Coping with Pain

Vivian Comfortes* of Skokie, Illinois, has quite a few friends who have fibromyalgia. "I guess it's because it tends to hit women my age. It's like everywhere I go I end up meeting someone else who has the disease.

Emotional Pain Stored in the Body?   

What I've noticed is that as I get to know them better, it almost always turns out they've been either physically or sexually abused as children. It seems to me the disease might be the emotional pain they've been storing up in their bodies."

Rachel Gurevitz* of St. Louis, Missouri thinks it's more about the hectic lifestyle she leads and is emphatic that her childhood was normal. "I have pain and discomfort, but I always push myself and keep going and doing more than I should. I also have a high pain tolerance, either that, or I've just learned to live with the pain.

It helped me a lot to find out that I had a disease, because I always just kept going and thought my pain was due to an old back injury. I hadn't done much to help myself. Having a name for what I had, and knowing there was a real reason for what I was experiencing made me stop a bit more. Sometimes I tell myself, or my husband, that I just have to rest.

Finding out I had fibromyalgia also got me to start yoga, which was recommended by my rheumatologist-she said either yoga or Tai Chi or the Feldenkreis method might be helpful. Yoga is very good for me."

It's Hard for People to Understand

When told about Vivian's theory, Rachel remains unconvinced. "Fibromyalgia is not commonly known or heard of so it's hard for people to understand or be sympathetic to those who suffer from it. Also, people always tend to say, 'Yeah, I have aches and pains and tiredness, etc. etc., so do we all,' and not realize that fibromyalgia sufferers may really be suffering.

Because a lot of symptoms can be explained away, seem to be other things, or just normal problems, people like me probably don't get diagnosed for a while, if ever, because they are high-functioning, and don't stop to look after themselves.

I had back pain, and I thought it was from an old injury. I had headaches, but I'd always had headaches. I wasn't thinking about the fact that these new headaches were different. And so I wasn't diagnosed until I spoke to someone who had fibromyalgia who said, 'Your symptoms sound like fibromyalgia!'"

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