Fibromyalgia and Setting Limits/Boundaries

“Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing, that we see too late the one that is open”, Alexander Graham Bell

In so many ways we are fortunate to have access to valuable  information which then allows us to take more control over our own lives. I can only speculate about what it must have been like for those who suffered from fibromyalgia for decades without a diagnosis, or recognizing what the causes were, or how to work with chronic pain and fatigue. Even worse would have been the cost of trying to find someone who could alleviate the worry. It would have been a time when communication with others who suffered from the same condition (that is, those of us with a highly sensitive personality trait, causing our fibromyalgia) would not have been as accessible.

Before medicare in Canada it is likely that people could not afford to go from doctor to doctor hoping for a name for this invisible dis-ease. It must be dreadful in those countries whose citizens are not insured and cannot afford visits to physicians. Still, in every country in the world, not just those who do not have access to health care for all , many of us with such conditions as fibromyalgia experience health professionals who are dubious about the very existence of this dis-ease. So, the question arises: what do we do when we encounter those who do not believe there is such a syndrome as that which we live with day after day? How do we deal with the constant demands of others who do not understand that while we look healthy we are not able  to participate in the usual activities that others enjoy? It is only ourselves who can take control over our own situation with those doubters. It isn’t easy.

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Summer time when there are crowds at concerts, museums, or on beaches where the noise level can be high becomes especially problematic. It can be overwhelming to even attend family barbecues/reunions when there is perhaps music and laughter and our nervous systems then go into overdrive. Children, young nieces and nephews, grandchildren whom we love, are by their very nature easy to arouse and excite us.

Sometimes it seems like we have to be in a cocoon just to find peace, while at the same time feeling happy and depressed simultaneously at gatherings which should give us joy. The difficulty is how to set limits on those occasions which over- stimulate us without offending anyone or embarrassing ourselves. Finding a physical space where we can escape for a few minutes and calm ourselves is not often easy, but is so very important to our well being. Those of us who recognize that the few moments of quiet are necessary to avoid flare-ups must become expert in finding that private space. It’s all about setting limits to what we can tolerate ,which at times seems impossible. It is then that we must bring on our strategies, such as taking time to deep breathe, finding a place where we can do a minute meditation, and avoiding as much as possible those who are particularly excitable and cause us to go into overdrive. Practicing these schemes of relaxation can open doors for us that we once thought too difficult to enjoy.

The summer is almost over. Time to gear up for the cool autumn! Relax, breathe, take time to open up a new way of being in the world, think positive thoughts, and move that body as much as possible.

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References:

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