You probably have heard about the link between fibromyalgia and depression. Why wouldn’t a FM sufferer be depressed? Chronic pain, the underlying illnesses along with the loss of friends, family, career, mobility and sex, to name just a few, almost guarantee depression.
Having to cope with the loss of friends and family because they don’t believe you is devastating. This illness is hard enough to deal with, but to have to go it alone, makes it almost impossible to bear.
Just when you need your friends and family the most, they desert you or belittle you. Being called a hypochondriac or a liar, when you are far from that, is enough to send anyone into a deep depression. Knowing you are telling the truth, but are not believed, is a horrible feeling that can leave you reeling.
Having lost friends because I forgot too many important occasions, or cancelled too many times, makes me afraid to make new ones. I’m not getting better physically, so I don’t think my ability to be a good friend is going to improve as I age. Unless I can somehow control my FM, I’m only going to go in one direction – down.
Is medication the answer for our depression? I was prescribed Prozac when I was in my early thirties, because my doctor thought it would help my horrible periods. I suffered from a few different side effects so I had to stop taking it. My primary care put me on Cymbalta when I was first diagnosed with FM, but the side effects, once again, forced me to stop. I would prefer not to take medication for this. I take far too many as it is!
What can we do to improve our mood and get us out of a funk? Short of a cure for fibro, there are a few methods that may help lift your spirits, without medicating yourself to the gills.
Changing your mood
One of my favorites is a warm Epsom salts bath, with a few essential oils thrown in. I love using a pain relief blend or lavender. Sometimes I even turn on some relaxing music and dim the lights or use candles. I love to soak for as long as I can. Doing this before bed helps me sleep better after a tough day. It also makes me feel at peace.
Finding joy with this illness is extremely difficult, but not impossible. I’ve found great joy owning a pet. Having a pet can be very beneficial for those of us with chronic pain. I have cats because they are my favorite anima, plus they are easy to care for. They love you unconditionally, and some can pick up on your pain and sadness. They are there for you when you need them the most. I prefer my cats over most people! However, it is important to keep in mind that pets are a big commitment and can require a lot of work.
If you don’t have one, find a fibro friend. There is nothing better than having someone to commiserate with. Find a support group. The easiest place to find one is online. Facebook has a treasure trove of groups to pick from. For me, I prefer a closed group. You can say whatever you need without any of your other Facebook friends seeing your posts. It’s a great way to get something off your chest that only the group can see. You also don’t have to worry about being judged or made fun of.
Finding joy and happiness may seem so difficult to attain, that you stop trying to find it. It is almost impossible to feel joy when you feel you don’t have much to be thankful for. I know I have it better than so many others. There’s still so much I am grateful for. Feeling gratitude, in turn, makes me feel joyful, so I try to focus on the positives in my life. It may be hard to find them, but they are there!
What do you do to find joy? Can you see the positives in life? Do you find medication helps you cope with life?
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.