Fibromyalgia, a disease invisible to the eyes of those who do not have it

By Diana Santiago Chacón

What would happen if suddenly everything broke in front of us? What would happen if suddenly everyone who has been by our side one day tires? What would happen if every time we tried to raise our forces they did not let us do it?

These are the questions that people with fibromyalgia are exposed to every day, but meanwhile life goes by and we observe what happens only from a distance. Fear, anger, pain and many emotions and sensations that make us feel different to what we were in the past. For this reason we need to get to understand, seek information and research about fibromyalgia, to come to accept, to begin to see the light that is nothing more than life itself, so that we stop being a simple label. But…

The pain that is not relieved by tears can cause other bodies to cry (Source: Google Images)

The pain that is not relieved by tears can cause other bodies to cry (Source: Google Images)

What is fibromyalgia?

When we talk about fibromyalgia we talk about pain, first of all, pain. It is a chronic disease that causes the person suffering from pain in multiple locations of the body and generalized fatigue (Moioli, 2003).

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This disease is affected by 2% to 6% of the general population , with a clear predominance in females, since between 85% and 94% of cases occur in women.

Currently, the cause of this alteration is not known, but it is thought that there are many factors involved. There are people who develop the disease without apparent cause and in others it begins after identifiable processes (stress situation, virus, infection, etc.).

How do people with fibromyalgia feel?

How would we feel if we had a person who constantly pointed a finger at us in the head?

This is how we can understand in a certain way what it is to live with fibromyalgia, something that bothers us. Let’s see this testimony:

In these situations one chooses to keep quiet. If when you have broken an arm someone is ready to tell you how he fractured it 20 years ago, what are you left to talk about your fatigue, your pain legs, arms, head, lumbago, can not drag your body, when on many, most, suffer from any of these symptoms. The difference is that you, the one who suffers from fibromyalgia, do not dare to stay one night to have dinner with some friends, because just as you are today that you are half well, but and tomorrow … will you be able to use your body? And at night, can you hold the conversation in the restaurant? … And the worst … How will you be the next day if you have overshadowed a bit? Going on vacation? Where, with whom? Who are you going to drag with a: ‘now I can not walk’, ‘I need to sit down’,“.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia (Source: Google Images)

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia (Source: Google Images)

What is our job as psychologists

From the psychological point of view it is necessary all kinds of interventions that combat passivity before such a “universe of pain” in which the person with fibromyalgia lives immersed.

  • The relaxation techniques . These are very effective since we can reduce the contracture of muscles, tendons and other organs, in turn increasing the subjective feeling of well-being by reducing psychic tension. Relaxation brings unique and pleasurable sensations, and this makes it easy to enjoy any other experience. It is usually recommended the progressive relaxation or Jacobson’s which is to tense and relax the different muscle groups.
  • The attentional control It consists of diverting the focus of the patient’s attention, not attending to the pain and focusing on other elements of the external environment (another person’s clothes, colors of a room …) trying in this way to break the hypervigilance of the pain.
  • Positive self-messages The patient gives himself positive words (“I am strong”, “I can get it”), reassuring thoughts about any possible fear of suffering pain, reaffirmation of self-control, etc.
  • Normalized activity The patient should try not to change their habits as much as possible (fear of being active because they have pain again). We can also use programs to progressively increase aerobic, leisure and, as much as possible, work activity, and rationally reduce rest and excess free time. We must not forget that being in bed is negative since it amplifies the perception of pain in the absence of other external or internal stimuli that compete with pain.
Nothing changes, if you do not change anything.  A single positive thought can change your life.  I can!  (Source: Google Images)

Nothing changes, if you do not change anything. A single positive thought can change your life. I can! (Source: Google Images)

We must not forget that people with fibromyalgia cry out to investigate this disease, since it is the only way we have to find the right causes and specific treatments to combat it.

“I only have one life, and I’m not going to let fibromyalgia take away the joy of living it.” Morgan Freeman

  • Pastor MA; Pons N; Lledó A; et alt. Guide to effective psychological treatments in rheumatic diseases: the case of fibromyalgia. In: Pérez M, Fernández JR, Fernández, C; et alt (Coord.) Guide to effective psychological treatments, Volume II: 157-68. Madrid: Pyramid; 2006.
  • What is Fibromyalgia? Afibrose.org. Retrieved April 12, 2016
  • Moioli, B. (2013). Fibromyalgia, the challenge is overcome. Desclée de Brouwer.

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