Fibromyalgia in a 45-year-old woman.

The diagnosis was Fibromyalgia. It took about 10 years before I was given that diagnosis, but when I did I was finally glad that someone put a label to a very painful, and at times, strange condition I had. I had a great variety of symptoms such as pain all over my body, fatigue, sensitivity to smells and lights, headaches, and many more. Some days I would feel better than others. I was told there was no cure and that I would have to learn to cope with pain and to maintain myself as much as possible, which would determine my daily quality of living. I could take over the counter drugs or a prescription of Motrin 800 mg. to help with pain. I was prescribed antidepressants to help with my sleepless nights. I received physical therapy and even participated in a sleep clinic (which didn't help).

My life has consisted of many personal traumas. Emotional and painful traumas. Life changing events that consumed me most the time. I had several losses and events that would become very important characteristics of my identity. I would have to endure one loss and soon another would be around the corner to greet me. I always felt that I had a great network of friends and such a deep faith in God that I would be OK. However I now see that I chose to hang on to my pain as some type of security. It was a part of me, and now I know I used it to validate my feelings, as something to say, "Hey, look at me, I feel the pain too". It was a learned trait to suffer and cling to the turmoil and emptiness of loss.

I continued to search for an answer. No one knew the root cause of fibromyalgia and only offered aid to temporarily try to relieve symptoms. I went to seminars, tried special diets, took the mild pain meds, and tried mild tolerable exercise. Then one day I saw on a segment of the noon local news a new treatment offered by The Mind Body Medicine program of Dr. Schubiner. The segment said that people with pain and particularly fibromyalgia were finding relief through journaling. Writing their thoughts and getting out their feelings on paper provided a channel of relief and discovery. I was very interested and searched the website extensively to find some information that finally led me to contact him about the program.

I was interviewed and accepted into the workshop that Dr. Schubiner was offering. I somewhat knew what to expect with journaling, but I was nervous. I knew that if I went through with this, it meant a commitment to "lay down my pain;" my emotional pain. I had suffered enough and carried a consuming load for too long. I wanted to rid myself of my agonizing physical pain and learned I had to release my hurts and sadness as well. I committed to muster up some bravery and work the program. I am so thankful I did.

I believe I have trapped all my emotional pain and chose to lock it away and it had nowhere else to go but to manifest itself in my body. No wonder fibromyalgia is such a mystery. No one I had ever dealt with in the medical community had ever mentioned the power of the mind body connection and the affects it could have.

Through the writings, the self-discovery, the meditation CD, my willingness to be well, and God's instrument through Dr. Schubiner and his kind spirit, I am in a much different place now. The cell doors of my imprisonment of pain have opened and I am practically pain free. I have learned to not shove down my pain and to know my feelings are important and very real. I continue to practice what I have learned through the workshop which was one of life's greatest "gifts" to me: the gift to heal and the permission to let go. What joy to not be in constant pain! When moments arise when I feel some type of pain setting in, I stop and ask myself, "what is bothering me right now?" I try to be ever so aware of my surroundings and situations and then say to my pain, "Oh no, you will not be a part of me, I know what this is about!!!" I then am able to stop it in its tracks and continue on my journey of healing.

Marla R.

*The personal stories are from actual course participants and are used with permission. The names and photos have been changed to protect confidentiality.