Being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Myofascial Syndrome, or any chronic pain condition is like suddenly finding yourself traveling along a unknown and bumpy road. Each new bump both hurts and frightens you. You stop seeing the beauty of your surroundings. Instead of reacting to the positive, enjoying the sunshine, your friends, family, and careers, you concentrate on the negative. You look for the branches in the middle of the road, expecting each new bump with a new, predetermined fear, you turn inward in pain. No longer is there easy laughter, instead you groan and find distress in the journey. We survivors find, that without warning, we have lost ourselves.
We focus on how to get off the bumps. How to go backwards in time and remove the invader inside our bodies that caused the ride of our lives to become out of our control. The mind moves through anger, denial, grief, and bargaining. It pleads with our doctors to “fix” the problem. Going over the bumps and more bumps becomes our focus as we drive to doctor after doctor. Every doctor suggests a new medication to pacify our inner beast that thrives on our now dysfunctional pain alert system. With each twist and turn we go deeper inward, pushing away those who only wish us well. After several months of traveling along this foreign road, we lose all hope, we finally succeed in pushing our dear ones away.
Fear controls us now. We sit, locked in our minds wondering how this all happened to us. Our brain has become programed to automatically react first to our pain, our expectation of the negatives, and we feel that we are unwanted, unnecessary. We rage/ We cry. We pull the covers up, turn over and go back to sleep. We become mindlessly lost; the walking asleep.
Unfortunately, this is a very realistic portrait of the first years of living with chronic pain. There is no educated doctor who starts your journey out on a positive and supportive note; or very rarely. They should be at fault, shouldn’t they? Yes, they should. They have not been trained in methods that support us to begin our journey on a positive and proactive road. If we look a little deeper at the blame we have created, haven’t we decided to blame ourselves. Yet, why are we programming our brains to first embrace the negative experience? No one is immune from medical issues; be it a short or long lived one. Yes, ours is a hellish one, we can’t deny that. We wouldn’t blame ourselves for having a heart condition or for the repercussions of getting hit by another car while we were driving, but when it comes to Fibromyalgia we so often decide we have failed ourselves.
We can choose acceptance. We can return to that bumpy road. We can decide to take a breath in and then, a breath out. We know that the bump will cause us pain, but we can decide to enjoy the rest of the ride. We have forgotten, but now can let back in, how incredibly beautiful the scenery of life is. How fortunate we are to be able to witness the falling red leaves. The birth of our children. The family and friends we have around us. We can accept that we have a challenging journey in this life but, when we have those positive moments along life’s path, the fleeting sight of a butterfly on a rose, we have seen majesty. We are still here. We are happy to be alive today.