Fibromyalgia and the Perils of Working from a Home Under Construction


Stress is one of the larger triggers to flares in my fibromyalgia fatigue and pain symptoms. My fibromyalgia (and that roguish fledermausen) is the reason that I work from home. Working from home has really been a godsend for me. The flexibility has allowed me to unwind and unknot some of the kinks that have made my life difficult over the last two years. I’ve had a soothing place to work, and the best office mates ever who offer excellent stress relief on a regular basis. Who doesn’t like a cat snuggle or a five minute break to throw a Frisbee for an overzealous aficionado of fetch?

Mom, I brought you a toy… aren’t you going to throw it? 

Still, working from home has its occasional pitfalls when, for example, your house has been dismantled and reassembled only to be disassembled and remantled again. To match the chaos of my surroundings, my words are in such a confuzzling state of disorder that even Yoda or Caesar would struggle with the syntax. As I’m typing this, I have tile projects half-completed and carpet tufts fraying at the edges and cluttering my threadbare and stained carpet, which is getting replaced April 3rd. The tilers come back this afternoon, and the wood-burning stove is installed on March 29. Oh, and my husband replaced the gutter and did water-management work in the backyard over spring break. Ah, and there’s the seven yards of dirt that was also delivered over spring break… most of which is where it needs to go, but not quite all. Then, of course, there was the foundation work.

In short, my house is a mess. I have people in and out to work on it, and my husband has sometimes needed help with the gutter. I certainly helped move dirt for the garden, though that project isn’t quite finished. Neither is cutting up the sod between garden beds to lay down the weed paper and get mulch in to reduce the time my husband spends mowing the garden. Because I work from home, I have no escape from the dishevelment that is my house. I only get away from the litany of unfinished projects and to-dos when I run errands. Yes, my current escape from chaos involves such weighty tasks as grocery shopping and taking the kiddos to doctor appointments.

If fibromyalgia symptoms can be affected by stress, it’s no wonder that I’ve been an exhausted frayed mess the last two weeks. I want all this work over. I want my quiet, soothing workday back where I peaceably and mostly solitarily plug away at my work with my animals beside me. I also want (and let’s face it, if you saw it, you’d say, “oh honey, that’s a need”) new carpet. It’s always a juggling act, and I’m juggling away. I tackle what I can, and I want to go to bed by seven because my tank has been essentially emptied by 4 or 5. Nevertheless, I mostly persisted.

Luckily, my fibromyalgia flare has mostly been fatigue and has mostly been manageable. On the day I took off work to help my husband with the gutter and moving those seven yards of dirt, though, I crashed. At about 2:00 in the afternoon, a mere two hours after finally getting out of the house, I sat down in a chair outside and felt as one might feel if a vampire had nommed all your blood away. You weren’t quite dead yet, and you sat in a state of numb disbelief, shocked at facing mortality with no energy left to blink in that last moment of life. I went to bed for the rest of the day.

To try to combat the fatigue, I’m attempting to carve out time for myself to do soothing things that I enjoy, such as knitting or making those batches of jellies. In the evenings, I take time to watch movies and allow my body the rest it needs. I’m going to bed a little early. I’m letting myself sleep in longer than I usually do on weekends. I’m also trying to accept the chaos of the home repairs as they are:  blips in my life. This too shall pass.

I do feel a little overwhelmed by all this disorder, and I’m so, so looking forward to it being done. In the meantime, my favorite cat (except of course I don’t have favorites) crawled back into my lap and started purring. Maybe he can tell I need a little soothing and a little stress relief. Yes, this too shall pass. In the meantime, it’s time to get to work… until the tilers arrive to grout the tile.

My regular work-day buddy who helped me write this post.




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