Recovering from Fibromyalgia

This is a guest article written by a friend and neighbor of mine. I first met ‘Dolores’ a few months ago while she was recovering from Fibromyalgia, and we had lots of talks about that painful condition, and what it means to be truly well.

I am publishing this, firstly, because it is well written and, secondly, because it points to the solution for conditions like Fibromyalgia. Myofascial pain, Tension myositis and many other non-specific pain conditions. May it give hope to all those sufferers out there.

‘Dolores’ in real life is also a journalist, which makes her article doubly interesting for me. I notice that journalists, like teachers and social workers, are especially vulnerable to non-specific illness – or what I nowadays call HPA Disorder.

Call me Dolores. It means ‘pains’ or ‘sorrows’ and it’s ironic because it’s so not me!

Four years ago, I received a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia for the aching, burning, stabbing, needle-jabbing, lightning-striking nightmare that my life had become.

Two years before that, after disappointments and illness in my teaching career, I had become a freelance journalist, which offered time for gardening and smelling the roses. But as I got deeper into work, fatigue set in. I just couldn’t balance my husband’s and family’s needs with my own intellectual curiosity. Two summers on, the roses had faded and gardening made me ache all over. I became Dolores, a real ‘lady of sorrows’.

Life became a jungle of fatigue, resentment and sheer agony. My local GPs diagnosed Fibromyalgia and suggested treatment with CBT, amytriptyline, as well as light exercise. But, being a ‘positive thinker’, I rejected the implication that I needed psychological help.

Steadily, and in spite of perpetual, nagging pains in the wrist, hip and shoulders, my career advanced. By last summer, my CV was looking great, but I was in excruciating pain and my marriage was a very lonely place to be.

Then two bereavements came within a fortnight and my husband went away for a week. Oh Dolores! Did I feel abandoned!

The turning point was reached; Dolores had to go. I visualised a new me, did some research on chronic myofascial pain and sought treatment for and this and other physical problems that had been hiding. I noticed my symptoms gradually lessening as I exercised or meditated; I developed some endorphin-raising tricks and started to regain a sense of relaxation. And I learned to notice the happenings that made that relaxation evaporate.

Around this time, I discovered Reverse Therapy and quickly learned how my symptoms were linked to my emotions. I met John Eaton and shared my experiences with him. I found him honest, challenging and fun, a good listener who is also unshockable.

I recognised my difficulties in communicating my emotions and worked hard on responding calmly, instead of burying my anger. Soon, people began to treat me better.

I now appreciate how much more sensitive I am than others and so make more appropriate choices. And, by taking responsibility for my own happiness, I get to smell roses – real or metaphorical – every day. Key to my health and happiness is the realisation that my emotions, played out through my physical sensations, must be respected.

‘Dolores’ has gone. I am simply me.

If only my GP could have referred me to John or someone like him early on, my family and I could have been spared years of agony and aggro. But as western medicine is currently systemised, there is a chasm where the emotional health provision should be.

My case is all too common. Or is it? After all, I’m not Dolores any more. So who is?