Which came first: your anxiety disorder, or your chronic illness?
For many, anxiety disorder caused by chronic illness was a unwelcome revelation. A heightened sense of fear and worry developed right alongside their other chronic symptoms, and voila! Without even trying, a full-blown anxiety disorder emerged. However, for others, it seemed as if diseases such as FMS and other chronic pain conditions developed as a result of dealing with the ravages that years of mental stress can bring.
So, it really is a ‘chicken or egg first’ kind of thing. And, it can be both. I believe my own Fibromyalgia and CFS/ME is a result of several factors:
Genetic pre-disposition ~ my personality is hard-wired to be emotional, empathetic, sensitive ect., which was negatively impacted by:
Childhood abuse, which helped to set up:
Emotional coping difficulties from childhood into adulthood ~ depression at an early age, eating disorder, stress related physical issues ect., which lead to:
An over-taxed central nervous system ~ fight/flight takes a toll on the CNS which can result in Fibromyalgia, and other chronic pain conditions
Coupled with a bout of Epstein Barr Virus in my early teens that re-activates from time to time (hence the CFS/ME).
Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are highly complex conditions. So much so, that even after all this time, we are still unclear on what exactly it is. We know it is a multi-sypmtomatic disease brought about by a variety of causes.
There are however, certain commonalities that occur in FMS patients. This can certainly be seen in the chronic pain/anxiety sphere. The ‘Anxiety And Depression Association Of America’ lists several chronic conditions that often accompany GAD (generalized anxiety disorder):
Chronic Back Pain
There is also a potential chemical factor that may be involved as well. ‘Serotonin’ which affects; mood, social behavior, sleep, digestive issues, ect. has been found to be low in a majority of FMS patients. Guess what? Serotonin imbalance has also been found in those struggling with anxiety disorders.
I have always had high levels of anxiety. As chronic pain began to set in, and what I now know is FMS, it feels as though my struggles with GAD increased. Since the medical community is still trying to figure it all out, all we really can know for sure is what we experience within ourselves. And our own personal experiences are as varied and individualistic as we are.Certain commonalities occur in Fibromyalgia patients, like Generalized Anxiety Disorder Click To Tweet
Anxiety Disorder Caused By Chronic Illness? 3 Helpful Steps To Managing Your Anxiety
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy ~ basically, learning how to re-train your thinking. You can see a professional for this, or even research it, and do the work yourself. Up to the individual.
Manage Your Chronic Condition ~ doing all we know to do to stay on top of our healthcare. Practicing good self-care by doing all we know to do; faithful taking meds, good nutrition, seeking help when needed, ect.
Education ~ research, research, then research some more. Be pro-active in your healthcare by arming yourself with as much knowledge as possible, then seek out the appropriate professional care.