Fibromyalgia: AKA “this is just a nice way of saying you’re crazy and it’s all in your head” …

I’m a tough woman. I’m not a complainer. I distrust people who I perceive to be weak and above all, I am suspicious of those who cannot just suck it up.

Well, I don’t know if that attitude resulted in karma biting a major chunk right out of my ass this year, but my health deteriorated very rapidly in May and June, to the point that I could barely get out of bed some mornings.   I quit going to the gym because it hurt too much to lift weights.  I lost about ten pounds without even trying.  I lived on wine, ibuprofen and smoothies – the thought of eating made me sick.   Despite all of this, I showed up for work when I was supposed to, didn’t complain and no one had a clue how I was really feeling.

It was a struggle to get through some days – I actually thought I had cancer so finally made a doctor’s appointment. I was x-rayed, blood tested, medicated on various types of pain-killers and finally referred to a rheumatologist.  I had a two hour appointment (which is a freaking miracle in the Canadian health care system ).  I was poked, prodded, questioned extensively, bloodwork and x-rays reviewed, and finally told I don’t have rheumatoid arthritis (a good thing), I have moderate to severe osteoarthritis in parts of my body (not such a good thing).  That, however, didn’t explain all of my symptoms and the pain I was in, and I was told that I probably had something called Fibromyalgia.  That’s the rheumatologist’s best diagnosis.  And then she went on to tell me that there is a huge psychological component to the disease (if that’s what it is) and that I should seek counselling to work out stress in my life, and this whole thing is best handled by my family doctor.

Being the chippy, snotty woman I can be, I just looked at the doctor and said “So, you’ve just told me I’m crazy, there’s nothing wrong with me, and I’ve wasted two hours of my time and your time?” And I walked out of there just thinking “Kill me now”.

I acknowledge that there was some severe stress in my life this summer. But this came after I felt like I was going downhill.  I can definitely say I am not depressed.  I am generally extremely content.  Do I experience anxiety?  I do at times, but I can acknowledge that and it doesn’t overwhelm me.  Having had a shit-ton of therapy over the course of my life, I can also definitively say that I didn’t find it really helpful.  That could be because I’m not big into talking about how I feel.  Particularly when someone is trying to analyze me.  But, I am a prolific writer and I have always found writing a far more useful way to deal with things than talking to a complete stranger.

I feel like I’ve been told that I am now the kind of person that I just can’t imagine myself being – someone with a vague illness that is all psychological. I can’t stand it… And I will figure out how to fix this.

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