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10 Ways Living With Fibromyalgia Can Affect Your Mental Health

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Fibromyalgia is largely a disorder that is marked by widespread nerve pain. However, my experience with fibromyalgia has been that the pain I experience deeply affects my mental health. I have found that managing my fibromyalgia frequently requires caring for my mental health while addressing fibromyalgia symptoms.

The following are 10 ways that living with fibromyalgia can affect your mental health:

1) Depression is a common symptom of fibromyalgia.

2) Fibromyalgia is linked to other mental illnesses, such as borderline personality disorder, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

3) Trauma may be a cause of fibromyalgia and is often linked to the development of the illness.

4) Fibromyalgia pain can impact your mood by lowering your quality of life.

5) Having a sensitivity to cold and heat can impact an individual’s comfort level.

6) While pain can impact one’s moods, this can also occur vice versa. If one is experiencing depression, their pain levels and discomfort may increase.

7) Fibromyalgia can affect one’s sleep, and sleeping poorly can increase experiences of depression and anxiety.

8) Fibro fog (having issues with concentration) can increase depression and possible instances of ADHD.

9) Fatigue can cause severe sleepiness, and while a person may sleep longer, they often wake up in pain, which can negatively affect their mood.

10) Mourning an inability to do as much as one used to before acquiring fibromyalgia is linked to higher levels of depression.

Throughout my journey with fibromyalgia, I have found that depression is more linked to my disorder than anything else. I experience symptoms of major depressive disorder, and my pain and fibro fog deeply impact my depression levels. I am on medication for this, but I still experience an increase in symptoms when my pain levels and temperature intolerances are high. I also struggle with being able to fall and stay asleep, which I am also on medication for, but when I am unable to get enough sleep. I notice that I am more sensitive to cold and heat and I experience widespread body pain.

Fibromyalgia is often a very difficult illness to live with, and it is even harder when our mental health is impacted. If you haven’t, I would suggest seeing a psychiatrist as part of your fibromyalgia treatment team because they may be able to prescribe you medication that can target any depression you are experiencing, as well as help you to manage your sleep. My psychiatrist plays a big part in helping me manage my fibromyalgia in conjunction with my mental illnesses, and I have found a lot of relief with her.

It is also worth seeing a psychiatrist to try and find any mental health diagnoses that you may be experiencing with your fibromyalgia. Having additional diagnoses can help to guide your treatment and help you find more relief from a mental health standpoint. I have noticed that while pain is one of the biggest symptoms I experience with my fibromyalgia, targeting my mental health symptoms works to also target the pain and provide me with relief.

If you have fibromyalgia, I would advise you to keep a journal and track how your moods are impacted by your pain and associated symptoms. Doing so will help you to get a handle on your mental health and improve your symptoms with the help of a healthcare provider, should you decide to see one. I have found a lot of support in the form of my psychiatrist, and I am so thankful to have someone who can help me manage my mental health as it is impacted by my fibromyalgia symptoms. I hope you can find someone who can help you on both fronts as well.

Getty image by Lumezia.

Originally published: May 22, 2022
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