“If most of us remain ignorant of ourselves, it is because self-knowledge is painful and we prefer the pleasures of illusion” Aldous Huxley
It is interesting to look at the similar patterns of thinking and behaving as well as the unique types of emotions that we fibromyalgia people have in common. We are kindred spirits who have somewhat the same bodily and psychic ailments and who are linked to one another, generally with a list of symptoms that are the same. Yet, so many have so little understanding of the root cause of this demon that plagues us. Furthermore we have different life histories and familial experiences that separate us.
Fibromyalgia began in childhood! As often as we wish that there will be a magic cure from without, it is not going to happen. Healing must come from within us through reflection about our lives, each of which is unique to others. It is there teasingly waiting to be explored. It is the only way to begin the first step to better manage our days as we learn how it all began- the trauma of our younger years for we all have some.
In order to fully appreciate the relationship of trauma in our developmental years we must work hard to reflect upon the emotional wounds inflicted upon us when we were very young. This difficult first step is of course the very beginning of an attempt to unravel the root cause of this syndrome we carry on our backs to the detriment of our psychic and physical well being. It is not to suggest that we have all been deliberately abused or neglected by our parents, but rather that early childhood trauma develops from our upbringing. Many see other family members with this anxiety (fibromyalgia) and believe it runs in families- it is in fact trauma that has been passed on. It is a difficult and painful “compassionate inquiry” (term used by Dr. Gabor Mate- See his latest book “The Myth of Normal”) into our past and the relationship we had with our parents whilst at the same time not being into parent blaming.
Most parents love and protect their children and do not deliberately set out to wound us. In my case I was born to a young loving, kind woman but one who was extremely anxious. (I discuss this in more detail in my book “Fibromyalgia: Unravelling the Mysteries of the Dis-ease”.) I knew at an early age that she was not happy and I became her protector, the family worrier and now all these years later I’m so tired of feeling anxious, worrying about others. But I am happy to have completed the difficult part of finally realizing the root cause of my fibromyalgia.
I am prone to catastrophic thinking, overly empathetic, overly caring for other family members to the detriment of myself and the most important of these characteristics is that I am extremely sensitive (See the work of Elaine Aron regarding the Highly Sensitive Person.) These are the characteristics of all of us with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. I finally understand why I am this way.
The questions to ask ourselves: Were our parents in a good relationship? Was there social stigma associated with our parents lives? Did our parents experience racism? (in my case the answer is no)- Classism?-that is, was our family poor? Most importantly were they (in particular our mothers) stressed/ anxious/ depressed? What was the reason (s)? It was our misfortune to have perceived these emotional traits of a parent as a baby and to take them on as our own. Hence the myth of fibromyalgia as a genetic disease. We do not inherit anxiety, rather it is a biopsychosocial issue which requires reflection on our part to uncover the root cause of our own trauma. It is our parents’ anxiety/stress that has become part of our emotional trauma leading to such invisible dis-eases as fibromyalgia, PTSD, Chronic Fatigue and myriad of other conditions.
Early childhood rearing is paramount to our understanding of how we were raised and the trauma of our developmental years. Addictions, mental illness, obesity, and autoimmune diseases among others can usually be attributed to what we were subjected to in our early years. Fibromyalgia is not a disease, but when the nervous system begins to function erratically , always on hyper alert, and all systems are in disarray, symptoms develop in the body which feel like it is a frightening disorder that will never be quieted.
WE CAN HAVE A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE BUT FIRST WE MUST BECOME A FAMILY HISTORIAN TO UNCOVER THE ROOTS OF OUR OWN EMOTIONAL AND SOCIAL FAMILY HISTORY AND THE WOUNDS/ TRAUMA THAT CAUSED OUR CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM TO BECOME COMPROMISED.