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How Watching ‘Doctor Strange’ Helped Me Accept My Fibromyalgia

Like most weekend afternoons, my husband and I decided to go out to eat and watch a movie. I wasn’t too picky, so he ended up choosing “Doctor Strange.”

For those of you who haven’t seen it — spoilers ahead. All I knew going into the theater was that he was the newest in a long line of Marvel movies. My initial impression of Dr. Stephen Strange was that he was intelligent, gifted and extremely arrogant. He’s a brilliant neurosurgeon who saves the lives of those who may be deemed hopeless to others, but he does it for his own glory.

But he gets into a horrible care accident while driving carelessly one night. This is where I could tell his origin story was coming into play. As his car careens off of a cliff, you can see his hands go into the dashboard. When he comes to, he’s lying in a hospital bed with his hands heavily bandaged and is told he will be OK but unable to operate again.

Stephen is frantic and begins searching for a way to regain what was lost. Who is he if he cannot be a doctor? During the scene of the accident, I begin to tear up, but not because it was an emotional scene. Yes, it was horrible, but it wasn’t meant to cause tears. I started to tear up because I could identify with the sense of loss that comes with not knowing who you are after you lose something. He went to doctor after doctor, desperate for a cure, for a way to overcome.

Eleven years ago this month, I started experiencing the symptoms I’ve come to identify as fibromyalgia. I spent years going to specialist after specialist, reading countless books, trying diets, supplements, teas — anything to make myself well. Nothing worked, long term anyway. Some treatments actually made things worse.

After some time, Stephen goes to someone who can reportedly cure physical ailments. Stephen spends the last of what he has to go see her and to learn to use his mind to heal his body. And magic, but let’s leave that out for a minute. As he struggled to learn to use his mind to overcome his physical limitations, I saw how fighting against what has already happened won’t change anything for the better and that there’s no going back.

Near the end of the movie, Stephen has to make a choice to either go back to being a doctor or to take what he’s learned and improve the lives of those around him. He chooses the latter. 

I decided I will try to do the same. 

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Photo courtesy of Doctor Strange on Facebook