Fibromyalgia: Healing yourself

” What I want for my fans and for the world, for anyone who feels pain, is to lean into that pain and embrace it as much as they can and begin the healing process”, Lady Gaga

There has rarely been such public awareness of fibromyalgia as there is now that Lady Gaga has become public about her own suffering. While there are  thousands of those of us who suffer from the debilitating pain and fatigue of this syndrome, many still believe it is malingering.

Unfortunately, it takes a public figure to allow the disbeliever to at least entertain the possibility that this condition, not a disease, but a dis-ease,  is real. I am not a fan of pop stars and have not even seen Lady Gaga perform. In fact, I know little about her, but why does it take a widely known singer to convince the public that those of us with highly sensitive, over-stimulated central nervous systems live in a world encompassed with pain and a multitude of other ‘symptoms’?

We live in a world of constant bombardment of our senses. All of us have experienced past trauma of some sort. Many can easily move on while others continue to take in more chaos into our very being. Watching TV news, reading a newspaper, or internet news only heightens the sense of danger we feel for ourselves and others. It is rampant about death and tragedy and those of us with FMS and CFS have systems that can no longer absorb more trauma.We can be called whiners, complainers, and acting as victims but the reality is our pain is real. It is the result of prolonged anxiety such that the mind closes down and the body takes over. Generally it stems from childhood trauma which could be abusive or unloving, but not necessarily so. It could also be the result of being extremely hypersensitive and traumas, not necessarily from childhood, have exacerbated our central nervous systems to a point of no return. The emotional trauma leads to real physical trauma.

What is to be done? Our minds need stillness, calm and quiet to heal our bodies. Living in the moment with compassion for our injured selves allows us to begin the healing process. I am struck today, September 22, 2017 by the cover picture and story in the Globe and Mail about the UN International Day of Peace. Ottawa citizens took part in a mindfulness meditation for peace on Parliament Hill, led by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn with nearly 1,000 people participating. Instead of reading about a blustering threat of killing an entire nation, earthquakes, flooding, hurricanes, hate crimes, fascism, Nazi groups, race and gender injustices that add further psychic pain to our already over-burdened brain,  I could see some semblance of hope. There IS some! But, for our own demons peace has to come from within. Medications, talk therapy, support groups can help but we have to become the expert of our own minds. We have to heal ourselves.

There is no cure for an already overburdened central nervous system, but we can learn to treat that anxious mind by being at peace living in the moment, finding comfort in perhaps odd ways that are unique to us, living with joy that may be fleeting, but is there to call on when we need it. I have a piece of fabric that makes me smile when I look at it. I imagine it is me looking in a mirror, trying to see into my brain all the garbled thoughts that make me anxious. I can “lean into it” as Lady Gaga suggests and sigh at that mind that hangs on to past trauma. What a fiasco… you gotta’ laugh…

6 comments

  1. Margaret Stanfield says:

    I have read your book and am so very grateful. I was diagnosed 3 years ago and this is the first that I have read that makes any sense to me. I feel the load is lifted and I can accept myself just the way I am. I am trying to put my own needs on the table and to not feel bad for being so unable to keep going at the pace I have done all my life.
    God bless you.

  2. Barbara Keddy
    Barbara Keddy says:

    Dear Margaret: It is I who should be grateful to you. Your lovely comments made my day! Accepting ourselves as hypersensitive people is, as Elaine Aron has written, that we are canaries in a coal mine, always sensitive to the needs of others. It is a gift, not a liability. Unfortunately, we have so much empathy that we fail to have compassion for ourselves. We are also trying to keep up that fast pace we set for ourselves which is impossible to do as our central nervous systems cannot continue to function ‘normally’. You must take time to slow down, “keep calm and carry on”, in this terror filled world that bemoans us every day.
    Very best wishes,
    Barbara

  3. Margaret Stanfield says:

    Dear Barbara,
    Many thanks for your reply.It is difficult to put into words just how much reading your book has meant to me. I feel at last that I have been understood and that I have been set free to live,albeit with the limitations that I have at present. I can stop searching for answers and simply accept myself. I live in Scotland.I have recommended your book to my friend. God bless you. Margaret

  4. Barbara Keddy
    Barbara Keddy says:

    Thank you, dear Margaret from Scotland!Enjoy every day as much as you can. No two days are alike and bad days are often followed by good! ( at least bearable ones).
    Best, Barbara

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