I really wish it was all in my head. That way, I could go to counseling, work on myself, reduce my stress, relax my mind, maybe take some medicine, and the muscle pain, the constant trips to the bathroom, the fatigue, it would go away. Wouldn’t that be nice?
I know there is history to this idea that invisible illnesses are “all in your head.” My understanding is it came out of a time where many illnesses were thought to be psychiatric, particularly those that plagued women. We were “hysterical.” Well, there are days I am hysterical, but it isn’t because of a mental illness (although I deal with that too), it is because IT HURTS!!! Unrelenting pain would make the best of us hysterical, especially when people don’t believe us.
So I often ask myself, and I know you wonder too, if you deal with chronic pain, who would make this stuff up? And yes, I have met people who have munchausen and munchausen by proxy in my line of work in special education. And that is a real disorder. But why would SO MANY of us have that? Seriously, would that many people really want to have a physical disorder that causes constant pain, motor control issues, bowel and bladder issues, inflammatory response, skin rashes and the like? How did this idea not only take root but continue to perpetuate and grow out of control?
Doctors, scientific minds, they want proof, and so much of what we deal with is hard to see. Sure, me yelping in pain when you hit a trigger point is something you can hear, but can you see it? A well trained Dr. will be able to feel those areas of muscle constriction, but how many will try? Thankfully, for my sanity, bladder hydrodistension actually yielded the physical result of a bladder filled with glomerations (bladder hemorrhages), so not only did my Doctor believe it, I had proof! But the fibromyalgia has proved a testier beast as far as physical proof is concerned.
But the real truth is, I actually wish it was all in my head. Because counseling, combined with psychiatric and ADHD meds really have helped control my mental illness and ADHD. They are still there, but so much more manageable and liveable. There has been no such relief for the fibromyalgia or the Interstitial Cystitis. Elmiron, some supplements and a special diet take the edge off the bladder pain, but it is still there wrecking havoc. Advil will take the edge off the fibro pain, but only a little, and there is nothing that stops the unrelenting fatigue when it hits. Tried the “fibro” meds and they make me feel like a zombie, and that is not an improvement. So please, let this be all in my head. Then it has a chance of getting better. And I so want it to get better.