“Having that sense of anger leads people to actually feel some power in what otherwise is a maddening situation”, Jennifer Lerner
There can be little doubt that emotions play a large part in a fibromyalgia flare-up. The emotions can be happy , sad, fearful, anxious or any of the myriad of those which affect us through out the day. While I have often written about the ways in which we can work with emotions I have been struck with the continuous evidence based research regarding meditation and exercise and so I try to do so every day.
In an article in the Globe and Mail July, 27th, 2013, (Focus. p.3) ,written by Sarah Barmak it is said that the study of emotions “is now among the hottest areas of academics”. She has cited the YouTube series of Yale University’s June Gruber called Experts in Emotion. I can read and watch this academic research and understand it theoretically, meditate, live in the moment, exercise, but my emotions are becoming more powerful and less able to control than they once were. I willingly allow myself to turn my anxiety into anger and quite frankly it feels good! I can tell myself not to judge and become self critical, to accept that these are passing emotions, not hard and fast facts, and push them gently aside, but this past year the complex emotions that have been flooding through my body and brain are often overwhelming. As women we often supress our anger; I no longer want to.
For me the most intense emotion I experience these days is what I call justifiable anger: I am angry that I have lived and continue to live with daily pain and fatigue. I cannot remember a time of my life since I was 25 that I have not experienced pain in one form or another. Now, with aging I find that the pain is not subsiding in spite of all that I do that is helpful for those of us with fibromalgia. What has made me the most angry is the newer challenge of living with heart disease. These are not the golden years. When people tell me I look well, I cannot tell them the truth: most days I feel unwell. I cannot differentiate between the symptoms of aging, fibromyalgia and heart disease. I have fatigue from all three (and probably from medications). I am taking many medications for my circulatory system while my central nervous system is on fire and hyper alert. People will understand when I say I have had a heart attack but not if I say I have fibromyalgia. After all these years fibromyalgia is highly disregarded; that is the emotion I am feeling about this syndrome: anger. I believe that when I wrote in my book that fibromyalgia is a gender issue, I think I was right on target. Now I am further angered because women and heart disease is also a women’s issue that has been scarcely addressed, except from a few notables like Carolyn Thomas www.myheartsisters.org .
When I was a child there was a children’s radio program called Maggie Muggins and she ended by saying: “I don’t know what I’ll do tomorrow”. In fact, the same can be said for my emotions these days: I don’t know what I’ll feel tomorrow but I can be sure the emotions will be equally as passionate. Perhaps this passion is not all negative; it might just be a survival tactic. There is after all, justifiable anger. So far I have not shown this emotion but kept on with that stony smile. I hope to burst open some day. Vancouver, BC, English Bay