Stress, Stress Chemicals, and Fibromyalgia
Part of the pain of fibromyalgia, I believe, is from stress chemical buildup in the tissues.
Negative emotions indicate a state of stress chemical creation: So, I believe that any time you have felt anger, or irritation, or fear, or guilt, or blame, or unworthiness, or jealousy, or worry, or any of those really bad-feeling emotions, stress chemicals were being created in your body to give you energy.
The body can handle small amounts but not big amounts of stress chemicals: A small to moderate amount of stress chemicals can be handled by the body easily, but I believe there are at least 4 conditions in which the fear or anger or worry or other negative emotions produces so much stress chemicals the body can’t get them all out at once and instead has to store them in the hopes of processing them later.
The four conditions in which stress chemicals are stored are when the negative emotion:
1) is really BIG
2) goes on for a long time
3) happens a lot
4) is ignored, repressed, swallowed or denied or distracted from instead of directly experienced
Lots of stress chemicals for some: For some of us, we have had a lot of really big events happen in our lives and we have reacted in completely understandable and normal fear and anger and so have released tons and tons of stress chemicals.
Learned emotional responses: Some of us have learned emotional states of being or responses that leave us in a state of worry for hours or days (or weeks!). Me, I spent most of my life in fear, anger, blame, guilt, unworthiness, and worry.
(Looking back, what each of these emotions was telling me was “wake up! Think some different thoughts! This isn’t natural! You are hurting yourself!”)
Me – I would have a big event happen in my life, and then I would just go on – push forward with my day or my life, never taking the time to stop and fully process the energies that the event created …
… and they were big energies – sometimes energy meant to save my life – and they would just bounce around in my body instead of being used.
At this point, I was going to give you a hypothetical example of a child being punished whose body releases stress chemicals because the body doesn’t know who is ‘right or wrong’ or ‘good or bad’ – it just knows if it is fearful or angry that it needs quick energy to escape the ‘threat’.
But I am going to skip that. I don’t want to seem to be blaming anyone for ‘causing’ the disease of fibromyalgia in me or you.
Resentment is the worst for fibromyalgia, in my opinion: Blame is a completely normal and healthy step on the way back up to the positive emotions, but it is still one of those emotional states that indicates fibromyalgia is being created or perpetuated – and extreme blame (resentment) is an especially huge indicator, because resentment implies a state of blame that someone hangs out in often, and if someone is there often, that means that someone is swimming in stress chemicals!
I am sure you know what it feels like in your body to be scared or anxious or depressed or worried or angry.
I’m sure you can remember a few instances in your life when you actually felt the sudden surge in adrenaline or energy in your bloodstream.
If you didn’t go out and sprint a quarter mile or so after the event you can be sure some of that energy got stored in your body somewhere.
Crying can release stress chemicals too: Another good way besides physical exertion to release stress chemicals is to cry. Emotional crying gets these stress chemicals out of the body through the tears. If you really want to know more about this, read the following article, but if not, just skip past the link and read the quote, which contains the real meat of the article.
Both emotional and irritant tears contain 30 times more manganese than is found in blood, suggesting that human tear glands can concentrate and remove substances from the body. (In sea birds like gulls, albatrosses and cormorants, tear glands are more powerful than kidneys at removing toxic levels of salt from the body.)
About 85 percent of women and 73 percent of men say they feel better after crying, suggesting, says Frey, that “tears help remove chemicals that build up during stress.”
So let’s think of an example of a child who stores some stress chemicals after an ‘event’ or after some chronic worry. Say that this same scenario happens with this child daily or weekly and the body is creating and storing more stress chemicals then it can remove during normal operations.
Say this child then grows up and continues in this habit of worrying or sitting in emotional situations and then not being able to rid the body of the chemicals.
People are generally resilient and this won’t bother her in any way … for several years maybe.
The tipping point of Fibromyalgia: Eventually, a person who lays down more stress chemicals than they release will reach a tipping point … and in many people that tipping point is fibromyalgia.
Or maybe it starts with a sore neck – this person starts getting some pain in their neck and starts to focus on it. The pain in the neck is probably caused from an accumulation of stress chemicals and this is just where the discomfort is first being noticed …
… but the worry about the pain or the situation creates more stress chemicals …
And thus, I believe, starts the vicious cycle that is a disease that doctors can find no cause for and no physical ‘marker’ that they can test for.
It Goes like this: First comes the accumulation of stress chemicals indicated by negative emotional states, which eventually causes a bit of pain, which causes a negative emotional state, which causes accumulation of more chemicals, which causes more pain … until it seems like there is no escape from the pain and the discomfort and the worry and the disappointment, and the disease.
and the solution? well, we each have to find our own solutions, but for me, the way I have learned to not build up stress chemicals is to become really sensitive to how I am feeling, because when I notice I am feeling less than good I can STOP, and do whatever I have to do to feel good again (take a walk, dismiss thoughts, deep breathing, stretching, trusting that everything will work out, take a time out). Once I am feeling good, then I can be certain I am releasing no more stress chemicals.
It’s been a long path, and sometimes it’s not easy, and it’s certainly not what I have always known, but it becomes easier every day.
For people who have anxiety attacks or generalized anxiety, I can highly recommend a program called Panic Away. here’s my review on Panic Away.
Highly Recommended: 30 Days to Feel Better From Fibromyalgia
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