Fibromyalgia, Depression & Self-Care

Updated: 5 days ago

Fibromyalgia is a condition that is so much more than only painful muscles and fatigue. Not only does it cause pain, but eventually, it challenges your entire way of life – feelings, attitude, and other emotions.

Fibromyalgia Isolation and Depression

It is almost impossible not to suffer from some level of depression when suffering from fibromyalgia. The connection between fibromyalgia and depression is genuine. Studies show that those with fibromyalgia are about three times more prone to depression than those without fibromyalgia.

No one knows the exact reason for the link. It could be that the same changes or abnormalities in the nervous system and brain chemistry, which make a person more sensitive to pain, also cause them to be more prone to depression.

Living With Fibromyalgia

Even if this is not the case, the simple reality of living as a fibromyalgia sufferer is sure to cause intense feelings of negative emotion. Feeling sad or low is a normal reaction to the pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia.

It is tough to maintain a positive attitude when you go to bed at night in pain, wake in pain, and know that there will possibly be more pain during the day, all seemingly without apparent cause. In addition, it is disheartening having to rely on pain relievers to make it through the day.

People with fibromyalgia often experience wanting to curl up in a ball and wish the world would disappear. However, knowing it won't and working through their physical pain and mental distress drags them further down emotionally.

Discovering Depression

You can have fibromyalgia, not even realize you're suffering from depression, which is a condition itself. It's easy to look at life with fibromyalgia, dealing with day in and day out with constant pain, poor sleep night after night, extreme fatigue, and feeling overwhelmed, and accept this all part of fibromyalgia. However, with fibromyalgia, there can already be chronic low energy levels and loss of pleasure in formerly enjoyable activities; this chronic sadness can manifest in feelings of guilt and worthlessness.

However, when you are struggling with this fibromyalgia life, you need to stop and think about your mental health for a moment to consider that the decreased energy, inability to concentrate, irritability, and anxiety are more than just physical; perhaps it's depression. The constant stress of living with fibromyalgia symptoms can also cause your nervous system to become overloaded with a range of overwhelming feelings, including anxiety and anger. Ultimately this can also result in feeling depressed.

The Need For Action

It's vital to gain control over depression associated with fibromyalgia. Most people diagnosed with depression are encouraged to look for the cause of their depression – if you've been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you most likely already know the reason.

Feelings of depression are valid symptoms of fibromyalgia. However, when discussing your range of symptoms with your health care provider, please don't gloss over them or focus only on the physical effects. This will help your doctor to suggest methods of treatment that are right for you better.

Although there's no specified cure for fibromyalgia, the symptoms, including depression, can be treated successfully. The method of controlling or reducing depression symptoms you choose may include antidepressants, cognitive behavior therapy, exercise, positive diet changes, and other alternative techniques such as biofeedback, acupuncture, and meditation.

Making time for adequate self-care can effectively combat depression, especially if you've been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

Daily Self-Care Checklist

If you want to improve your mood daily, then you must have a self-care plan. You might think you don't have the time to create and implementing a plan for your self-care, but by taking care of your body and mind, you can avoid additional mental or health problems in the future.

The best way to keep track of self-care is by using a self-care journal or a calendar to schedule the times and days for appointments or other activities. Use these self-care guidelines to improve the way that you feel.

Emotional Self-Care

Experts believe that your emotional well-being is vitally important, and you may overlook this aspect of your health. For example, suppose you avoid addressing stressful situations in your life. In that case, you might consider that your emotional well-being is satisfactory, and you might even feel that you are in control of how you are feeling about stressful situations. Unfortunately, when we choose to ignore emotional difficulties and not address how stressful situations impact our health, they tend to be left, and the problems worsen with time. One of the best ways to understand your emotional health is by taking the time to notice your mood.

Suppose you are a busy person or overwhelmed by your fibromyalgia symptoms. In that case, you might not notice that you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, sad, or angry until the emotions lead to a flare-up of fibromyalgia symptoms, including a prolonged depressed mood. Keeping a diary of life events and recording your mood can help you identify situations that negatively affect your mood. It can also help you discover the small things you may not realize, bringing you joy, happiness, and hope.

Physical Self-Care