I don’t have to tell you that fibromyalgia wreaks havoc on our emotions, right? Being in constant pain can bring out the worst in us. But, believe it or not, it also can bring out the best.
Some emotions triggered by our pain are fear, anger, sadness, depression, anxiety, helplessness, hopelessness, or feeling like a failure. Sometimes it feels like the age-old question chicken-egg question: Which came first, the emotional pain or the physical pain?
It really doesn’t matter, does it?
Allow yourself to feel your emotions, but just don’t get stuck there. It really helps to have understanding medical providers, friends who help you have fun times, family who are willing to support and encourage. Good therapists are worth their weight in gold. I know some of us don’t have that, so your homework, if you will, is to begin to cultivate or establish some of those relationships. Will it be easy and comfortable? Probably not. But it will pay off.
Sometimes depression is a separate piece; sometimes it’s a result of the chronic pain, severe limitations, and/or grief from losing who you were and knowing fibromyalgia is currently incurable. If your depression is severe, talk to your doctor because antidepressants can really help. Smiling every time you think of it lifts your mood. Positive affirmations spoken aloud daily also can make a difference.
Fear is a terrifying emotion with which no one feels comfortable. So many fears come into play and I’m sure you can relate to one or more. The fear of healing or not healing. The fear of abandonment and being left to walk this road alone. The fear of people not believing you or accepting your diagnosis and limitations. The fear of being socially isolated, because you sometimes cancel plans at the last minute, or you just stop receiving invitations. What other fears come to mind?
Sometimes our fears can lead to anger. It can be helpful to talk with someone to find healthy ways to deal with anger. Lots of people find release in journaling — no filter needed. I know sometimes it’s hard, really hard, but try not to take it out on the people who care about you.
Please don’t give in to feeling like a failure; you did nothing to deserve this or to bring it on. The fact is we live in a broken world, and yes, bad things happen to us all in different ways at different times. You are not to blame for your illness. You may not feel it, but it’s making you a stronger, more compassionate person. I found that I have mellowed and now I am a much more compassionate listener.
I have a few books I can recommend. If you are interested in learning more, leave a comment or email me. Please share your feelings here, and share this column on your social media so others might benefit, too.
Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.