Fibromyalgia made it difficult for Vera, 46, to get out of bed in the morning. As he went to the bathroom and began to work, the pain pangs moved to his hands, head and neck. It brought tears to his eyes. It made her angry to think that Kurt had not even thought about organizing things in the house to make his life a little easier. Vera recalled the discussions about accompanying her to medical appointments and became even more angry. But she never said anything to him. He directed his attention to the support group he would attend that same day, although he did not manage to alleviate his physical discomfort.
It was easier for Vera to concentrate on the pain of fibromyalgia than on her terrifying emotions
While she was having breakfast, memories of her old family file flooded Vera’s vision. She relived the tension she used to feel when she returned home from school and wondered if her parents would fight out loud or give each other a cold shoulder. His mother would take out her frustration with Vera, the oldest and most peaceful of her children. His muscles tensed as he recalled the fear of uncertainty and not knowing how to talk about his worries.
It was the same now. I did not know how to talk about the anxiety of not being able to take care of yourself. Vera had no words for anger at her father for not making her mother happy, and Kurt for being equally insensitive and indifferent. What it did have was pain in the body that ranged from muffled pains to unbearable pain for which no specific organic cause had been found.
Fibromyalgia was the diagnosis. He came with fatigue, slowing down actions and restricting his life. It made Vera dependent on pain medication and a husband who disappointed her, repeating the cycle of her childhood.
Filling her anger made Vera’s fibromyalgia more acute and agonizing
Vera’s struggle to talk about her anger and stress as a child and now as an adult makes it more likely that her pain experience when fibromyalgia explodes becomes more intense and debilitating.
The European Journal of Pain, 2010 reported on a study that compared women with fibromyalgia who expressed compared to those who suppressed their anger. The greater the inhibition of anger, the greater the experience of pain in women with fibromyalgia. Those who got angry and expressed it in the situation in which they woke experienced the least amount of pain.
No amount of positive thinking eased his unbearable fibromyalgia pain
Compared to healthy women, those who avoid strong negative emotions such as anger and let it get infected without processing are more likely to suffer fibromyalgia.
Also, focusing on positive emotions does not seem to be a sufficient buffer. According to a report published in the 2008 Journal of Psychosomatic Research, it is the lack of processing of negative emotions that precipitates the pain cycle in patients with fibromyalgia regardless of the amount or duration of positive thoughts.
Vera was no more sensitive than most women to negative emotions such as anger, but she experienced them more often and never learned to express them in a healthy way. It compromised its neuroendocrine functioning, decreasing its pain threshold both physically and psychologically, suggests a study on women with fibromyalgia published in Arthritis Care and Research, 2010.
Fibromyalgia is linked to chronic childhood stress and conflict with parents
Vera was the majority of adult women with fibromyalgia who have had a stressful childhood as reported by the Journal Stress and Health in 2009. Vera’s experience of her mother’s verbal and emotional abuse, and her father’s carefree attitude is another common thread in life. Stories of women with fibromyalgia.
Vera’s struggle with her mother and now her husband made her see life through a more negative lens. The conflict with the parents and then with the partner increases the stress and contributes to the most negative perceptions of the life of women with fibromyalgia, according to the magazine European Psychiatry in 2000.
Chronic childhood stress deregulates Vera’s neuroendocrine system, which makes her more prone to fibromyalgia.
Long-term stress that is continuous and chronic affects the neuroendocrine system making it less effective over time. Vera’s childhood trauma created a permanent sense of uncertainty and unpredictability that affected her ability to develop and use healthy strategies for managing stress.
Then, with each new stress, his neuroendocrine system weakened and began to function abnormally. She lived in a state of constant stress, so her stress hormone levels like cortisol increased years after the stress of living with her parents was removed.
Despite the struggle to live with a man who was argumentative and who did not support him, it was nothing compared to his previous stressful experiences. The early chronic experience of stress seems to exert a lot and as it did in a 2006 study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinolgy.
The processing of negative emotions can reduce the pain of Vera’s fibromyalgia. It is possible that Vera can not change her or her husband’s history. But you can begin to process your emotions in your support group and supplement it with psychotherapy.
She can share her anger about her early life, as well as her fear of feeling helpless and alone in pain. She can relieve the pressure of her already overwhelmed neuroendocrine system by recognizing, naming and expressing her feelings in the moment. A study in Arthritis Care and Research, 2010 suggests that Vera can expect an improvement in functioning from 50% to 70% and feel less pain if she does.