Politics Flare My Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Politics Flare My Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Christine Tender Points

This evening, I watched my first televised political ad for a gubernatorial candidate. Listening to it made me sad. Regardless of your political affiliation, I’m guessing that you, like me, found at least some of the last election season distasteful. It affected me in such a negative way that I’m dreading going through the process again. The stress of it all was so intense for so long that it really did worsen my fibromyalgia symptoms. During that time, my IBS worsened and my muscle spasms occurred more frequently.

Understand that I’m not a political person. Although my parents raised me with a strong sense of civic duty that prompted me to exercise my freedom to vote once I became of age, I’ve considered myself “apolitical” for most of my life. It was not uncommon for me to be completely clueless until a week or so before any election. During that last week, I’d give myself a cram course on the propositions on the ballot and learn all I could about the candidates. Before going to the polls, I felt confident I’d made the best choices with the information available to me. But on a daily basis, political issues were not an important part of my life.

The last election was different. I had strong beliefs about what I wanted long before the campaigns began. Those beliefs weren’t going to change, regardless of who said what about whom. Perhaps that added to my annoyance about how much campaigning targeted me each day. With campaigning beginning at least half a year before the election, however, it couldn’t be avoided. I couldn’t turn on a computer, read a newspaper, or watch a TV show without hearing some mudslinging or name-calling. The more time went by, the uglier it became. And I resented it. Over the many decades that I’ve battled fibromyalgia, I’ve learned that positivity is necessary for my survival. The months before the last election definitely weren’t positive!

Adding to the unpleasantness was that one of my dear friends held opposite political views. We decided early on that we would agree to disagree and just not discuss politics to preserve our friendship. That was a huge challenge, and it was stressful. How could you avoid a topic that was in your face every hour of every day? Happily, our common bond of fibromyalgia managed to hold us together.

Throughout those months, my goal in life was avoidance. My family banned the nightly news from our home. I stopped reading newspapers and listened only to music on the car radio. But I still managed to hear reports of immature behavior by people vying for decision-making power that would affect my life. I could feel hatred and see signs of divisiveness in places I’d never seen it before. I was actually embarrassed for our country. Rather than the proud American I’d always been, I seriously considered moving to Costa Rica.

My relief was palpable when the election was over. By that time, I didn’t much care about the results. All I wanted was release from the knot in my stomach and the tension in my body. Some days, I’m not entirely sure they’re gone.

And now it’s beginning again.


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.


  1. Larry F says:

    While no one with fibromyalgia, or any other chronic pain or other illness, will dispute that added stress doesn’t help our condition, an article like this, written as it is, will be perceived by people outside our community as ammunition for the fibromyalgia as psychosomatic, rather than real physical, condition.

  2. Lisa Baker says:

    I am sorry this is true, but happy to have found someone else who reacts as I do, or as my fibromyalgia does rather. I get tense just thinking about being bombarded by what’s on television; it doesn’t help that my spouse is addicted to news. Positivity is essential, isn’t it? I had not thought about it until you wrote those words, but an incredibly large portion of my self care involves just that.

  3. Jackie says:

    People may use this as ammunition that fibromyalgia is psychosomatic but it doesn’t make it any less true. Politics in my family have been horrendous and the stress is over the top for me. It has torn the family apart and from that and other normal stressors with the country, I can definitely say that my issues have doubled in the past year and a half or more. I actually had to stop working during this time period because of it so, again, people can say what they will but it is so true.

  4. Dianne says:

    I have just the opposite take on politics and fibromyalgia. I listened to everything each candidate did and said so that I could make the correct decision based on my own findings and not those of a talking head. I would have flareups of fibro had I not taken the above course. I have 2 sons and 4 grandchildren that I need to look out for and being informed is the only way to fly, IMHO.

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