The Brain and it’s Creation of Emotional Pathways

I am reblogging this piece today.  I researched this initially to try and assist my PTSD triggers that were weaving into my existing fibromyalgia thoughts. Just living with chronic pain creates many negative self thoughts, toss in the  loss of emotional control from the trauma of a car accident (or any other victim experience), and ones thoughts truly need to retrain to holding onto positive beliefs! Prior to my last three years living with extreme anxiety and depression, I understood that my past held some traumatic moments. But I did not replay these times in my daily life. I learned many years ago to live in the moment. Sometimes the moments were filled with emotions of anger and sadness at my suffering from chronic pain. I taught myself to let those thoughts go, to replace them with “doing the best I can today”, instead of “I am wasting all this time, why me?”.  After two years of living with pain I was able to accept my bad days and returned to College. I won’t say it was easy, I still had days that I could not complete an assignment, but I treated myself kindly.  I have been relearning this concept as I struggle with chronic pain and PTSD (and other physical limitations and pain that are related to the Rearend in 2013).  If I can change my inner dialogue, so can we all.

XX

Hello Peers, I have had to struggle with reacting since before living with Fibromyalgia. Lately, my reactions have become more intense. Without details, lots and lots of stressors/triggers, for too…

Source: The Brain and it’s Creation of Emotional Pathways

Begining to Retrain your Thoughts from Negative to Positive

Hello Peers, I stated in my post, about our need to know what items to bring with us in situations that arise unexpectedly, that I would add links above it. I was able to find a good link for basic…

Source: Begining to Retrain your Thoughts from Negative to Positive

Weight and Pain

http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/fibromyalgia/articles/obesity-fibromyalgia.php

I recently wrote a blog piece about my lowered pain levels, or remission state, from my fibromyalgia pain. In that piece, I concluded that a year-long illness I went through, which resulted in a large weight loss was the contributing factor, so I have decided to follow it up with some actual research into this connection. And indeed, losing weight has had medical validity in pain intensity for many years now (see above link). My doctors always told me to lose weight, and to exercise. The discussion of  exercise also been a popular thread among my peers in online support rooms. Most stating it as helpful, if not with weight, at least with a healthier, happier state of mind.

I was always conflicted about this idea. I would come away from the doctors or the thread feeling shame and anger. It’s easy to tell someone with constant pain that they should get out there and walk, or swim, but it’s not so easy for that person to do. I know that just walking the dog could trigger pain for the entire next day; a very large price to pay! I want to interject here that while that is “not” occurring for me right now, it is apples to apples that it will start happening again soon (I have never experienced a remission of pain for this long, not in all my 17 years of living with fibromyalgia). Another point, in my current relief condition, is that I do still have medium pain every several days and a flare-up of pain large enough to send me to bed for the day every 7-9 days, so as I write this I am clear that this piece on weight and exercise applies to me as well as my peers. I felt shamed because I simply couldn’t create a routine of regular exercise, not with the pain threshold I live with. Anger followed because it was easier to project this feeling onto the doctors and my peers then it was to look deep inside myself and take personal responsibilty for my choices.

After losing all the weight and feeling the relief of waking up everyday at a pain level of 4 instead of the years of 5-6, I now feel ashamed that I didn’t try harder a long time ago. Lately I walk my dog farther every day then I did before, even when my pain level is at a raging 8. I make time to walk a slow three miles at least once a week. I am getting a donated recumbent exercise bike for the winter and will be applying for a low-income monthly membership to my local YMCA where I intend to use the swimming pool, take water aerobic classes, and indulge in some gentle and light weight lifting.  I am also looking into finding a free, local Tai Chi group.

I have not turned into an overnight super athlete, far from it. With the evidence of research and my own, personal experience it is obvious that the adage, “no pain, no gain” is true.  I certainly can not do all of these items weekly, but I can integrate them into an alternating monthly schedule. I will need to start slowly! My upper body is triggered very easily, simply driving the car for more than hour creates triggers in my shoulders, neck, and then head muscles (just typing this is aggravating my trapveious muscles). I am planning to begin exercising in chunks and in no more than 20 minute intervals. I will track what I actually do in my journal and then track how I feel immeaditely after, that night, and the next day. After a month or two of alternating exercising styles and journaling the resulting pain or no pain increase, I should be able to create a program that is tailored to my needs. Losing weight has definitely helped both my pain and my attitude, I am sure my seretonin levels are higher than they were, what a blessing it is for any of us to gain this important nuerotransmitter back. Despite the gift of this gain, losing so much weight has left me with wasted muscle mass (as we age we “useit or lose it”). I am keenly aware  that if I don’t start now, I may never start.

I try to share healthy, successful, positive living ideas in this blog. It would be hypocritical for me to share them and not live them myself. Besides, I love the hope of staying in a state of less pain! Try to find your weight loss path. Decide which exercise routine fits for you. Then, start tomorrow. XX

In-depth Research Information for Fibromyalgia Survivors

Hello Peers,

I felt that this informative piece should be posted for a overview of everything associated with our pain syndrome. It addresses all the nuts and bolts.

http://umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/fibromyalgia

XX

Patterns, Light, and Fibromyalgia; A Symptom Often Unknown or Overlooked by Physicians

http://www.fibromyalgia-symptoms.org/vision-and-fibromyalgia.html

I went to my doctor’s office last week to deal with a sinus infection I obtained from the flu. I already felt incredibly tired just getting to the office and was not prepared for what I felt next; it’s not something I consciously notice that often anymore. I was ushered into a room that was on the 10th floor with a great view overlooking our hills and the city. I was asked to take a seat on the patient table, which I did. I looked up as the nurse assistant closed the door and my eyes went bonkers. There on the wall in front of me was a bright yellow paint and a chair with bright yellow circles centered in the middle. The entire bank of windows, on two sides of the room, were covered in blinds that were open with slats, but not raised.

I tried to stay seated on the table but got up after only two minutes. I felt dizzy and my head was now aching. The circles and slats were jumping up at me! When my doctor came in, I explained why this was not a great room for fibromyalgia patients. He said he thought it was a nice room. When I explained about patterns and my perception, along with the consequences, he reacted as if he had never heard of this before. Overwhelmed with being ill for some time and the new infection, I let it go. However, it struck me that most general physicians do not know about this symptom, despite the reality that for us, it is a very important symptom.

The manner in which certain patterns effect my pain and create a sense of being overwhelmed is something that I deal with every time I go out. I have learned to take in visual information in pieces, I have also learned that when I already feel flared it is time to create a boundary when shopping.

Department stores are at the top of my list for pattern overwhelm. Whenever I enter one, I quickly go to the area I wish to look in and ignore the rest. If I plan on being inside one of these overwhelming areas for longer than a half hour, I already know I won’t be doing much else. Patterns create headaches for me. They also literally make my eyeballs feel like they are bouncing to a disco beat. This makes it next to impossible to make a decision about what to purchase or even which way I want to turn next. They make me feel uncomfortable, they make me feel like I am losing my balance. In short, they make me feel horrible.

Any task that I need to do when my pain is higher than a level 3 is increased in its difficulty when it involves stacked, colorful, patterned objects. Groceries, driving (especially at night), department stores, walking, even sitting all become twice as hard or even simply unbearable. As I stated, I have learned to compensate. However, considering how much it effects me, why doesn’t my physician know about this symptom? This question leads me down another path of exploration. My cognition issues after being rear-ended.

I still have cognitive issues, three years after being rear-ended. It mostly involves multi-tasking, multiple “things” going on at the same time that demand my attention, and problem solving. I can solve problems but I need additional time. Sometimes, until the next day or longer. Getting back to the patterns exploration, I have been told that my PTSD caused my cognitive issues, but never that my fibromyalgia might also play a part as my eyes already struggled not feel overwhelmed. For the majority of the last three years being overwhelmed was a 24 hour a day feeling. Of course this was not all my eyes, not at all, but what if they played a part that I could have managed? It would have been good to have a doctor talk to me about this symptom of my existing fibro and direct me to create a tool to help manage it.  Ah, doctors. I just have to smile.

Fibromyalgia, Nature or Nuture, or Both? Hotly Debated Topic Among Peers

I think this needs another read. It’s not a easy blog post for any of us to contemplate, but, to achieve emotional wellness perhaps it’s necessary to consider? My hope is in being able to really consider this as a possible connection, mind/body, we can use the awareness in our toolkit today

Reblogged on WordPress.com

Source: Fibromyalgia, Nature or Nuture, or Both? Hotly Debated Topic Among Peers

When You Get a Break from Pain

you-are-my-sunshine-4

https://thecandyperfumeboy.com/tag/sunshine/

During the last eight weeks I have experienced less pain than I have in years. In the 16+ years I have lived with fibromyalgia, this is only the second reduction in pain I have had the pleasure to be in. Despite many other medical issues during this time, emergency gall bladder surgery, stomach flu, the flu, and migraine headaches from my experience of being rear-ended, my chronic pain is at a low of 3-4 on the pain scale! Well, except for a once a week flare up of pain that keeps me bed ridden, but, hey I will take this exchange anytime!

I have been paying attention to the decrease in my normal achey body and wondering, why? Could it be that my gall bladder was taken out; that seems whacky as most fibromites experience surgery as exacerbating their pain levels (I have blogged about this before, explaining the need to discuss this phenomenon with doctors prior to surgery). I experienced this after my knee surgery two years, so that doesn’t feel right. Perhaps it is my mood, which has been better in general since my gall bladder surgery. Or, maybe it’s the fact that I lost an incredible amount of weight over the last year because I was so scared to eat anything! Let me explain this further; I was misdiagnosed with gastoparesis a year prior to the surgery, which led the doctors down the wrong road. Every time I went into the emergency room it was reinforced that my diet was causing the problem. The pain was off the charts and if it was caused by eating, then I wasn’t going to eat, at least not much! Definitely not the best way to lose weight.

Losing the weight finally allowed me to walk without a cane, to use the stairs with one leg at a time per stair, and to walk three miles at a time for the first time in three years. This leads me to think that possibly losing the pounds is the reason for less daily pain. I gained 60 pounds when I was pregnant with my daughter, 27 years ago. I never really lost that weight and gained a bit more over the years. Since my surgery I have been complaining of needing to buy a entire new wardrobe, two sizes or more, smaller than I previously wore. This has caused others in my life to politely ask me to stop whining as they are still trying lose their own weight, a reasonable request.

Still, it bothers me that I lost soo much weight so quickly; it can’t be healthy. However, if there has been two shining gifts from the loss; my usual 6+ daily pain (at least for now) and my ability to walk normally,and even drive my own car again. I thought I would never be able to do these things again. While I have decided that losing the pounds is the reason I am in remission, I am still caught in the thought process of fear that all chronic pain suffers seem to loop in. I find that I am frequently holding my breath for the other shoe to drop. The shoe of the fall and winter season. It’s glorious to be in less daily pain, don’t get me wrong, but I can’t help noticing that the season is changing. I am doing fairly well at pushing the negative thought away by breathing in the freedoms I am experiencing. So, for today I will remember to use my positive tool of just breathing.