{Translated from a French site}

Dealing with the psychological consequences of fibromyalgia is a big challenge. For about half of those affected, chronic pain causes a depressive state that in turn increases the pain. You will live and experience many changes in your daily life, accompanied by bereavement, and these will rarely be the way you would have liked.

The positive approach to the management of physical and psychological suffering is a long learning process that requires, in many cases, a significant change in your behaviors and attitudes towards your life. The goal is to seek support to help you accept what you can not change and build on what you can improve here and now.

It will happen to you to feel that everything is rocking around you very quickly, that you seem to have lost control over your life and your body. Many people feel overwhelmed by so much new information, habits and new attitudes to manage at the same time. This whirlpool will slow down one day, but by the time you learn the diagnosis, you have the impression that a hurricane is coming down on you.

Each person reacts differently to this test. Some are relieved to finally understand what is happening to them and to be able to put a name on the disease that strikes them. Others will feel an enormous anxiety about the future, which becomes uncertain. Still others will fall into disarray, anger or denial. All of these reactions are legitimate and normal. These are steps that are part of the necessary adaptation process that begins. The important thing is that they are fully lived so that you can eventually move on to the next step.

The stages of mourning

To help you better understand how the human psyche integrates all these changes, here we resume the essential stages of grief often experienced by people with chronic illness.

  • Step 1: The shock:

You learn the diagnosis, whatever its nature. You are experiencing an earthquake, you do not understand what is happening. At that moment, you may feel as if you are thrown out of your body because the shock is strong.

  • Step 2: The amazement:

You literally remain speechless, as if changed into a statue of salt. No analysis of the situation is possible at this time. You are as disconnected from reality. It is possible that you experience a sensation of floating, dissociation that prevents you from feeling emotions. You are somehow emptied of everything.

  • Step 3: Denial:

Returning to consciousness of your body, you are faced with the news that has been announced to you. But it is impossible for you to admit it. No, it does not exist. No, this situation is not real for you. You deny the reality.

  • Step 4: Anger and sadness:

The emotions you had been disconnected previously come back here in force. A bit like in the case of a tsunami where the sea that had retreated comes back with such intensity that it overwhelms you. You dive alternately into intense anger and deep sadness that must be recognized, in which you must be able to dive in order to reduce the pressure. It is necessary at this stage to cry, to cry, to revolt. Even if these emotions happen long after the diagnosis itself and around you, your entourage think it\’s time to turn the page. It is by living these emotions that they will lose their intensity and allow you to slide slowly and calmly towards the last stage of your mourning.

  • Step 5: Acceptance:

When the sea has calmed down, the calm has gradually returned to you without you realizing it, that the emotions have been accepted and lived, you arrive at the moment of full and total acceptance of the disease. You can now evoke this last step with serenity.

Fibromyalgia is currently considered an incurable chronic disease. Although current medical advances can recover some of the physical abilities lost due to the disease. This is difficult to admit. But the sooner you find a way to accept what you can not change, the sooner you can find the energy and power to create a new life for yourself and your family, if at all.

For some, the process of mourning is done in a few months, for others, it is spread over a few years. If you find that you are stuck for too long at a particular stage, then it would be wise to seek help from specialized caregivers to assist you during this difficult time. Everything else depends on it and your well-being too.

Once the initial shock is over, you can start exploring different techniques and disciplines that can help improve your mood and energy level. Depending on your tastes, your needs and your financial means, a plethora of choices are available to you. Since fibromyalgia is affected by an over-excitation of the spinal cord, anything that produces a calming effect on the body and mind will eventually lead to a decrease in pain.