Skip to main content

#Fibromyalgia: You are just a perfectionist

I just read an article on that whole type A personality business with Fibromyalgia and IBS again. And it bothers me because it seems like a rather large assumption they are making. And... I have a type B personality type.

Here is what it is actually stating here:

"biopsychosocial hypotheses abou chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) posit that personality and stress have predisposing and perpetuating roles in the persistent and unexplained fatigue that characterizes this functional somatic syndrome. Some studies indicate that many CFS patients are characterized by an achievement-oriented and perfectionist personality, and that such tendencies coupled with self-criticism drive these individuals to work beyond the point of exhaustion in a way that may initiate or perpetuate chronic fatigue.
Although research indicates that CFS patients use maladaptive coping strategies more than healthy controls, it is unknown whether this is true relative to other chronic illness groups.
This study examined perfectionism dimensions and maladaptive coping styles in CFS patients compared with healthy controls and two other chronic illness groups. Participants were drawn from a larger sample of community-dwelling adults from the USA or Canada (n = 980) who completed an anonymous online survey on personality and health after providing informed consent. Authors selected individuals who indicated on a medical checklist that included 13 different chronic health conditions that they had been diagnosed by a medical professional with CFS, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or fibromyalgia (FM)/arthritis for 3 subsamples.
The remaining participants were screened for the presence of other chronic diseases, leaving a final healthy sample of 564 subjects, which was divided into 6 random samples of comparable size to the illness groups, one of which was randomly chosen as the healthy control group.
Maladaptive perfectionism was significantly correlated with self-blame coping in both the CFS group and the healthy controls. The correlation between maladaptive perfectionism and behavioral disengagement coping was also significant for both group. However, these correlations did not differ significantly. Standards perfectionism was not significantly correlated with self-blame coping in the CFS group, but was negatively correlated in the healthy controls. The correlations with behavioral disengagement coping were negative in the CFS group and controls, but not significantly different. In the IBS group, maladaptive perfectionism was significantly correlated with each of the 4 maladaptive coping styles, whereas standards perfectionism negatively correlated with denial and behavioral disengagement.
In the FM/arthritis group, maladaptive perfectionism was significantly correlated with all but substance use coping while standards perfectionism was not significantly correlated with any of the coping strategies.
Overall, these findings suggests that maladaptive perfectionism promotes self-critical thoughts that fuel a tendency to cope with stress by becoming consumed with self-blame rather than taking constructive action, a tendency that may be pronounced in the context of CFS, and that contributes to the prolonged chronic stress and subsequent allostatic crash posited by previous studies. Furthermore, they provide evidence that cognitive behavioral interventions that target perfectionism may help enhance the coping capacities of people with CFS." Science Codex

Hate to say it but I am not a perfectionist in any sense of the word. Therefore, we are looking at a generalization. My coping strategies generally are not maladaptive either, although we always have to be on thee look out for behaviors that become so when we are coping with chronic pain and chronic illness... some habits can become maladaptive. Even before my illness began I was not a perfectionist. I was the sort of kid who used to work on a term paper the night before and still get a good grade because I am smart, not because I am that inclined to do well. I never worried excessively about doing well. Just did what I did and let the chips fall where they may. Never stressed over tests, just studied and then did. And never experienced test anxiety, as it never occurred to me to worry before hand. Had some horrible speaking in public anxiety because I am rather reserved and shy though. I am just rather easy going and laid back to be honest. I do worry in excess but stop myself when I realize I cannot do anything about it. I am very indecisive and then make quick decisions when I realize mu indecisiveness is causing me stress. Just not a perfectionist. I am a disorganized, procrastinator that is a little flaky and really absentminded. Not so much a perfectionist and over-achiever, eh?

The fact remains they like to toss this out there because it it is our Personality, and Stress then it is All In Our Heads and Somatic. In other words not Physical but Mental. And that is another story altogether.  That is ignoring a great deal of evidence. That is not to say stress and how we respond to it is not a factor. The way we are physiologically means we have a messed up stress response... not stress first then slippery slope into disease, disease first and then poor stress response. In my opinion, of course. You just never know.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Signs the pain is getting the best of you

100 Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

There was a site that had this and I had linked to it on Tumblr but it is gone. So I had to hunt down someone who found my post and posted the whole thing in a forum. Anyway it is around but I'm posting it here so I will not have to hunt it down to reference it. Now we all know the major symptoms are the wide-spread pain, but our pain isn't just muscle pain... it can be nerve types of pain as well, and the fatigue and the insomnia. And even among symptoms there are some far more frequent than others, but it should be said we have categories... like the cognitive dysfunction, which is a broad one that has more than one symptom and we often just say fibrofog. The insomnia... more than one sleeping disorder. So the list is interesting.




GENERAL
__ Fatigue, made worse by physical exertion or stress
__ Activity level decreased to less than 50% of pre-illness activity level
__ Recurrent flu-like illness
__ Sore throat
__ Hoarseness
__ Tender or swollen lymph nodes (glands), especiall…

When I say I am good

When people ask me how I am feeling 99% of the time I am lying. I often say 'not bad', because I feel it is slightly more honest than 'good' or 'fine'. Got sick of fine. Anyway, I lie for many reasons. 



I'm having a good pain day: They happen and I'll say that I'm good, fine, not bad. I even feel like I can accomplish great things... in moderation. In which case, relatively speaking, for Me I am not actually lying. This is a Good pain day, it is Not Bad for me and I am Fine with it. I just don't want to explain: I just don't want to explain how crappy I feel and in which way I mean. Because I am tired of it. I just want to deal with it, without having to discuss it, mention it or have any sympathy expressed about it. Because it can be complicated. It may be a migraine with specific symptoms. Maybe it is a FM flare though. Or both. And then I have to explain what it is because most people think my migraines are the main issue but I could be FM…