Fibromyalgia is a malfunctioning of the central nervous system

“Do something everyday that scares you”, Eleanor Roosevelt

I have had a difficult year, even being admitted to hospital for several days with extremely high blood pressure. Now that I’ve settled down somewhat I am beginning to slowly write about my experiences, most of which were caused by extreme anxiety. I am trying to separate myself from what happened as a result of “post hospitalization syndrome” and rephrase my negative thoughts about myself, thoughts that become almost an obsession and cause my blood pressure to rise as the anxiety escalates. From winter blood pressure concerns to summer I have now had hand surgery for carpal tunnel which has necessitates less typing and more sitting still. This helps with dealing with the heat of summer, and as I sit and read I often automatically begin the meditation process in a much more disciplined way. But,  those thoughts that arise usually dwell on the past and future rather than the present moment.

The main thoughts I am trying to reformulate are the ones filled with disgust at myself for hating my body for the way it exposes my fears and anxieties, for not being brave enough to overcome panic attacks as I relive not only recent events but those of my childhood and younger years and frightfully wonder about my future. But, as usual, I go back to my oft repeated definition of fibromyalgia- it is a malfunctioning of the central nervous system and what to do for it .  At this stage of the summer I can ride my stationary bike and just sit  (mindfulness meditation) and read, letting my hands heal and my CNS experience quiet.

Just yesterday I noticed once again the new trend on the covers of at least two magazines: National Geographic and Time that featured Mindfulness. It seems to be everywhere these days and of course it is usually advised by professionals for those with fibromyalgia. The process is discussed in so many venues, and seems simple and easy enough. It isn’t. Especially because of our heightened rambling and fearful thoughts.

The three Rs within the process of mindfulness are: Recognize, Refrain and Relax. Another way of saying this is to recognize one’s thoughts, refrain from indulging in them and finally LETTING GO and relaxing, the latter being the most important-not an easy process. Our minds will never be free from thinking but with meditation we can change our thoughts. Needing to escape from the constant preoccupation on our physical and emotional pain as we sit quietly and practice we would be reflecting on the breathing aspect of our practice in order to bring peace into our lives.


I hope my old readers will remember me and are not suffering too much from summer heat or in ‘down under’ from the misery of winter.


12 thoughts on “Fibromyalgia is a malfunctioning of the central nervous system

  1. Sue Shannon

    Hi Barbara
    I’m happy to learn that you are recovering from you surgery. The summer is a good time to heal.

    Mindfulness is a very interesting concept. It would be so helpful to release painful and damaging memories, but it is very difficult. I’m at a time when I recognise the memory and make myself stop thinking about it. Sometimes I say to myself or out loud ‘stop, you are not thinking about that’ or ‘stop your are not going there again’. It helps me to switch to some more pleasant or interesting topic. I agree with you the relax and let go part is the most difficult.

    Being older (79) might be part of negative thinking or maybe there are just too many experiences stored up and now they are popping up. The fibromyalgia and age are slowing me up so there is a lot more time to think about things.

    The summer here is so short we have to soak it up before winter sets in.
    Cheers Sue

  2. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Thanks so much for your comment Sue. Being of the same age I can relate to everything you say. It has been a miserably hot summer with a very high Humidex. Nothing any worse for the fibro flareups!I guess the trick is to 1)recognize the thought that is painful, then 2)refrain from doing so by labeling it’thinking’ and bring your attention to sounds, both outside and inside the greater environment (Active Attention), that is, mixing your mind with space. Then 3)relax!
    So easy to write about but so difficult to practice!
    Very best wishes,

  3. Lori

    Good to see a new post from you, Barbara. I enjoy your writing.
    I find that mindfulness is sort of like humility. The more you think about it, the more elusive it is. It’s only in hindsight that I recognize that I’ve practiced either one halfway well.
    Here’s hoping that you are able to enjoy your present moments as you heal from your surgery.

  4. Sue Shannon

    Great suggestion Barbara. I like the idea of moving Active Attention to the outside environment. I usually turn my attention to thinking about current lists or projects, but I’m going to try the sounds idea. I’m also going to try focusing on some aspect of nature ( flowers, shells etc.) when I’m up and about. Maybe smell because that’s such a memory jogger. It’s all so intriguing.
    Thank you for bringing forward all the interesting ideas and concepts.
    Cheers Sue

  5. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Dear Lori: There is no such thing as practicing halfway well in mindfulness!A practice session is neither good nor bad, it just is! But, it sure takes a lot of effort to not be evaluating how we are doing all the time!Those thoughts just keep creeping up constantly like:”Am I doing it right?”. Nope, I am just doing it and recognizing those thoughts and feelings, working with my mind…????
    Discipline to practice is my downfall?

  6. Dee

    When I begin experiencing unwanted memories I put a cherry candy in my mouth and focus on the candy texture and taste. My therapist showed me this. Works every time.

  7. Denise Robson

    Thank you for the post Barbara. I live in the UK and my Rheumatoligist insists I have arthritis rather than Fibromyalgia. I did not have any pain on the day he assessed me so did not react to the pressure point tests.
    Others such as my chiropractor,Dentist, Podiatrist say the opposite as I have so many symptoms ( TMJ, irritable bowel, headaches, soft tissue pain etc).
    Your posts keep me sane as I would believe myself a hypochondriac otherwise.
    Thank you, Denise.

  8. deidre king

    You are so terribly negative …this is the cause of your fibromyalgia …your nervous system is not malfunctioning …your thinking is

  9. Lori

    Deidre – you are sadly uninformed and ignorant. Negativity cannot ’cause’ malfunctioning nerves. Would you suggest this to some who has Multiple Sclerosis, or Cerebral Palsy, or Parkinson’s Disease? Anyone with chronic illness and 24/7 pain has negative thoughts. Try to get out of your able-ism and your self-absorption. It will not only help you, but others around you.

  10. Barbara Keddy Post author

    Dear Denise:
    You certainly are not a hypochondriac! Your pain is real as we can all attest to. Sometimes it comes and goes as flare ups occur and other times it remains constant. After studying this syndrome for so many years it doesn’t present exactly the same for anyone. I would not dispute any of the professionals opinions as pain presents such complex challenges. Fortunately with arthritis there are medications but unfortunately for fibromyalgia there aren’t any that give long term relief. Keep on with the regime that is recommended for both conditions such as moderate exercise, rest, avoiding stress as much as possible and a good diet. It seems so easy but it isn’t, I understand that.
    Best wishes, Barbara

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