Living Well Hero: One man’s positive transformation thanks to an arthritis self-management course

Stuck in a rut. That’s exactly how Quentin Carrick found himself after he was self-managementdiagnosed with fibromyalgia.

Chronic fatigue and pain quickly diminished his ability to complete even simple tasks, leaving him unable to stand for any length of time or drive long distances.

The 47-year-old explained: “If I went for a walk, the fatigue would hit first and then the pain, especially in my hips and knees. I stopped going out because I’d be exhausted by the time I got to the pub. I just didn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. I was lucky work allowed me to do a two and a half day week, but I had no quality of life.”

That was three years ago, and Quentin’s grim situation continued until he enrolled in an Arthritis Ireland self-management course earlier this year.

Learning how to manage his condition triggered a shift in attitude, as he recalled: “Going into the course I hadn’t had one positive thought for three years. I used to run competitively so my idea of being fit and healthy was running long distances. The thought of a three-minute walk was a waste of time, but the course changed my mindset. Instead of focussing on not being able to run five miles, I started concentrating on being able to do a five-minute walk. I now make a weekly action plan and completing it gives me a great feeling of achievement. I also switched to an automatic car which makes driving easier. Previously I would have seen this as giving in to fibromyalgia. Now I see it as something that can help me function normally.”

QQuentinCarrick (1)uentin, from Hartstown in Dublin, is also rebuilding his social life.

“For the last Ireland rugby match I met up with a friend to watch it in the pub”, he said.

“Previously, I’d just not turn up because it was easier than having to explain myself if I was sore and needed to go home early. I’ve stopped avoiding exercise and when I can manage to walk for an hour a day I’ll plan a holiday, something I haven’t done in three years.”

Learning new ways of managing his condition has also given Quentin a huge confidence boost.

He insisted: “I’m a changed man. I’m happy now that I’ll be able to stay in work and I feel so much more positive.”

Arthritis Ireland’s autumn round of life-changing self-management courses gets underway in September. Click here to find one close to you.