      I am so glad you enjoyed the King Under the Hair vid. It is one of my personal faves. 😀 And I am so glad you discovered my blog as well. Welcome and don’t be a stranger. 😀

      Re the FMS, I tried Savella for a while, too, but it didn’t work as well for me as I had hoped. One of the frustrations of FMS is that no one course of treatment is good for everyone dealing with the illness. I have got to get back into exercising. I am sure that would help my overall mood and the pain.

      As I have mentioned, the accident last fall really sidetracked me. Because I also have a knee that required surgery and lots of PT, I also have to avoid certain types of exercise (no running, deep knee bends, lunges, squats, etc). But a stationary bike/walking is doable–as you say, it has to be gentle, low or no impact. My days of being able to do high-impact aerobics with a step are long gone, I fear. *sigh*

      On to happier subjects. If you are going to choose someone to crush on, Mr. Armitage and his chaRActers are very good choices. I have said that Thorin would win him many new fans, and I think you are an example of that, being won over before the film even hits the theatres. I love that shot of him on horseback, too, looking back over his shoulder. The man has such screen presence. Thorin may be a dwarf but he’s a regal one!!

      Richard is such an extraordinary talent who is also blessed with masculine beauty, intelligence and charisma to spare. And to top it all off, he is so good to his fans–a gracious, good-humored, modest man.

      Thanks again for commenting and for your words of encouragement.

  8. I’m really, really sorry you’ve been feeling so down…Autumns and birthdays..not a good combination.. I hope you’ll feel better soon! WIsh I could help… but all I can do is send you some positive vibes.. I think you were born to be a writer so don’t give up on your novel even if you feel it’s a struggle at times!

  9. Hang on dear FR(A)iend! You have no idea(and maybe that’s good) how much joy you give to people around you. My girlfR(A)iend ( and your tacid fan) went to the hospital 3 weeks ago(she is very,very sick)and so far there are no conection with her. I can not tell you how much I’m worried about her,Angie! 😦 Please take care of yourself,girl! I’m sendig you hugs and kisses.:*
    PS:IMHO , Leigh’s advice is worth thinking about,Angie!:*

  10. Hi Angie,

    I wish I had a magic cure for you, or that telling you I’m here for you would work (in my experience, it doesn’t) but you aren’t alone. I’ve been feeling down for months now, which is why i haven’t been around much. I cant even remember the last time I blogged. When when I read the blogs and tweets, I just don’t feel like exposing myself and commenting. Depression makes me very introverted and I cant help but wonder who would even care about my opinion. I just sit under my little rock, licking my wounds until it passes. It hasn’t lasted this long for ages and like you, I’m a little worried. Where is the line between feeling low and being clinically depressed?

    Like I say, I wish I had some answers, for both of us, sadly all i can offer is empathy. Just know that if you need to talk, you can email me.


    • Ladies, the DSM lists symptoms of clinical depression including the following: loss of appetite or overeating; insomnia or oversleeping (12+ hours); hopelessness or despair; withgrawal; and flattened affect, among others. It is also characterized by changes in brain chemistry. Grief lasting longer than “normal”, apathy, and suicidal thoughts are also indicators. In my experience it is also characterized by a kind of numbness, a helpless spiral into an abyss. These are the things that should send you in the direction of a doctor fast.

      On the other hand, when most docs take a history, they ask questions that don’t address normal responses to life events, when we should feel sadness or grief and work through them. As someone who has FMS myself, I have raised my voice to an MD before now. Pain does not make me depressed; it makes me pissed! I don’t have a “sleep disorder”; the damned pain wakes me up! “Lack of appetite”? Well, do you want to eat when the pain is making you nauseous? ARRGH! Does this look like “flattened affect “to you?!!

      • BTW, gabapentin (tradename = Neurontin) was originally developed as an anti-seizure med, but it works on nerve pain, exactly the kind of pain you get with fibromyalgia. The drug is a precursor to Lyrica, which is quite expensive with some tough side effects. Gabapentin is cheaper and if you tolerate it well, it could be just the ticket. The key is getting the dosage right and tolerating it well; if it knocks you flat, obviously it’s not the right choice.

        • Thanks, Joanna. Your mom is right; the only trouble is that when these types do get hit, they’re the patients from hell. I have known a couple of private-duty nurses who wouldn’t take an assignment with a doctor as the patient, and these are tough women who’d take on alcoholic lawyers and the like.

    • Hey, Cat,

      Thanks. Empathy means a lot. Sometimes we just don’t know what to say or what the answer is, but knowing someone else has an understanding of what we are experiencing is important. I hope things improve for both of us. *hugs*

    • I’m so sorry that you are feeling bad. Since you asked about the difference between ordinary feeling down and clinical depression, and others have mentioned depression, I am posting this list of the manifestations of clinical depression, as described by Kay Redfield Jamison in her book AN UNQUIET MIND. In 2009 I was like this myself and did not realize how ill I was.
      1. Tortuous thinking, negative thinking.
      2. Can’t understand what you read. Nothing makes sense.
      3. Can’t remember what you just read.
      4. Nothing is interesting, enjoyable, or worthwhile: anhedonia. (I hadn’t yet found RA.).
      5. Frequent thoughts of death.
      6. Feel totally exhausted. Can hardly get out of bed in the morning.
      7. Ordinary activities take twice as long. Wear the same clothes.
      8. Too much effort to make decisions, even simple, familiar ones.
      9. Avoid people. Dread talking to friends.
      10. Horrible restlessness-pace back and forth.
      11. Obsessive thoughts of suicide, and/or plans, attempts.
      12. Others can’t tell how bad you are. You conceal it, lie easily.
      13. Others don’t notice your despair. (Or they are uneasy and want to get away from you.)
      14. Profound sense of dread about getting through the day.
      15. Sit for hours doing nothing.
      16. Overwhelming sense of inadequacy, fear, and shame.
      17 Dread answering the phone, or stop answering it altogether.
      18. Feel totally unable to ask anyone for help.
      19. She didn’t understand that she was ill.

      I also lost 40 pounds in one year because my senses of smell and taste became so heightened that ordinary smells and tastes became intolerable, especially salt, sugar, and spices. None of the doctors had heard of this, and they put me through a whole cancer screening. I recently found out that this change in taste and smell is indeed a symptom of depression, from the director of the Mood Disorders Clinic at Johns Hopkins.

      Depression must be taken seriously. According to Dr. Jamison, it has a 30% death rate from suicide. People with an artistic temperament suffer from it at higher than average rates. She has written a whole book on this.

      • Thank you for sharing this, Lynne. I am glad things have improved for you. I have often thought about how artistic people seem to have a greater tendency towards melancholy, extreme behaviors, substance abuse issues.

  11. Thank you so much, everyone. I do appreciate it.

    My Callie is providing me with Kitty Therapy at the moment, her prisitine white paws stretched across my chest as she props against my side, gently purring. I will reply to everyone later when I don’t have this particular laptop in addition to my other laptop.

    Bless you all.

  12. I’m so sorry to hear about your downswing Angie! It’s so hard to keep going sometimes. Your blog does help a lot of us to do just that. Some times it’s the only thing that puts a smile on my face. I hope that the above outpouring of love and concern helps to put a smile on your face. I’m so glad that Callie is there to purr for you. Kitty Therapy can do wonders. 🙂

  13. Angie, so sorry to hear you are down. Be kind to yourself. You have been through so much, and the lack of sleep and FMS certainly wouldn’t help. Change of life (if apropos) brings emotional upheaval as well.
    Hang in there, sweetie.
    Sending you love and healing thoughts. *hugs*

  14. Angie,
    This is the first time I have commented on your blog, but I have been around the RA blog world for one and half years just sitting in the shadows. I am a shy person and it takes me a bit to come out of my shell. I have been reading your blog off and on since the beginning and have enjoyed your videos on YouTube since the start. I have started to comment on other blogs now too. Once I get to know people I am not so shy.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you at this very hard time. My oldest son will be 21 next Wednesday and also is with out a job and has been for almost 8 months I know he has been depressed and since finding a job is so hard, every time he don’t get one my heart breaks for him. My birthday wish for you is that you are able to finish your book and to find a job. Pets are great for being friends and just knowing when there human needs some love. The sound of a purring Kitty.

    • Dear Katie,

      Thanks for commenting and for your good wishes, and I hope you will feel comfortable jumping in now and again. I try to keep this a friendly and welcoming place. 😀
      My Callie is a very supportive little cat. 😉 I can believe the studies indicating that cats help lower blood pressure. There is something very soothing and calming about the delicious sound of a cat’s purr. And best wishes to your son in his efforts to find a job.

  15. *hugs* *smooth dark chocolate*
    It would be better in person, but I hope the virtual version helps a little bit.

    Please know that lots of love is coming your way from my little spot on Earth, combining with that of the rest of his Army that knows and loves you, cocooning you in a safe, soft haven.

    Encouragement is heading your way, too, for the novel — I am looking forward to proudly and enthusiastically waving my copy around and saying “This is my friend’s fantastic novel. You *will* buy a copy now.” 🙂

    Kitty Therapy goes a long way to helping. Callie knows how to take good care of you.

    *hugs* (because one can never have too many)

  16. Dear Angie, I am so sorry that you have so much bad stuff to deal with. Depression is an illness that is very poorly understood by people in general and also by the medical community. I learned this the hard way, when, in 2009, a combination of difficult life events and family problems, were layered on top of several malfunctioning organs, involving a fair amount of pain, difficulty walking, and constant general discomfort, all of which threw me into a severe depression.

    At least we know now that depression is an illness of the brain and not a character flaw or personal failing, and certainly not the fault of the sufferer. An excellent book to read is: AN UNQUIET MIND, by Kay Redfield Jamison. It her own personal memoir, a coming-out story of her struggles with manic depression. She is co-author of the standard medical text on manic depression, and she now teaches in the Johns Hopkins University Medical School. She is a great person who has turned her illness into her life work.

    Other things that help, although they can be hard, are: take a 30 minute walk daily, and take advantage of every opportunity to have personal contact with people. Here, our virtual community leaves a bit to be desired. We all want to come over with love and hugs and encouragement and a big pot of chicken soup, but all we have is fingers on keyboards, plunking out bare words. Better than nothing.

    Here is a story that I heard on a trip to Oxford, UK. The facts of the life of Sir Thomas Bodley are on Wikipedia: born in Essex, Oxford scholar and linguist, teacher, administrator, then MP and diplomat. At the height of his career, his diplomatic mission failed and he returned home to England, feeling disgraced, a failure, on the wrong side politically, no longer accepted, and with nothing to do while at the height of his powers. He was 53 years old, (not young in 1598), when, in order to fill up his time, he began the work for which he would become known and admired for four hundred years. The Oxford University Library had fallen into horrible disaray, and he began putting it back together, making huge contributions to the library that bears his name, the Bodliean, to Oxford, and to librarianship in general. Not bad for an old, played out, failure of a diplomat.

    Life can take strange turns. Bon courage! We’re all rooting for you and visiting with our smiles every day!

    • Coincidentally I have been reading Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy and the first book begins in the Bodliean Library 😀 Great story abput Sir Thomas.

      I know being out of work had isolated me to a certain degree because we live in the country with no close neighbors. The accident last fall put the kibosh on my driving (or even riding) for a while. If I hadn’t had the internet I suspect I would have gone slightly mad. Now that the weather is moderating and the snakes (hopefully) not so plentiful, I can get out and do more walking. I also look forward to being able to take part in more activities in the community I missed out on last year.

      • Tall boots, a good jacket, and take the doggies with you when you go walking. Maybe Benny will come with you and bring his sidearm. Most snakes shy away from humans, but the type you;ve got seem to be aggressive and very dangerous.

        I hope you’ll be able to do more in the community, too. I know that when you were working, that was a big part of your life, and when the accident happened, that got severely curtailed.

        Happy hair-fixing! I hope it’s the mood lifter it should be.

        • I’ve been trimming here and there on my bangs, but it needs a good going-over. Not a moment too soon! Yes, I definitely keep my eyes out for snakes. On occasions when Benny hasn’t been able to cut the grass ans it’s gotten too high, I just won’t walk through it by myself. ONe person in the family getting bitten is quite enough.
          Yes, I think it will be good for me if I can be a bit more involved in things in Greenville, definitely.

  17. Angie,I´m so sad to learn about your health,these days . Sending you the best energies and I wish that these bad days pass soon. I know that when you’re depressed, nothing excites us, but try to do as someone said here. Physic exercises is a good starting. Walking is a very good thing for body and mind. Choose good songs to cheer up you in this task.Invide Ben to go together this with you or another someone else.Sometimes the simple fact you go out of home is already a good changing. Check with a doctor if your meds are appropriate.Maybe a bit change in them can bring good results. Stay well soon !

    • Thank you, Tereza. 😀 I will be getting out some this next week, including a MUCH-needed visit to the hairdresser, which no dbout wil improve my mood, as I am tired of looking at my white roots. 😉

  18. Dear Angie, unfortunately you live pretty far away from where I live..and there is even a little bit of water inbetween…. Otherwise I could just come visit with a huge bunch of flowers, just to let you know that I like you so much. Flowers never fail to brighten my mood……
    What you tell sounds horrible and I kinda understand how you must feel. It helped me the last years to somehow ignore all this emotionally dangerous days like my birthday or Christmas…. I’m roughly the same age as you are and there is only a chance to survive this „madness by laughing at it“ 😉 and to rely on all our feelings that are so lively inside us (such as this strong desire we were reading and talking about recently here on RAblogs. Even if I still don’t know exactly whereto with all those overwhelming emotions!) Hopefully the „Highwayman“ can be a helpful gentleman (going on a stroll with you!) and thereby be a kind of remedy to set you up a bit….Sending you a smile…

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