Is fibromyalgia linked to the emotional traumas from your childhood?

Most doctors would say “no!” Some doctors believe that fibromyalgia is brought on by how we process and deal with stress. Those of us with fibromyalgia apparently deal with pain signals differently in our brain and central nervous system than other people.

I've talked to many people with fibromyalgia and a good number of them had some kind of emotional trauma in their childhood or sometimes during their life. Is it the emotional trauma that causes bodies to go into shock or the fact that we do not deal with the emotional stress that causes the problems?

In my case, I had an entire childhood of emotional trauma. First of all, my father died of cancer when I was nine years old. He died in our home after being bedridden for three months. He and I never had a very good relationship, I was supposed to be a boy and turned out to be a girl with red hair and freckles … he was so disappointed. Secondly, my mother died of cancer when I was fifteen years old. She died in the New England Medical Center after a seven year roller coaster ride of experimental drugs, surgeries, and new techniques. I was devastated!

My younger sister and I went to live in another city with an Aunt and Uncle. This particular Aunt never liked my mother for reasons that I will never understand, and she soon spoke of her feelings about my mother freely in front of my sister and I. My Aunt and Uncle had never had children of their own, they were in their sixties, set in their ways and certainly had no room in their lives for two orphans. But, my mother had no choice, there was no other family to take care of my sister and I. Frankly, we were very lucky, we could have gone to a foster home.

I left my Aunt and Uncle's home two weeks after I graduated from high school and went to live in the city, where I lived at the YWCA and attended Cosmetology School. I fell apart emotionally, the realization that I was alone, finally hit me right between the eyes. My life took a few more tumbles and turns before it finally stabilized.

That was 47 years ago when I lost my mother. It was three years ago when I went back to my class reunion … not the class that I graduated with, but the class that I had to leave when my mother died and my life was turned upside down. Seeing all of my classmates again had been on my bucket list for many years and I finally got the opportunity to go back to my hometown. I went to the reunion, visited with all my friends, walked around the town, visited the house that we had lived in and sat on the front steps of the porch, like I used to do when my mother would sit out there in her chair and do her knitting. (Reminds me of the song that Miranda Lambert sings “The House That Built Me”.) The house had burnt six months before that, so it was vacant. What was left of the house was a lonely, abandoned shell that finally confirmed that my mother was really gone and that part of my life was really over. Even seeing my classmates again made me realize that they were no longer young, that they had not been suspended in time waiting for me to come back.

I had been in denial for 45 years and carried that pain around with me like a heavy suitcase across my shoulders, until I finally went back to face the truth. The sad part about all of this is that I did not realize what I was doing, I did not realize the stress that I was putting my mind and body through. Stress seems to be the culprit when confronted with fibromyalgia.

Everyone experiences some type of stress, but it's all in the way we deal with it that matters most. We must find a way to deal with our demons and negative thoughts and learn to cope with reality so that we can heal our mind, body and spirit.