Fibromyalgia and Trauma Memory
” Most of us have unhealthy thoughts and emotions that have either developed as a result of trauma or hardships in their childhood, or the way they were raised”, Steven Seagal
It would seem that those of us with fibromyalgia have developed the condition at an early age which may have taken a tremendous shock, accident, or crisis to bring about full-blown fibromyalgia. Some of us have had repeated crises in our sensitive lives and did not even experience a single unusual occurrence of the syndrome developing. Nonetheless, we are a group of people with specific personality traits that allow us to dwell on trauma that seems to be stuck in our minds/brains reactivating the experience more frequently than is healthy. So, how in fact can we find ways to train the brain to refocus away from past trauma? The work of Dr. Richie Davidson, neuroscientist, has presented us with the interesting option of “spending as little as 30 minutes per day training our minds to do something different” (p.52 Mindful August 214) which can result in changing the brain. To that end, I had decided that quilting was not the answer as I had previously tried that and not had much success (see blog Fibromyalgia and Multitasking, May 17, 2009). Instead, I would try my hand at writing about personal issues.
I have begun to write short stories about my life, exploring the reasons why I am the way I am, an anxiety-riddled person with a tendency to overreact to any kind of stimulation which then begins the vicious cycle of pain and fatigue flare-ups. Writing these 2 or 3 pages about events in my life, for example, about my first day of school, often brings about unhappy memories. So, I have been training my mind to do something different, but in fact, it is not exactly a healthy endeavor. Or is it? The two friends with whom I shared this first day of school story had different responses to it. Each is valid. One friend suggested it was a good practice, then after I had written bad stories, I should print, tear up and discard them forever. The other friend reminded me that I have written before about reactivating the amygdala to relive a bad experience, and writing about past trauma was not a good idea.
Ah, but back to Mindfulness– living in the moment- not the past nor the future, but the here and now. That is, after all, the idea that whether I am eating a meal, driving the car, or being with friends I am just being without judgment- I am conscious of the actual moment, not reliving past negative events. I have to train my mind to do something different that is pleasing and not anxiety-provoking. It should also be repetitive and creative. Hmmm, whatever shall it be?
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