Understanding the Mind-Body Connection in Chronic Fatigue & Fibromyalgia

Or, Forgiveness Part VI

Am I Crazy? Understanding the Mind-Body Connection in CFS/Fibromyalgia

by Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D.

The first half of this article was reprinted here last week.

The Mind-Body Connection

All illnesses have a psychological component. Although the highly stressed executive may have a bacterial infection such as Helicobacter pylori or excess acid causing his or her ulcer, it helps to remove the three telephones from his or her ear while treating the infections and excess acid.

I find that I, and most people with CFS/FMS, are mega-type-A overachievers. As a group, our sensitivity and intuitive abilities are high. We often had low self-esteem as children and tended to seek approval, sometimes from someone who simply was not going to give it. This, combined with our sensitivity to the feelings of others, caused us to avoid conflict and to try to meet other people’s needs—at the expense of our own. Many of us closed off our feelings and our empathic nature for a while because we were too young to handle their intensity. Because of our approval-seeking and low self-esteem, we often drove ourselves to being the best at what we did, or to try to be all things to all people. Not being able to say no because we wanted to avoid conflict or loss of approval led us to feel as though we could not defend our emotional boundaries, and left us feeling drained. We responded to fatigue by redoubling our efforts, instead of resting, as our bodies tried to tell us to do. As we depleted our energy reserves—sometimes while feeling great on an adrenaline “high”—we encountered the physical trigger to our disease (“blew our fuse”), whether it was an infection, an injury, childbirth, or something else. This trigger, combined with physical problems such as yeast overgrowth or hormonal deficiencies and, often, a genetic tendency to the disease, set the process in motion. Continue reading