Fibromyalgia, ‘goodism’, self-sacrifice,”giving yourself away”

untitled“Self development is a higher duty than self sacrifice”, Elizabeth Stanton

As I read more and more about brain mapping and how to change the pain mappings in my brain I am reminded about how intensely I wrote in my book regarding the highly sensitive person (HSP, according to Elaine Aron). This is the ’empath’, the person who senses what other people are feeling and takes on the emotions of others as though they were her/his own( I don’t mean this in the usual sense of the ‘psychic’ person, or in any mystical way). I still stand by that description of the person with fibromyalgia. We are like a toxic sponge! Now, I believe that this type of person (mainly, but, of course not solely, women) has the personality characteristics of the self sacrificing, doing good for others (what  Dr. James Rochelle calls ‘goodism’) and ‘giving yourself away’ (a term Nick Matheson coined). When I think of Florence Nightingale on this May day, her birthday month, suffering from fibromyalgia, I think of her as a primary example of self sacrificing.

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The Stigma of Fibromyalgia, a Women’s ‘Condition’

“Being a woman is hard work”, Maya Angelou. angelou

There can be little doubt that fibromyalgia has become very prominent as a serious social and personal condition that affects primarily women. In fact, it is said by some that it is an epidemic of great proportions. Loss of work, physical impairments and challenges, intense pain, decreased income for many, increases in medication consumption, burdens on the health care systems and family disruptions are among the many serious outcomes of this debilitating syndrome. The numbers of people, mostly women, often middle age-aged, who suffer from this condition far outnumber the numbers of those who suffer from such a horrific life threatening disease as HIV/AIDS, even though fibromyalgia is not in and of itself a threat to life. While I do not suggest that comparisons should be made,  or pitting one bitter struggle against another, nonetheless, both HIV/AIDS and fibromyalgia suffer from social stigma, as did the tuberculosis epidemic of decades ago.

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