For those who suffer from fibromyalgia, you likely know that it’s just as much of a psychological struggle as a physical one.
Because of that, it’s important for us to have a full understanding of the disorder and to get the help that we need in order to make sure that our whole person is taken care of properly.
In this article, we’re going to explore some of the ways that fibromyalgia can affect a person’s emotional and/or psychological health, and how we can cope with those issues in a healthy manner.
What Psychological Effects Does FM Have on Patients?
Fibromyalgia (FM) is actually incredibly detrimental for the mind at times. Here are some of the most common symptoms that you will see (mentally) when it comes to your fibromyalgia and other related issues.
Fibro fog is one of the most common issues that you will cope with when you have fibromyalgia.
When you’re in a lot of pain, like you are when you have a flare up, you may notice that you have difficulty concentrating.
In the worst cases, you may also notice that you can’t think straight and/or you may have trouble remembering simple information.
Processing what you’re reading, watching, and/or listening to can also cause a problem at times. This is usually referred to as “fibro fog,” and it can be incredibly frustrating for those who deal with it as part of their fibromyalgia syndromes.
If you have fibromyalgia, you’ve likely had feelings of anxiety, even if you haven’t been diagnosed with the disorder at this point in time.
We feel nervous when we have pain that we don’t understand. If something happens that you aren’t used to, or you’re going somewhere that you’re not familiar with, you may have feelings of panic.
Anxiety disorders are common because of how confusing and unpredictable the disorder can be at times.
The anxiety can range from mild symptoms on occasion to drastic panic attacks that rule much of our lives, and can vary from day to day.
Depression is another very common emotional disorder that you may deal with alongside of your fibromyalgia symptoms.
If your fibromyalgia symptoms make it so that you have a hard time moving around, or it makes it so that you’re alone most of the time, depression and related feelings may end up causing you problems.
On top of that, you may feel depressed that you’ve been stuck with this disease, or you may feel depression because of the stress that is going on all around you. Either way, it’s treatable, just frustrating.
There may be other issues as well, but these are the most common that you will come across.
If you experience any of these, you may need to adjust your treatment in order to accommodate and/or treat the symptoms appropriately and efficiently.
How Can We Learn to Cope Better with the Psychological Effects of FM?
Now that we know what some of the psychological things are that we may end up dealing with as part of our FM, it’s time to take a closer look at the coping strategies that we should use as part of our treatment plan.
The good news is, there are lots of options for you to consider, and you can work with your doctor or other specialists to figure out which of them will work best for you and your particular needs.
The first thing that you have to do is reduce the amount of stress that you’re dealing with in your life.
It can be really frustrating to try and cope with the daily stress, but if you do exercises and techniques (breathing, mindfulness, etc) that can help you out, you will find that it’s a lot easier to cope with it on a daily basis.
Talking to someone
Especially a professional that can help you to work through your feelings, can give you a big boost in what you are looking for out of life.
They can give you advice, teach you coping techniques, and help guide you so that you feel more in control of the psychological symptoms that you have.
Group therapy is also an option here, because it can get you connected with other people who have some of the same problems. Realizing you aren’t alone can be a huge help.
In some cases, you may need medication, like an antidepressant or anti anxiety medication, in order to help you cope more readily with the mental health issue you’re dealing with.
And there’s no shame in using medication – you can find a lot of relief and you can feel a lot more control, which will help you deal with your other symptoms more easily.
Sometimes, you just need to take care of yourself. Listen to your body, see what’s going on with it, and make sure that you have an understanding of it.
If you need to take a mental health day from work, you should go ahead and do that. If you need to get away and meditate, do it.
Whatever you need to do in order to be successful and to help alleviate your mental health symptoms, you should take the time to do it.
That way, you’ll be more likely to continue the healthy habits and thwart off the additional issues that may occur in the long run if you don’t.
If we are not careful and we don’t pay attention, the psychological effects of fibromyalgia can make dealing with the syndrome that much worse for us.
Many people with fibromyalgia will work with a therapist or another mental health professional in order to work through anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems that may come up as a result.
If you believe that you have mental health struggles for any reason, related to your FM or not, you will want to talk to your specialist about adding mental health services to your plan.