Redefining Fibromyalgia: Links to Anxiety and the Highly Sensitive Person

“My anxiety remains an unhealed wound that, at times, holds me back and fills me with shame-but it may also be, at the same time, a source of strength and a bestower of certain blessings”, Scott Stossel

I have begun to think of fibromyalgia as an extreme case of prolonged anxiety that began in early life, perhaps in utero, or even as an inherited gene. In addition to this epiphany of mine, the concept of a ‘highly sensitive person’ (HSP)  has changed for me to mean the ‘highly anxious person’. Having just read both Smith’s (Monkey Mind)and Stossel’s  (My Age of Anxiety) memoirs (and Stossels’ science and historical account of anxiety) I have become convinced that fibromyalgia is another word for heightened anxiety. Since I am not a therapist, I can only speculate about the definition/cause of fibromyalgia, but to this date my proposed theory is that anxiety, hypersensitivity and fibromyalgia are identical triplets. I have just within the past year ‘come out’ (as Stossel has)  as a highly anxious person, rather than one who has the fuzzy label of  fibromyalgia.

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Changing the brain/Rewiring the brain/Training the brain: Managing fibromyalgia

YJ_052010_TeenYoga_01“Every man (sic) can, if he so desires, become the sculptor of his own brain”, Santiago Ramon Cajal

I have before me books, newspaper clippings, magazines that speak to the phenomenal advances that are occurring in the area of brain science and remapping the brain. Just this week I have read in our Canadian newspaper (The Globe and Mail) about brain research exploring the differences in social economic status (SES) of children, in particular regarding children raised in poverty. The  June edition of Yoga Journal speaks to training the brain through meditation. The book Buddha’s Brain explores the brains of those who meditate, while the magazine Shambhala Sun has an article  (May edition) on this very topic as well. All of these I have read  (or re-read) in just one week. Interestingly, apart from the Buddha’s Brain book,  and the research cited in the newspaper, the other two are magazines not known to be ‘scientific’ in nature.

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