So I was reading an article on the National Pain Report this weekend and I did something I know I shouldn’t…I read through the comments. I normally avoid the crazy that ensues down below, but there I found a little gem by someone called Steven Blake mba.
Basically, he was outlining his theory of the cause and cure for fibromyalgia. I know, I know, insert eye rolling emoticon. He thinks that the majority of people with fibromyalgia are overachievers prior to the onset of the disease and that the nervous system is in what he calls, a safety shutdown, as a response to continued stress. Unexplained pain is the signal that the body must rest.
“Fibromyalgia is a safety shutdown of the individual, caused by the nervous system on constant overload from a person who constantly pushes themselves to the limit.”
But of course not all people with fibro were once overachievers, right? And there are plenty of overachievers who live a stressed-out existence and never get fibromyalgia. But his theory triggered deep thoughts for me, it speaks to me, because I know I fit the bill.
From the moment I graduated high school, I hit the ground running a race of ‘watch me prove myself’ that fueled some pretty great achievements. Stress was never even a consideration, it was the preferred state because it produced action, which brought a sense of self worth. I always was and still struggle with being an overachieving perfectionist.
When my fibro is at its worst, I know that I have played a part in its flare. Whether it was a physical overdoing or an emotional one, I am often the pusher over the edge. I don’t think I can prevent all flares, but I know I can influence their severity and length.
But even if I can commit to not being an overachiever or a perfectionist, my lack of balance prevents me from finding me enough peace to potentially heal my stressed out nervous system. And that is the appeal to this guy’s theory for me, that we can heal ourselves. Through discipline and balance we can free our bodies from the cycle.
In addition to it being so simplistic that it seems ridiculous, I really don’t like the way his theory places total blame on the fibro patient. He is basically saying that we brought it on ourselves and our lack of discipline continues our suffering. And that kind of sucks and is unfair. Like we need more guilt in our lives.
So while I am not on board, I do think there is value in what he says to reduce, not necessarily eliminate, my symptoms. One thing I do know is that the people with fibromyalgia that are doing the best, have changed their lives and their selves to live a more peaceful, simple, healthy life. I’m on my way, things are way more simple and healthy these days…but peaceful…I need a lot work in that respect. My internal dialog, my knee-jerk emotions, my restlessness, all thwart peace at every turn.
This summer I’ve enrolled in a Tai-Chi class and I am going to start meditating again. I’ve got the next three months of relatively stress free days to see what can happen if I focus on balance and achieving some peace. It sounds so hard because my brain is already aiming for overachievement and perfectionism! 😛
What do you think about this guy’s theory? How do you find peace and balance?