Beyond five years ago, I too would not have understood what these afflictions meant for people with them. I would have been compassionate but I wouldn’t have totally got it. That isn’t anyone’s fault as it is always tough to understand what you cannot see or experience yourself. However, I do not wish these medical conditions on anyone so that they could understand them.
What came first, the mental health issues or the pain? The simple answer is who knows! About five years ago I began to experience sever anxiety with crippling panic attacks. Around the same time I was noticing that my body was experiencing random pains in my joints and muscles. This all came with extreme fatigue, a lack of being able to concentrate or the ability to remember even simple things. After having the first of three complete mental and physical breakdowns, I was also diagnosed with major depression. At that time it was hard to say if the depression caused the anxiety, panic and pain or if those all caused me to be depressed. Five years later I believe I know the answer to that which I will discuss later as I want to discuss Fibromyalgia first.
As I said, the mental health issues seemed to be the low hanging fruit and easiest to diagnose so they were addressed first. This however didn’t make my pains any less of a concern. My psychiatrists, psychologist, neurologist and PCP all suggested my pains could be psychosomatic and treating them might also alleviate my pain. None the less, my PCP began to send me for every test known to man to try and get some answers. I saw eye doctors, endocrinologists, had MRI’s of my head, abdominal ultrasound and lost a couple of pints of blood to run a million tests. I also began to see a rheumatologist MD who ran more tests including a bone density test, x-rays and more blood work. This was all before I was officially diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. In fact, at this point I didn’t even know what FM was. If there is anything humorous about all of this it’s that I was injected with radioactive material for the bone density test and had to carry around a medical card in case I sent off any Geiger meters.