What do the stories of Survivors tell us about Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

A wonderful database of patients who have accomplished a remission from Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has been created by Chronic-illness Community has video-interviewed several survivors and he has made these available for review.

The stories he presents and the stories I have heard from patients contain similar reports of survivorship, and it is exactly the healing journeys of these survivors that point to the causes and the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Those methods that heal Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, in that they are beneficial, intimate the causes.

Almost universally, survivors report reaching a state of mind and certitude that change must be made in their minds and bodies, and they evolve passionate and willful determination to increase physical activity and optimize nutrition (see discussions below).


Aerobic exercises are painful and exhausting for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients, who usually have deconditioned and weak bodies. Gentle efforts like Aqua therapy and walking were often common first efforts made by survivors. Gentle Yoga and Tai Chi are also mentioned.

Aqua therapy is useful because the buoyancy of water relatively negates gravity; relieving stress on strained ligaments as deconditioned and weaken muscles are being exercised and toned. Keeping the body upright is a big effort for people with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Prolonged bed rest takes a toll on invalids and gravity-deprived astronauts alike. Perhaps a successful escalated exercise program could be ruck sacking, whereby about 10% of the person’s body weight is put into a backpack.

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Strengthening the back

To build a strong back, which is the underpinning of strength for the upright human tower, survivors should model themselves after military personnel, and one of their best training exercises for back strengthening is called “rucking“. The idea is to walk around for at least 30 minutes, or whatever can be tolerated in the beginning, and for three times a week with a knapsack (also called a rucksack) on the back.

The contained weight of the rucksack should equal about 10% of body weight, or less for openers, and go up to 15% over time. An hour of this kind of activity burns over 300 calories. The posture engendered by the weighted backpack exercises back muscle groups that strengthen the back, and which counter the common human habit of bending forward for much of the workday.

This exercise is reputed to be one of the reasons that U.S. military troops are such fierce competitors on the battlefield – strong backs. Of course, as you might guess, when military fighting experts pursue this activity with abandon they advance to 60+ pounds and hours of trekking. But for us common folk, who just want to survive the ravages of everyday life, the above-detailed weights are adequate.

The healing journey

The diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is correlated with the recognition that the only person who knows what is wrong with you is yourself. Your sense of frustration, hopelessness, fatigue and constant pain often accompany a final realization that no one knows what is wrong with you.

This self-realization more or less suggests the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. There is a high degree of correlation between these symptoms of human suffering and the common inability of medical professionals to discern that Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are explanatory.

Doctor diagnostician impairment

Many doctors openly deride the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Many other doctors are too conservative to go out on a limb to proclaim something for which they have no objective evidence. Doctors are a conservative lot. Many doctors fear what their community of peers might think of them if they begin making the diagnosis.

Are they thought of as money-seeking opportunists? And with about 4% of the population to be diagnosed, it becomes like potato chips. Once you start making the diagnosis where do you stop when your popularity escalates and more people make appointments. Can your conservative doctor image withstand scrutiny from your peers, especially since you cannot show them objective proof and clinical evidence for your decision-making?

Let me assure you that most doctors have little taste for becoming the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome King or Queen within their communities, and where doctor survivorship depends upon patient referrals from their peers. The dynamics of covering overhead expenses take into consideration that many who suffer from Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are indigent. Medicaid remuneration to doctors barely covers overhead expenses, if even that.

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Initial survivor insights

What the survivors often did next, after self-realization that they were on their own, was to begin to introduce fundamental changes into their lives. Some began with nutrition. Some began with exercise. The order of introduction of these new habits did not seem to make a difference.

A key characteristic of the survivors is that they had certitude about their quest, and kept at it for weeks and months; over which time they noted small incremental improvements. These small benefits provided feedback, reward, and instilled enthusiasm to continue the efforts. Eventually, after months of effort, fatigue and pain faded into remission. But healing does not end here.

Remissions and recurrences

Another common experience of survivors seems to be a tendency to have recurrences of symptoms of fatigue and pain. Each recurrence was once again beaten into remission via reinstitution of the same efforts that gained initial benefits.

Hormones and endorphins

I believe that hormones are intimately involved in the healing process that Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome survivors report. The biggest endocrine gland in the human body, the brain, is directly connected to the biggest concentration of nerves in the body and the spinal cord, and these neural and endocrine tissues are intimate and maintain inter-communication throughout our lives.

The brain secretes hormones and senses hormones. The master gland in the human body, the pituitary, lies at the base of the brain and is part of the brain. The pituitary gland secretes hormones into the blood to regulate most of the other glands in the body. Brain tissues command the pituitary, and thoughts command the brain. “I think and therefore I am” is not an abstract philosophical idea, as Voltaire seemed to indicate when he stated this as part of his philosophical discussions of reality.

Thinking and healing

Thinking literally causes what you become. These concepts have been an integral part of the biological sciences since the 1960s. Initially, these physiological insights were studied and recorded within a field called “Psychosomatic Medicine”. Later, in the 1980s these ideas became more broadly incorporated into the field of “Psychoneuroimmunology“.

A more appropriate name is “Psychoneuroendocrinimmunology“. Anyone interested in the scientific underpinnings of these physiological concepts should study the writings of Dr. Candace Pert.

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Thinking wellness

What the survivors self-discovered is that they could think and act their way to wellness. Each time they instituted an effort that had restorative potency, their brain-generated thoughts evoked positive neural signals that incited positive hormonal ebbs and flows, which in turn stimulated cytokine and endorphin ebb and flows causal of feelings of well being and actual tissue healing.

The runner’s high is not a myth. Endorphins released by exercise are the body’s internal opiate system. Endo-cannabinoids are another internal feel-good and healing system.

The extensive body of clinical endo-cannabinoid science explains why Cannabis has been so helpful to those with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and to those who have been daring enough to attempt the use of Cannabis in face of the massive federal propaganda campaign that has been waged against this miracle herb for the last 75 years.


Qualities that seem to define the thoughts and behaviors of survivors:

  • Recognition that no one understands their illness
  • Belief in self
  • Passionate planning
  • Willful pursuit
  • Determination to heal
  • Dedicated exercise
  • Natural nutrition quest
  • Peer pressure rejection

The healing pathway:

  1. Resignation to pain and hopelessness
  2. Turned to anger
  3. Turned to stubborn refusal to accept fate
  4. Turned to passionate planning
  5. Turned to dedicated effort
  6. Turned to sense of improved wellbeing
  7. Turned to sense of conquest
  8. Turned to wellness

Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diagnosis

Once a person has realized this transcendence of life experiences, and has sensed true benefits, these very experiences provide self-evidentiary proof that what they have been suffering has been Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

The survivors will have made their own self-diagnosis, and they will realize that their own self-taken actions are the optimal route to recovery.

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