Running a Business with Fibromyalgia and Depression

An interview with Mary Caelsto

Mary lives with fibromyalgia and depression while running her business, Charmed Chicken..

Mary Caelsto is a business owner who has been living with fibromyalgia, major depressive disorder, and anxiety. This article describes her history with these disorders, how she copes and her advice to anyone who is facing these illnesses.

This article does not constitute professional medical or psychological advice.

Mary's history with these mental health diagnoses

Mary suffered from emotional abuse and bullying as a child.

She dealt with depression since she was ten years old. She had also faced aches and pains, which she largely attributed to falling off a horse until her diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Years later, she broke out in hives following a triggering experience, and then suffered from serious fatigue, worsened depression, constant pain, and the feeling of living in a fog. At that point, her doctor diagnosed her with fibromyalgia.

Mary's treatment 

Upon her diagnosis with fibromyalgia, Mary was treated with an anticonvulsant medication that is also used for chronic pain and fibromyalgia, however, with little results. She notes that she felt like a zombie after taking the medication, but one who continued to feel pain. She went without healthcare for awhile because of insurance issues, and found that in her rural community, many doctors do not even believe that fibromyalgia exists. She also has gone without mental health treatment.

She notes that she is self-aware and seeks answers on her own, and often therapists would tell her, "you know what to do," and ask her why she was seeing them.

In her own words, "I self-treat with self-care, a mindfulness practice, and listening to my body."

Mary's lowest point

Mary states that her lowest point was just prior to getting laid off.

Mary stated, "With the pain, the depression, not to mention the violations of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities) act, bullying, and harassment I was experiencing at work…I could not take it anymore. Getting laid off saved my life."

Since having lost her job and starting her own business, she notes that now, "I have the strength to tell those who aren’t good for me to get out of my life."

Dealing with fibromyalgia: Self-care

Mary notes that "gentle self-care" has been the most helpful part of her management of fibromyalgia and depression. She states that fibromyalgia has helped her slow down and listen to her body more, which she is becoming better and better at.

She does not experience depressive symptoms when the pain is under control, and continues to listen to her body and take excellent care of herself. 

Mary runs her business, Charmed Chicken, teaching entrepreneurs who are stressed out and overworked how to create a self-care routine that really takes care of them. She states, "I don’t want anyone to go through what I did, and now I’m feeling well enough to help people."

Mary's advice to anyone struggling with similar problems

"Listen to your body. Know that you are worthy of health, and that you can feel better. If you are not receiving the support from medical professionals, especially if like me you’re in a pretty rural area, don’t despair. There are a lot of resources—good ones—that can help. And simply by listening to your body you can do a lot to move forward."

Mary lives in the Ozarks with her husband, her mom, and a menagerie of animals including a very spoiled flock of chickens, geese, horses, parrots, and her not-so-itty-bitty-kitty committee. Don’t forget the office bunny. From her office cabin, she helps entrepeneurs discover the power of nourishing, lavish self care, so they don’t have to be “chicken” to claim their charmed lives. Learn more about Mary and her work at

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