Fibromyalgia is one of several “presumptive” conditions for Gulf War veterans
Written by Cinda Crawford
(HealthMattersHow.com) - Are you experiencing overwhelming Fibromyalgia? See why today’s post of Top 10 Fibromyalgia Fears is so important if you or someone you know is suffering and languishing in the depths of the illness.
No one is arguing that your life is a long ways from being normal, but you don’t have to live with Fibromyalgia fears.
Probably… at times… lots of fears hold you hostage. Some of the major culprits are listed below. Let’s take a few moments to look at them honestly and under the microscope of common sense. It’s may be tough, but be honest about what you really feel. In doing so, you may gain a sneak peek at a better quality life that lies ahead.
Fear #1: You not understanding Fibromyalgia. With Fibromyalgia being such an expansive and confusing illness, it’s easy to see why you do not understand it or know all there is to know about it. To date, no one has a handle on all of the implications of the illness. And because you don’t, you naturally feel the emotion called fear. For our purposes today, that’s fear of the unknown.
Here’s a short exercise to prove to you the dynamics of this fear. Take a moment to see if you feel that uncomfortable, fear-based emotion in the pit of your stomach. Take a deep breath and blow it out slowly. Is the fear there? If you feel it, know that the emotion of anxiety is in large and in charge, probably exacerbating your illness symptoms right now! Fear of Fibromyalgia can be very scary. It can make you doubt yourself, your health and your future. What is the bottom line for this fear? You worry that you may never have a good handle on understanding or managing Fibromyalgia.
Fear #2: Other people not understanding Fibromyalgia (or you). It’s common for other people to be confused about the illness: people including your spouse, your children, your peers, the people you work with… gee gads, even your doctor! If a person only sees what’s on television advertisements 24 hours a day, they think you simply hurt and that all you have to do to fix your problem is take a pill. “Hey, take your medicine and stop complaining!”
Fear #3: Your health getting worse. With Fibromyalgia not only do symptoms come and go, but new ones seem to crop up all the time. You begin to wonder if everything that you experience is another manifestation of the illness -or- if you’re coming down with more illnesses and you’ll have to deal with them, too. It is possible for your Fibromyalgia symptoms to worsen, but more likely, you feel worse because of a) you’re not emotionally dealing with the degree of illness you have, b) you’re gaining more symptoms from other illnesses, c) you’re going through a general deconditioning process in your body, and/or d) there are age-related factors in play.
Fear #4: Staying so sick. You may be at a level of profound illness that is getting tough to deal with. You’re immobile much of the time. Part of the day, you’re in bed. As you struggle to live any part of a normal life, everything is getting harder to accomplish. You even may be worrying that staying sick with Fibromyalgia is your future.
Fear #5: Living everyday in pain. People who live with long term, Fibromyalgia pain have a chronic pain condition thought to be caused by overstimulated nerves. The nerves mis-fire or fire too easily, ending in a cascading pain syndrome that can easily spiral out of control. (Doctors sometimes call this “ratcheting up” the pain.) Even without knowing all the science, it’s not hard to understand how too much pain is an enemy of good health. Pain is the body’s alert mechanism: “Stop! Something is wrong!” [Note: Medical research tells us that people who suffer with higher degrees of long term, chronic pain actually have lower tolerances to pain (i.e. pain thresholds), not higher ones.]
Fear #6: Feeling lost in brain fog. Brain fog is a common symptom of several illnesses, but it is often mentioned in relationship to Fibromyalgia. I’ve written about the topic of brain fog. Put the term “brain fog” in the search engine box on this website and research away. You will find several reference posts.
Fear #7: Getting more and more disabled. No one wants to be disabled, yet people with unrelenting Fibromyalgia usually can sense if they have passed a certain point and the threat of disability looms large in their future. If you’re are at that point now, remember these two things:
a) Today Fibromyalgia may be incapacitating you to the point of wondering if you should apply for and go on a disability status. Even so, know that at some point in the future, you may be able to improve. You can be one of the people who comes off disability! The key is to never give up. Don’t assume that you’re better off staying on disability simply because you fear the future and what it might mean. Start working today to prepare yourself for resuming normal health. Get ready to enjoy life again.
And b) Fibromyalgia is not a death sentence. The illness itself carries no risk of death. Surely some people feel so despondent that ending it all may seem more advantageous than living through it, but that is an emotional/ depression issue which can be addressed by health professionals.
Fear #8: That your symptoms will never resolve and you will be forced to live out your last days and moments in unrelieved, excruciating pain and agony. For many people, this is an all-too-real fear. They have pain now that can be almost unbearable. How can they hang on if it continues or if it gets worse? My suggestion is that you will benefit by stopping this type of thought process. This is what is called catastrophe thinking. It will only serve to escalate your pain level and to usher in full-fledged depression. There are many things that you can do to help relieve your pain today and many of them are discussed on this blog and podcast, the Health Matters Show. *Take a look at the exclusive resources mentioned below. With training and special work, it is possible that “you” can learn to stop this type of negative-thinking process and begin to heal.
Fear #9: Losing the life that you love. So many people with Fibromyalgia cannot keep up the routine (the pace) that they had before getting sick. As a sufferer, if you have to give up a piece of yourself here and a piece there, do you risk losing the vibrant life that you loved before illness? To many people, this is one fear that hurts the worst and can be the most incapacitating. Yes, the physical battle is horrible, but they can live with it. However, the mental struggle is constant and can wear a person down.
You fear having to give up everything you’re worked for in life and that can seem like an unconscionably high price to pay.
Fear #10: Never achieving the “life” that could have been. If you fear that your “old” wonderful life is gone and you have little to no chance of reclaiming it, you’re feeling a mighty big fear and a profound sense of loss. In this circumstance, that feeling is perfectly normal, but it doesn’t have to rule what you do or how you feel from now on. There is help for you to feel better and reclaim your life. More on these points below.
All of us want to be healthy, but more than that, we all have hopes and dreams. If you were allowed to grow into a mature adult before Fibromyalgia descended upon you, you had dreams and aspirations of who you want to be, what you wanted to accomplish in life and how grand your future would and could be- long term. Today you may be doubting that you’ll ever see those dreams come true. That vantage point can seem very discouraging.
If you’re a young person and your ‘growing up’ process was stunted in mid-stream, it’s a little tougher to envision your future. I encourage you not to stop trying. In your quiet moments, dream like a little kid again. See yourself happy. See yourself in this world being a nurse, a doctor, a lawyer, an office worker, a writer, a diplomat, a mother or a father. Simply dream and fantasize about the future that you want. The little kid in you knows how to do this and wants to come to play! Give him or her the opportunity to have fun. This type of exercise can jumpstart and motivate you. Talk it over with your parents and have fun with this!
If you continue to worry about your health today and your future for tomorrow by thinking only thoughts of catastrophe, doom and gloom, that’s when your initial Fibromyalgia Fears can begin to draw you down into a pit of hopelessness. I encourage you… don’t go there. Don’t allow yourself to stay stuck in that kind of negative and potentially dangerous thought process.
Instead stay with upbeat, positive, can-do messages. Know that it’s possible to change “how” you live with this horrible illness even if you’re on disability. Know that in doing so, you will change your future. You may or may not achieve exactly the future you dreamed of, but sometimes the situation still can turn out good.
Severe illness changes us.
We all strive to implement better changes and, thus, achieve better outcomes. That process only happens when you and I can look back at the “valley of the shadow” that we’ve walked through and begin to see the glorious view ahead from a stronger, more aware and higher vantage point. Imagine… looking foward from where you are today. Is your mountaintop view splendid?
I encourage you to use this good information to educate and motivate yourself to move ahead from where you are now. Below you’ll find links to two tools that may help you. My individual and membership clients make use of them everyday to help calm their Fibromyalgia fears and begin to move forward in life. In the process, they are seeing the way through and many are getting their lives back!
That’s it for today. Thanks so much and some back to visit the Health Matters Show often. Your comments are welcomed and appreciated. Lets you and I share what we know and conquer overwhelming Fibromyalgia fears together.
Don’t leave before you check out the hyperlinked resources above, plus grab yourself a copy of this information that’s been made into a short report for you. Read and share at will! Top 10 Fibromyalgia Fears