The multiple emotions of fibromyalgia

“Nothing vivifies, and nothing kills, like emotions, Joseph Roux

It’s almost the end of December already and I missed writing a blog in November. Seems I was trying to recover from the many crises (or at least perceived crises) in my life. The physiotherapist (Nick) said my nervous system was “completely exhausted” and to rest. For the past few weeks things have finally quieted down and I am having Feldenkrais movement treatments/activities (I am somewhat certain that Tai Chi would be equally as effective, as any kind of movement) to help revitalize me somewhat. The fatigue is slowly dissipating and with it some of the pain from all the hyperactivity and intense stressful emotions in my life. I am back on my recumbent bike a couple of times a week for about 20 minutes a day now (again!).

As I write this I watch little light snowflakes outside; there’s a fire in the fireplace; I have just spent 20 minutes meditating and I am at peace with my heating pad on my shoulders and hot tea to comfort me.  The winter skylight is incredible at dusk. Now that we have had Solstice the days will be getting longer. If only there were more days like this, but of course, crises happen…stuff happens. I can’t stop the world. I am working on focused practices such as mild exercise and meditation which is what my emotional roller coaster craves and my brain ( that darn amygdala!) has a difficult time understanding. My brain wants to go on that well-worn path to emotional chaos instead of the new calming pathways I am trying to cultivate. The stresses that many of us experience during the festive season create in our emotions that can make us sick, or conversely could make us well.

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As I ponder emotional characteristics, it seems to me that there is not an infinite amount of human emotions. Feeling sad, happy, angry, fearful, stressed, anxious,  joyful…while the list seems endless I can see that many overlaps and the one I do best is fear. It feeds on anxiety and brings along with it depression and anger. I know that pathway well. The brain then takes on the powerful emotion and my pain increases. I have often written about the emotion of empathy and that persons with fibromyalgia have too much of it, taking on the emotions of others in an unhealthy way. Now I suggest we try to replace empathy with compassion for others and ourselves while maintaining boundaries with our feelings/emotions that make us the overly sensitive persons that we are.

What I do well is fret for myself and others. What a small word but one that can keep on stirring up emotions that cause chaos to my nervous system. My New Year resolves to try to choose a new direction when I find myself fretting. I don’t think the brain is as much plastic (some plastic is hard, not soft) as it is elastic…neuroplasticity…so why not stretch it to a happy new place, rather than the old worn one? Here’s to happier/healthier emotions in the new year.

Best wishes to all those who have suffered from the demon that wants to control us. Let us try smiling and laughing at it since it is what it is, but our emotional capacity to change from fear to joy is more powerful than fibromyalgia. Laughter is the best medicine after all.

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