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Why My Top Coping Mechanism for Fibromyalgia Is Counseling

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Ever since being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I have had plenty of my ups and downs. At one point, a medication seemed promising, but then another health issue popped up causing some more adjustment to be needed as well as another diagnosis on top of one. It was my first time dealing with co-morbid conditions as well as dealing with the financial and social restraints that came with each diagnosis. As background reference for this story, I am a college student studying music education.

My top coping mechanism for dealing with my health so far has been counseling. When I first began going through medical testing, my professors insisted on me going to counseling, but, being the stubborn girl I am, I decided I didn’t need it. I was coping fairly well, or at least I thought I was. With that mindset, I eventually went through a phase of feeling overwhelmed and frustrated because I didn’t feel like I was being listened to or taken seriously by doctors.

Eventually, one day I was talking with one of my friends and she was going to counseling. She suggested I go even if it was just for one so I could see if I needed it, because at my university, we get eight sessions free and the rest are $20 per session or by case. I don’t know why it clicked then, but I made an appointment and that appointment was so helpful that it led to me finally getting a diagnosis. My counselor was able to get me in to see a general practitioner for a second opinion who then took over my case and ensure that I would get an answer because at this point, I was barely doing anything with the music portion of my degree due to my limitations.


After that, I continued to go to counseling because even after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, it was not the end. There was still and even now a lot I needed to learn as well as cope with that came along with this diagnosis. I didn’t realize I would have to deal with relationship strains, misunderstandings, experimentation with medicines (with doctor approval), extra financial worries, limitations, and so on and so forth. Counseling became a point where I could put everything out on the table and organize everything, which I couldn’t do with my friends.

I still go to counseling today. I am writing this on a day I went to a session and feel relieved afterwards. I feel like I can think clearer and deal with my pain just a bit better. Everyone is going to have their own coping mechanisms. I have plenty of other mechanisms to help me, but this one is my top. I highly encourage anyone to go seek counseling if it is available to you. I know there is a big stigma around going to counseling, but in reality, it is extremely healthy to go even if it is for one session over something small. That one session could be playing a bigger role in your life than you realize.

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Thinkstock photo by Victor_Tongdee

Originally published: September 17, 2017
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