Thursday, April 04, 2013
I sat thinking today about those with chronic illnesses. I suffer from fibromyalgia. No, can’t say I went looking for it, or that I fully yet understand it. I was diagnosed in 1997 after 4 years of a back and forth battle to find out what exactly was wrong with me. See the problem is you can’t do a blood test, an x-ray or some scan to find this syndrome. Some doctors believe it is real, others do not. I found in 1997 most do not. The medical doctors sent me to psychologists and psychiatrists because they knew there was nothing physically wrong with me. The psychologists sent me back to medical doctors because I had passed every mental test there was to give so of course it had to be physical. And this seesaw went on for four years. When our new family physician, that I was forced to go to because of insurance change, looked at me and said “there is nothing mentally wrong with you but I do believe you have a syndrome that is not easy to explain.” He went on to explain the syndrome of fibromyalgia and how he was going to refer me to a rheumatologist that he trusted (ok he trusted…..never have I said yet I did). My first thought was “here I go again……the seesaw I wanted to stop”.
Well I found myself amazed, she sat with me for 3 hours after poking painfully where I did not need poked and started to explain this syndrome. What I discovered is that one area is never discussed, not by therapists, not by doctors. And that is the emotional imbalance you are left with after the diagnosis.
See, today 16 years later, I sit still battling not the physical symptoms. Let’s face it, those you can’t battle. Oh I’ve tried to ignore the tiredness, the pain levels and dig in deeper and tread forward; but I’m talking the emotional roller coaster experienced. Now don’t get me wrong….in the beginning I saw many therapists for a variety of reasons but not one dealt with the emotions I was feeling because of this syndrome.
I was left with mistrust of our medical profession. I found the roller coaster left me doubting when a doctor diagnosed me with even an ear infection. I had to learn to trust again in the medical field. I found depression in a way I no longer could understand. Some of thepression I could predict and fight. But what about those “fog” days when I woke depressed in a gray cloud and didn’t know why. Then I would spend the day clawing to get out to find I had an increased pain level, headaches, and confusion. This would lead to……
Anger. Oh yes even 16 years later I daily get angry at the limitations this syndrome has placed on me. What I want to do and what I can get my body to do is a dozen different things. I weep in anger over the injustice. I want to scream and yell then realize that accomplishes nothing so I bury it inside. But here’s the problem with this theory and action, the further you bury the anger, the more it surfaces in different ways. See you start to snap yet really don’t understand why, you criticize a normally routine job done by others, again unsure why. You look in the mirror and see a monster “red and full of anger” yet unsure why. This anger turns to bitterness at usually everything for a short while at least around you. But the biggest bitterness is the bitterness and injustice you feel at the syndrome. See it’s not like a person that angers you. You have someone concrete in front of you. This syndrome is “illusive”. You have no picture to place on it, no visual you can use to be angry at it. It begins to feel irrational to yell at something you can’t see.
Then the circle starts again. You bury the anger, it bubbles up, you can’t find a source to yell at so you bury again. This anger is only one of the zillion possible emotions you feel. Yet it seems to be the one I find myself returning to today.