April 10, 2019
Fibromyalgia is a painful condition that results in widespread muscular pain throughout the entire body. It can be felt in many ways, such as a deep ache, a numb and/or tingly sensation, or like your body is on fire. It affects women far more often than men and can be truly debilitating.
In addition to the physical symptoms a person experiences, there are a lot of emotions you may experience as well. Here is a list of the top five Emotions you may find yourself facing when you receive a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia or if you have been living with Fibro for quite some time.
No matter how long you’ve had Fibromyalgia in your life, you may have a current of anger still running through you. Anger at the pain, anger at what you’ve lost and anger at what you are missing out on for now and for your future. Anger is a tiring emotion though and the longer you hold on to it, the deeper in burrows into your soul. Try to find ways to release the anger. This isn’t something you’ve brought onto yourself. You didn’t ask for this condition, it just happened. Acceptance is the key to releasing anger. By accepting your condition, you take the power of anger away, and you can move forward to a new normal. You can’t change what’s happened, but by accepting that this your new life, you can begin to adapt to it, making the necessary changes to making living with Fibromyalgia as easy as possible.
Sadness usually comes after anger disappears and you realize what you have lost. You may have to give up a job you love or activities that mean a lot to you and find a new way to live your life. Once you’re over the anger at this, sadness is what’s left behind. Take some time to grieve the past, because this truly is the mourning stage. Treat yourself gently and with great care. Don’t rush to make decisions about your future at this point, just recognize that things are going to be different, and that’s okay. Different doesn’t mean bad…it just means different.
Guilt usually follows sadness because this where you start to realize how much your life has changed and where you are no longer contributing in the same way you did in the past. If you are unable to work any longer, you may feel guilty about no longer contributing financially. You may not be able to do as much around the house when it comes to chores and things and that can also cause guilt. Guilt is a tough emotion to deal with because we take it so personally, instead of seeing it objectively as we should. Remember, it’s NOT your fault that you have made these changes in your life. It’s because of your condition, not because you’ve arbitrarily chosen this new life. Keep that in mind and that will lead to the healthy path of acceptance.
Acceptance is where we finally realize that what has happened is beyond our control, and now we have to make the best of our new situation. It’s when we’re able to move beyond guilt, realizing that we are not responsible for what’s happened, but our Fibromyalgia is. Acceptance also allows us to utilize the help of others who offer their assistance, whether it be meals, cleaning, driving us to appointments or the myriad of other ways that people reach out. Don’t be afraid to accept the generosity of others – if they are offering their help, they genuinely want to be of service to you. Don’t be afraid to say yes.
Believe it or not, you can actually find joy in having a condition like Fibromyalgia. If you do have to leave work, it can have positive benefits to your health and you may find yourself feeling better physically and mentally. Short and Long Term Disability can help fill the financial gaps if you are eligible or there may be other financial options available to help you. After a time, you may find you feel well enough to enjoy some of your previous hobbies that may have fallen by the wayside. You may even take up new hobbies or start to volunteer, taking into account your health and your schedule with doctors and various medical appointments. One new field that is becoming quite popular is Patient Advocacy, where you act as a Patient Partner with Health Care Partners when they need the voice of the Patient in their engagements. Check your local hospitals or Health Authorities to see if they offer this type of program.
Fibromyalgia is a lifelong condition, but it doesn’t have to rule your life. As you go through the various emotions and work through them, you may be surprised to discover that Joy is the ultimate end state. It’s hard to believe such a thing is possible when you are in pain, but it’s true and it’s achievable.
Remember, if you are struggling with emotions, it may be wise to seek the support of your doctor or therapist for further help. There is no shame in asking for help. It’s the smart choice when you’re not able to manage on your own and sometimes, it’s the right nudge to get you unstuck. Everyone has the right to feel good. Even with Fibromyalgia.
About the author:
Pamela Jessen lives in Langford, BC Canada. She is a blogger who writes about Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Invisible Illness at pamelajessen.com She also writes for The Mighty, PainResource.com and various independent publications. Pamela is also a Patient Advocate with the Patient Voices Network in BC.
She sits on 4 committees and one Provincial working group and has also been involved in advocacy work at the Canadian National level as well. Pamela is married to her amazing husband Ray and they have one cat named Dorie.
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/pamelajessen
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