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When it’s all in the Head…

Photo by Boglarka Otti

I’d always found it incredibly painful talking to dismissive, ill informed doctors about fibromyalgia.

The pain normally becomes intolerable when they start telling me about what I’m NOT feeling and what’s NOT happening in my body, despite me living in my own body, walking around in it, and enduring the pain and discomforts that I face in it daily.

Nevermind.

I had somehow found strange hope when I read literature that suggested fibromyalgia patients see doctors no older than 40 years old, as they are more likely to have been educated about this complicated illness that’s still causing confusion in the medical fraternity.

It might have been naive optimism.

But, I thought maybe…just maybe there was something to it, seeing that the last two sympathetic, understanding and knowledgeable rheumatologists (one of them at the Fibromyalgia Clinic) I saw knew what they were talking about.

Vanish away? Really?

I didn’t have to argue with them about what goes on in my body. Or try to persuade them that it’s not all in my mind. And unlike my last GP they didn’t tell me the severe pains in my feet were due to my shoes being too tight.

So imagine my surprise when the 31 year old doctor I was chatting to started telling me about how I should deal with this “quite psychological” condition.

Like many doctors he advocated a low impact daily exercise routine and a “short, low dosage of Amitryptyline,” after which he said “all your weakness and complaints will completely and rapidly vanish, or it will be very very simple to find out the cause of your mysterious fibromyalgia…”

Oh really? Does the rest of the medical fraternity know this? Someone should really tell the other fibromyalgia sufferers.

Now I am not dismissing the inarguable link that many physical conditions have to one’s mental and emotional state and vice versa.

But it is NOT all in my head. And it certainly won’t just vanish away.

(Luckily for me, I took the time to learn more about this condition so I don’t believe everything that comes spurting out of the mouth of some doctors…you should take the time too).

Fibromyalgia is real

Research has shown that fibromyalgia is a real illness which is included in the WHO’s Tenth Revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems.

Most of us who suffer from this debilitating condition have done much of what’s recommended by our doctors, with no great relief or results.

I wish there was something that could make this incurable condition “vanish.” It would be great to actually sleep well and wake up feeling refreshed for once instead of so exhausted like I’d run a marathon. And it would be wonderful to romp with my little cousins without being so sensitive to pain about my body. And it could be so much more comforting to not have to deal with irritable bowel syndrome for heaven’s sake!

Unfortunately fibromyalgia is what it is.

If some exercise and medication could make it dissipate into thin air, I and so many others would be cured.

But unfortunately I have lived with these symptoms for much of my life, and research has shown that this will be a lifelong condition for most sufferers.

That is not to say we won’t try new recommendations by doctors and hope for a cure someday.

It is a battle living a normal life with fibromyalgia. And the battle is made no easier by those telling me my condition is imaginary. Most sufferers have already had to endure years of trials in finding doctors who could correctly diagnose us, and take us seriously with compassion.

I don’t know why some doctors continue to trivialise fm and dismiss us in the face of growing corroborative research.

In any event, the confusion or whatever is in their heads, not mine (or yours).

Gentle Hugs 🙂

potofcallaloo
Alisha Nurse is a curry-loving writer & comms professional who holds a Master of Arts Degree in Journalism (International) from the University of Westminster, London. Get in touch with any feedback or questions via the contact form in the 'About' section.

6 thoughts on “When it’s all in the Head…

  1. i was told i got fibro 10 years ago. i was always at the docters with pain in my back /pain in my legs was always told it in my head.then 10 years ago i was given a name for my illness but it still did not make the docters treat me any diffrent.i try not to go now and put up with the pain but it not always easy.they say live a stress free life who can do that?i can not work as who wants someone who has to walk round so dont get stiff or who want to sleep at 2 in the afternoon.it so unfair why are we not geting any were in this today world.i had to fight for what bit of benfit i get so unfair cant get help with mobilty or care,i wish they tried to live my life pain all the time.

    1. Hi Berni,

      I really felt the suffering in the tone of your message, and I can relate to that. Sometimes I too wonder why I am here in this world with this condition – it makes living so so difficult and life is already difficult if you dont have FM. It actually contributes to my depression. It is an uphill struggle.
      And it does not help when doctors are dismissive and ignorant of our suffering. This is something I think most FM patients have gone through. We suffer not only from the pain, but from the ignorance and lack of support from those who are meant to take care of us medically and socially (as in the case of the state giving patients like you such a hard time when this is a disability). FM is pain – physical and emotional. All we can do is support each other and hope that one day things get better. We hope. Gentle hugs Bernie xx

  2. Well said! The confusion is in their heads, not mine, when it comes to knowing if fm is real or not.

    Someone told me that people with diabetes were routinely sent to psychiatrists until the pancreas’s role in insulin regulation was discovered.

    It’s one thing to admit that you don’t know something, but it’s quite another to deny reality because you can’t make sense of it.

    1. That’s just sad; especially when these doctors know that there are so many examples in medical history where medical conditions were not understood and as a result patients were forced to suffer because their complaints fell on deaf or ignorant ears.

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