There is still lingering doubt in some people’s/doctor’s minds about fibromyalgia as a form of mental illness. After all, stress can bring on a fibro flare, so it must be all in our heads, right? Thank goodness this way of thinking is falling by the wayside, and research supports very real physiological causes for fibromyalgia (even while they don’t agree on what they are, but one step at a time). Still, I think a lot of people with fibromyalgia have the idea rubbing on the back of their minds: “Am I in pain because I want to be? Am I exhausted all the time because I’m lazy? Am I looking for attention? Am I just crazy?” I’ve had all those thoughts over many years. After all, I’ve met enough people who just look at me with doubt. The spine doctor who looked at my x-rays and essentially told me I must be a wimp because people usually have much more damage before they have the pain I was complaining about. The doctor who sent me home when he saw fibromyalgia in my patient chart when I actually had a massive pulmonary embolism. Friends who have just said, well it’s all part of getting older (I apparently started aging at 15). Experience trains us to doubt ourselves.
So now as part of another phase of using myself as a guinea pig, I have begun experimenting with happiness. Can being happy stop the pain? My hypothesis, based on the last six months is, no, it won’t, but maybe it will make it more tolerable.
Last week was momentous. I have decided to share my life and my HOME with someone for the first time since my second divorce in 2000, and he moved in on Saturday, which meant a day of loading and hauling furniture and boxes in the rain. My tiny house is a mess and may burst at the seams, but it’s all doable…in baby steps. I’m on day two of a really solid fibro flare that I woke up with yesterday morning. It’s not sore muscles – I’m very strong and didn’t lift more than I could. It’s the aching pain of a flu bug without the flu bug – scalp to big toenail. In addition, last week I finally walked away with a promotion at work into a job that will be exciting and fun. Lots to learn and new people, even a little travel. It’s very exciting.
I’m happy. I’m happy at home for the first time in more than a decade (contentment is not happiness); and I’m happy at work. Stress, yes, happiness, yes. Possible to have both? Yes. So what will the happiness do for me physically? We’ll see.