May 21


More Fibromyalgia Awareness Myths

By Sue Ingebretson

May 21, 2019

Awareness, awareness day, awareness month, chronic illness, Fibro, fibromyalgia, Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, Fitness, isolation, loneliness, myth, myths, Stress

More Fibromyalgia Myths ahead! We’re getting into the thick of things. This week, let’s go head-first into both sticky topics of fitness and stress. AND, highlight one of the biggest health threats in the chronic illness community.

Dive in!

So far, we’ve covered #1 through #6 of our 10 Fibromyalgia and Chronic Illness myths.

You can recap Part 1 here (myths 1-3) 

You can recap Part 2 here (myths 4-6)

Today, we’ll dig into some real meaty stuff. For myths #7-8, I’m talking about what no one wants to talk about: Fitness and Freak-outs.

Myth #9 will make you feel that you fit right in … by not fitting in. (It’ll make sense in a minute). This myth isn’t only dangerous to believe, it can actually contribute to a shortened life span. Yes, it’s that important.

So, read on ….

More #Fibromyalgia Myths and #FibroAwareness info. Click To Tweet

More Fibromyalgia Myths and Awareness Info

Here’s a super common myth that I’ve heard for nearly two decades. I fully admit I was happy to jump on board with this myth myself.

Fibromyalgia and Fitness Myth

7) Exercise is impossible for those with fibromyalgia.

Notice the finality of that statement? This is an A = B statement. No wiggle room. This is what I call a “closed door thought.” It’s also called black and white thinking. All or nothing.

Black and white thinking is often applied when we don’t want to do something. (Totally normal behavior.) It allows us to feel okay about not attempting something because we think it’s futile.  

If we know anything at all, we know that doesn’t represent real life.

Real life is neither all one way nor all another. Life is busy, complicated, and messy. Life isn’t black and white. And life, at its very core, is very wiggly.

So, why do we still want to say – with absolute finality – that fitness is impossible for fibro? It’s simple. Fitness isn’t easy. Fitness isn’t simple. And, if a regular fitness program isn’t something you already do (or enjoy), then it’s probably not on your radar. Therefore, it feels hard to begin.

Starting anything new can be tough. What makes it tougher is starting something that you already believe will be uphill.

That’s where we have to start.

We have to begin BEFORE the beginning. Take a step back from this myth and assess what you really want. Would you like more energy, stamina, physical flexibility and agility, and better moods? What about better digestion, hormonal regulation, and improved problem-solving skills?

I could go on.

Instead, I’ll suggest that you embrace that “before the beginning” perspective. Assess what you want and begin from that position.

There’s an infinite list of fitness activities and combinations of activities to try. When you experiment – with persistence and patience – you’ll discover what works for you. If a 30-minute body movement activity made you sore or caused a flare, opt for moving your body for 15 minutes. Or for 5. You get to choose.

The key is actively choosing something (not passively allowing nothing to choose you.)

I do know what it’s like to be in so much pain that it seems illogical to get up and move. For me, I decided that if sitting hurt and standing hurt, then why not walk anyway?

For fitness program suggestions and ideas – go here.  

Next up, a very BIG subject.

Fibromyalgia and Stress Myth

8) Stress happens – there’s nothing we can do. We just have to suffer and accept its contribution to fibromyalgia and chronic illness symptoms

Oh my — I’ve just written an entire book on this subject! I can’t wait for my book, Get Back into Whack to be released (more news soon).

For now, let’s just say that while stress happens (just like some other “stuff”) that in no way means, we simply fall victim to it.

Stress can be managed, accepted, avoided, re-directed, re-framed, and even harnessed for your benefit. Stress doesn’t have to be a catch-all inevitability to blame for increased chronic illness symptoms.

There’s so much more to say, but not near enough time or space. For now, check out this article to help you Identify Symptoms of Emergency (Chronic) Stress in the Fibromyalgia Body.

And, here are 5 Fibromyalgia Stress Strategies to review.

Up next — one of the most dangerous (and even life-threatening) myths of all.

Fibromyalgia and Isolation Myth

9) You’re all alone in this great big Fibro world and no one else understands you.

Why is this so dangerous?

After all, there are few things in this world that are more isolating that chronic pain and suffering. Fibromyalgia – by its chronic nature – can isolate you from family, friends, and even the life you once had. Fibromyalgia can leave you feeling cut-off from the world around you.

Feeling cut-off isn’t a myth. Being cut-off is. 

Unlike 20 years ago, there’s now a world of information, resources, and support systems available. For most people who deal with chronic health challenges assistance is at least somewhat accessible.

But here’s why this myth persists. Pain creates a cascade of neurochemicals in the brain that triggers certain behaviors. Here are just a few reasons why pain can create a world of isolation.

  • People in pain are more likely to have negative thoughts in general. Check out this Fibromyalgia Negativity Connection article which lists 5 surprising factors linked to this phenomenon. 
  • People in pain are more likely to feel that their limitations may frustrate or even burden others. They’re more likely to turn away from help or resources due to their own insecurities, perceptions, and fears.
  • People in pain quite often focus on their beliefs of being “different.” This is isolating in and of itself. This self-perception keeps help and resources at arm’s length. It increases feelings of loneliness. 

Gaining an understanding (awareness) of how your chronic illness impacts you can be powerfully beneficial. Share your feelings with others and allow them to gain insight into your world. 

Want some help with that? Check out this nifty (and downloadable!) letter you can share with others when they ask you about fibromyalgia.   

As I mentioned, the feelings of isolation are not only persistent, they’re dangerous. For more information on how and why isolation can threaten your health, check out this comprehensive article on Chronic Isolation Risk for Fibromyalgia

This has been an information-packed month so far. We’re busting through these myths right and left.

Which brings me to the point, what’s left? What other myth is there?

Check back next week for myth #10! (Skip to Part 4 HERE.) You’ll definitely want this one busted to smithereens in order to get your healing plans back on track.

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"True Healing requires a combination of healthy nutrition, healthy body movements, and emotional wellness. This is what I call the Restoration Trio" ~ Sue Ingebretson