The Isolation and Loneliness of Fibromyalgia
When you disconnect yourself from the outside world, you are building a reinforced wall around your life to block out all that would hurt you. But what if the measures you take to protect yourself are actually creating more damage? What if your wall stops the positives from entering as much as it stops the negatives?
More importantly, what if the greatest danger comes from you? Behind the wall you built, there is only you and fibromyalgia. Fibro is a substantial opponent even when only looking at the impact on your physical health. But when you also consider the psychological impact of the disease, you are facing a dangerous adversary.
Fibro and Depression
When you are affected by both fibromyalgia and depression, as many are, you begin to see the outside world differently. This is the nature of depression; it makes good things bad and bad things seem even worse. Additionally, it makes people take illogical and irrational action in the name of depression. For many with fibro, depression is not the problem — the problem is what you do to combat depression.
Isolation is the perfect example of this. Depression has you convinced the people, places and situations common in your world are purely negative.
You begin to think these things will hurt you if they can, which will make your depression and fibro symptoms worse. As a reaction, you begin to withdrawal behaviorally and emotionally as a survival skill in ways that include:
- Being less motivated to leave your home
- Feeling more anxious or worried when leaving the house
- Declining invitations from friends or family to meet or attend gatherings
- Planning fewer social opportunities for yourself
- Ignoring supports when they reach out to you
- Seeing only negatives associated with social connections
At times, withdrawing is a normal and healthy behavior, but problems arise when you add intensity and duration to withdrawing. People who are withdrawn become people who isolate themselves, which leads to the harmful cycle of depression, isolation, and fibro flare-ups. Each influences the other leading to increasingly negative symptoms.