Fibromyalgia is an anxiety disorder

” People who are prone to anxiety are nearly always people-pleasers who fear conflict and negative feelings like anger”, David D. Burns

Everyone worries, it falls under the umbrella of anxiety. It is not about living in the moment but rather it is about looking back in the past where it all began and into a future that is pure fantasy. Those of us with excessive anxiety are prone to catastrophic thinking , our thoughts go to the worst case scenario. The glass is usually half empty. We are often gloomy but hide those thoughts from everyone; the sky is falling. Our brains are encouraged to ‘worry well’ by closing in on the worry loop. It is obvious that we face multiple challenges. The amygdala in our brain is constantly fired up, on high alert, causing adrenal fatigue and a hyper-aroused central nervous system.

And so, our ‘symptoms’ continue: hyper-vigilance, un-refreshed sleep, brain fog, joint and muscle pain, digestive disorders, itching, nightmares,  extreme reaction to loud noises, lights, smells, an intolerance to all but mild exercise, prone to carpel tunnel syndrome, and a super sensitivity to foods, chemicals and any kind of excitement. The list seems endless. We have been called ‘jumpy’, ‘neurotic’, ‘malingers’, and ‘high strung’, among other names that stigmatize.

So I want to rename our personality traits as positive. We are caring, highly emphatic, compassionate, intuitive and sensitive. In a world that is exceptionally chaotic it is little wonder that we are anxious for our fellow human beings, in particular those who are marginalized, that is, the poor, those who suffer because of racism and sexism, and people subject to homophobia.  We listen to lies on television, we are pitted one against the other, we sense the hopelessness of others while at the same time we have our own struggles and do in fact, lack self compassion. We feel the anxiety of others which adds to our own extreme anxiety. This is why we have fibromyalgia…we relate to the pain of others while our own is neglected.

In other blogs I have written about how to take care of ourselves to have a better quality of life, but here my rant is about the madness we see around us every day in a world where people in power place the world at great risk.  There are many who are fighting the good fight, but right now in history it is easy to be overwhelmed, which is what the four relatives fibromyalgia, PTSD, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, and Chronic Fatigue are about- feeling overwhelmed, anxious and struggling with despair, our own and the fate of the world.

I have rarely written about the politics of fibromyalgia, instead kept this website to the personal. But, the old adage of the feminist movement “the personal is political” seems to me to be long overdo for discussion about these four siblings noted above.

“I am woman, hear me roar”

Helen Reddy

 

 

About Barbara Keddy

I am a Professor Emeritus, School of Nursing, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. My B.Sc.is in Nursing while my MA. and Ph.D. are in Sociology. I am married, a mother and grandmother living on the east coast of Canada. I have personally lived with fibromyalgia for about 40 years. I published a book with iUniverse in 2007. This book detailed living with this condition and allowed the voices of twenty women who have fibromyalgia to tell their stories.
This entry was posted in carpel tunnel and fibromyalgia, digestive upsets in fibromyalgia, Fibromyalgia, fibromyalgia and anxiety, homophobia and fibromyalgia, itching and fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivities, PTSD, racism in fibromyalgia. Bookmark the permalink.

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