Psychological Effects and Coping Strategies for FM Sufferers
It wasn’t so long ago that fibromyalgia was a mystery disease. There didn’t seem to be any visible causes for it and because it was so evasive, sufferers were often treated as though they had a mental disease rather than a physiological one. This in itself created some very traumatic and tragic consequences. While fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome have made their way into the mainstream of stress-related conditions, they are still often misunderstood by the general public and still continue to create difficult situations for those suffering with the illnesses.
On the Outside Looking In
People who suffer with FM (fibromyalgia) and CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) may find themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to friendships. Since the conditions are so limiting and immobilizing, life as was once lived becomes a distant memory and pain fills the gaps where pleasant reminders used to be. Friends, or at least those with whom one used to be chum with and visit, distance themselves, primarily because the person with FM of CFS isn’t really much fun anymore. Unable to take part in many of the physical activities they used to, or even to be able to sit for long periods of time at a movie without being in pain, leaves sufferers out in the cold when it comes to doing things with friends.
Fair Weather Friends
Sometimes those unfamiliar with the impact of FM run short of patience and understanding and they decide to move on. The impact of losing friends – even if they are of the fair-weather variety – can be devastating. Depression can settle in as mobility lessens and opportunities to be with friends fade away. How does a person with FM or CFS help themselves through times like this?
Knowledge is Power
Of primary importance is the need to be educated about your condition. By understanding what is going on in your body, you become better able to address the symptoms and make changes to enable yourself to live a less encumbered life. And, don’t spend time worrying about those who dumped you because you aren’t what you used to be. Chances are they would do the same to anyone. Remember that this is probably not forever. There are many treatments and aids available today to help the person with FM deal with their symptoms and live a life that is more productive than in former years. The beauty is that when you come to the other side of the pain and hardship, you will be incredibly strong and more intent on living life than you have ever been.
Create a Support Network
There are myriad emotions expressed and felt by those suffering with FM. If the negativity overtakes you, then you have that much more to deal with – so as much as possible, find people who are supportive, encouraging and positive to be around. Reinforce the good things and do your best to let the bad go. It’s not easy, but it can be done.
So much of success and healing lies in the way we look at life. By holding on to a positive picture and the determination not to be dragged down a person can help to keep both body and soul strong.