In light of Lady Gaga’s recent revelation of her struggles with fibromyalgia, an invisible, chronic, and debilitating illness that causes deep nerve pain throughout the entire body, I thought it’d be a good time to re-address my own struggles with the disease and how I find it absolutely depressing that it would take a celebrity—such as Gaga—to go public with her own personal battle for society to even consider acknowledging that it’s a real thing.
While still so many people—and doctors, even—are rolling their eyes with skepticism about the fact that fibromyalgia pain actually exists, I can tell you from personal experience, it fucking does. Is there an emotional component? Of course. I mean, everything is connected and, if you don’t believe that, think about how your stomach feels after a breakup, or what getting out of bed when you hate your job feels like, or how your body tingles when you’re feeling anxious. Even though the pain could be a manifestation of suppressed emotion, stress, trauma, and/or depression, it is still real pain.
When my fibro was at its worst, many doctors and health care practitioners told me it was stress, but that the actual pain was in my head. Do you know how disheartening it is to hear that the aches you know and feel and experience on a daily basis are “in your head”?! I mean, hello, if this pain is in my head, then I must really be in some kind of psychosis! Ok, you can stop laughing now.
Anyway, it took an outstanding physical therapist and an amazing immunologist to finally recognize these aches as fibromyalgia and start me on rigorous treatment. I went for myofascial release and craniosacral therapy one to three times a week. I learned Qigong and practiced daily. I even did a full “Ch’i Kung” routine every morning (time-consuming!).
While, sadly, many of those who suffer with this illness see no alternative than to turn to painkillers and other drugs and/or alcohol, I knew that those temporary remedies were not an option for me. So, I continued with the treatments I found effective.
I cut out inflammatory foods and found an amazing Reiki practitioner and acupuncturist. I practiced yoga and meditated daily, and even took a twelve-week course on meditation and Buddhism through the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, now known as Triratna. And I even graduated to Sangha.
In my free time, I let out a lotta steam on a drum kit.
And, along with all of those practices of self care, I started taking magnesium, vitamin C, and a bunch of other supplements that were recommended by my immunologist.
Eventually, that evil pesky annoying lingering nerve pain disappeared. Obviously, I still have emotions. Lots of ‘em. But the actual physical pain is gone. Praise Jesus.
So, now that Gaga and I have proven to you that fibromyalgia pain does exist, please try to show some compassion to others who may be fighting a similar battle. No matter the reason for it, the pain they are feeling is real. And it fucking hurts.
Until next time…
Namaste kind. You just never know what the person next to you is going through.