Fifteen Things To Keep In Mind When You Are Diagnosed With Fibromyalgia
You have been suffering for quite a long time with strange, inexplicable pains. You probably spent a lot of time looking for the right diagnosis and now you got it. Everything now is explained: the unexpected changes in mood, the morning stiffness, the aversion towards some food, smells, noises, places and chemicals, the dizziness and the mental fog that you feel from time to time, the chronic fatigue nobody believes in, the extreme sensitivity to weather and environment condition, not to speak of that horrid tinnitus in the ears, hot or cold flashes, irritable bowels, tachycardia, dysmenorrhea or the acute pains and cramps all over your body. Yet there is a lot more than that. Hereafter you may find fifteen points that is important to keep in mind if you have been diagnosed with fybromyalgia and you are very understandably upset – everything that is written here comes from direct personal experience.
1. FM is not a disease but it is a syndrome, that is, a series of many different symptoms for which a common name was found in early ‘90ies.
Remember: a name is neither a thing nor a being. Do not be scared by a sound or a group of letters. Activate yourself to find out more about FM, read as many points of view about it. Contact other FM patients, exchange ideas, listen to your body and form your own opinion. Always keep in mind that you are more than a group of letters, a lot more than a scientific name, a world more that a malaise. And by all means, do not let anything define you, not even your ideas, opinions and prejudices, let alone your diseases.
2. Scientists disagree on its causes. Rheumatologists see it as non localized form of rheumatisms; psychiatrists see it as a psychic disorder; endocrinologists see it as an imbalance of hormones; neurologists see it as the consequence of the lack of some substances in the nervous system – maybe in the future some other specialist will find a new connection.
Remember: things can look different according to one’s point of view. Try to find the partial truth in all these different opinions without being intimidated by bombastic academic titles and obscure terms. Stick to your personal history to find its causes.
3. Scientists disagree on its treatment. On the Internet you may easily find many different treatments for FM, from painkillers and antidepressants to hormones, from vitamin C and D doses to NLP, from TENS to homeopathy, from massage to biofeedback, from acupuncture to diet.
Remember: different people react to the same treatment in a different way. Find your helping treatment by granting your trust to a doctor/therapist that offers you human support as well as medical competence and helps you become independent from his/her help.
4. Scientists will tell you that there is no cure for FM.
Remember: “incurable” means neither “fatal” nor “necessarily impairing”. You can live all your life with FM and yet achieving excellent results as a worker, a community member and as a human being, provided you take care of yourself every minute of your life.
5. It is proved that FM occurs more easily after stressful events such as a divorce, significant losses, mourning, dismissal and so on.
Remember: nothing can alter your balance unless you let it. Take responsibility of your emotional reactions and learn to cope with your lack of grasp on unexpected events. There are many ways of doing that, find your own. Learn to look for truth in unusual areas of your life: your past lives, your family dynamics, your relationships, your emotional world. Once you have started to look for FM causes, life will give you both plenty of opportunity to look in the right direction and ways to soften thier impact on your life.
6. Traumatic childhood, emotional and physical abuses, extreme experiences shape our ability to have a well balance attitude and cause resentment, anxiety and anger, which remain unexpressed due to social conventions.
Remember: do not put the blame on others for your problems. You and you alone are responsible of how you respond to your life events. Of course this means you must not put the blame on you. Learn instead more about your emotional wounds and on how to heal them by the many opportunity you have got – books, the Internet, films, songs, talks, self-help courses and therapeutic sessions. If you can, try to keep noxious people at distance or to reduce their power on you. Most of all, do not feel unlucky, as “luck” and “hazard” are just names for something human beings are too limited to fully understand.
7. Fatigue is both physical and mental.
Remember: a restless mind affects the entire body. If you are troubled, worried or upset, try to find a moment on your own, where you can find your balance back. You may experiment with conscious breathing, meditation, some yoga or TaiChi or QiQong exercises, acupressure, visualisations singing or just smiling. A few moments in a calm surrounding, far from your problems, will help your creativity to find the right solution for it.
8. Extreme sensitivity and even unusual gifts, such as extra sensory perceptions, telepathy, clairempathy, claivoyance and automatic writing, to name some of them, are often associated with FM.
Remember: such gifts are normal, but our over-rational society find them both threatening and morally degrading. Do not feel overwhelmed, illfated or a freak and do not disregard them as New Age rubbish. Learn more about them – their name, their characteristics, their pros and cons. Confront yourself with other people equally gifted live or on the Internet. Learn what is is like to be responsible of such gifts and integrate them in your everyday life in the most creative and simple way you can think of, so that you can express every aspect of your being.
9. People around you do not understand your problems and blame you for being lazy, dumb or irrational.
Remember: others may not be as sensitive as you. Be kind to them: inform them of your health situation, set clear boundaries and clear, realistic goals and never let their judgements rule your life. If you can, be grateful to these people, as they are playing the villain role in your life to help you see what your weak points are.
10. Your dears ones, but also strangers, can be over-affected by your difficulties.
Remember: love creates intricate bonds. You know more than them, so be honest with them. Explain all your problems but show them that you can be with them with your heart, if not with your body. Share your successes and your failures with no particular emphasis, as normal aspects of your life. If you live with a free and equanimous spirit, you will help yourself as well as your loved ones.
11. If you cannot cope, ask for help.
Remember: there is no shame in asking for help. Your dignity will not be affected unless you yourself feel downgraded and humiliated in doing so. People are generally willing to help, if they are kindly required, as this makes them feel useful and important. Also some medical remedy can be helpful from time to time, if you are really bad.
12. Take care of yourself every minute of your life.
Remember: well being is a lifelong affair for everybody. Eat plenty of fresh, unprocessed food that is free of pesticides and preservatives, drink good plain water, take all supplements your doctor/therapist recommends but try to avoid as much drugs as you can afford to, do as much physical activity as you can, try to stay warm, devote some time to your favourite hobby or pastime, live among people but spend some time on our own. Walk into sunshine and tune into nature to feel life flowing everywhere. Pay attention to your breath. Most of all, grasp any occasion to improve yourself as a human being. A full, satisfying life is built day by day in spite of any circumstance.
13. Things are not what they seem.
Remember: the universe is much more than a bunch of equations. Much of what goes on in the universe fails to be seen. When in doubt, trust your own intuition and common sense in spite of what education, habits and system of beliefs are telling you. When you feel you have not got enough clues, collect every piece of information you can, from what your senses are telling to you to great past and present men’s and women’s opinions, from cultural clues to religious precepts, from the arts to the most unknown person’s point of view: in doing so you will enrich your inner world and will acquire finer and finer tools to unscramble what puzzles you. Diseases, tragedies, traumas are a chance to grow and to become a better person, it is all up to you that also FM works its paradoxical wonders for you.
14. Feel love.
Remember: stay positive and open-minded, even if that costs you a lot. Be grateful for what you have got, even if all you have got is an aching body and a tired mind. These too are chances to grow as a person, if you stay active and calm and free of preconceptions. Many studies offer scientific evidences that an open and trustful attitude can have a huge positive impact on the body and can help improve one’s general condition. This does not mean that you must act like a simpleton from now on: it simply means that you must learn to recognise the fundamental goodness of the universe and get rid of every form of pessimism you acquired due to all your past problems, as mental attitudes prevents people form seeing reality for what is is: a True Masterpiece within reach for everybody.
15. All the above can work for everybody.
Remember: happiness is independent from one’s own situation. If you feel free in your spirit, if you fell love in every moment of your life - love for everything and everybody, in general and in particular- your body will follow in a way or in another and you will feel better, even if you fail to be the one you were before FM. After all, who is always the same?