Fibromyalgia or Depression?

There are many peo­ple, espe­cial­ly doc­tors, who claim that fibromyal­gia is just a symp­tom of depres­sion. I’ve had both, and I know the dif­fer­ence quite well. They are very, very dif­fer­ent.

Being in pain all the time can cer­tain­ly lead to depres­sion. That’s just log­i­cal. There are, how­ev­er, peo­ple who have fibromyal­gia who are not clin­i­cal­ly depressed. Depres­sion can also man­i­fest as phys­i­cal pain, but it is does not meet the cri­te­ria for fibromyal­gia.

I was treat­ed for depres­sion for years before I devel­oped FMS, though, and I tru­ly believe that if I’d got­ten prop­er treat­ment for men­tal health issues in my child­hood (post-trau­mat­ic stress dis­or­der and all the com­pli­ca­tions it brought, includ­ing major depres­sive dis­or­der) I prob­a­bly wouldn’t have devel­oped FMS.

I nev­er have trou­ble dis­tin­guish­ing between the two, or between either of them and CFS/ME, which I also have. They’re all quite dif­fer­ent.

With FMS, the pain caus­es fatigue, and togeth­er they can (but don’t always) have an affect on your emo­tions. You may feel like doing some­thing, but your body absolute­ly will not coop­er­ate. There have been times when I’ve been feel­ing great, gone out to do some­thing I was SO look­ing for­ward to–and near­ly col­lapsed in the mid­dle of every­thing when my body said, “All right, that’s it, no more. Done. Where’s the bed?” (We’ve joked that if I ever man­age to get a scoot­er or elec­tric wheel­chair, it will have to have a remote con­trol fea­ture so that Sam can steer me on home when I’ve passed out.)

But seri­ous clin­i­cal depression…it doesn’t mat­ter whether you’ve got the phys­i­cal ener­gy or not. Log­ic doesn’t mat­ter. Know­ing that you’d feel bet­ter for hav­ing a nice, hot show­er is utter­ly irrel­e­vant. The fact that the tele­phone ring­ing is con­tribut­ing to your headache, and you could make it stop by mere­ly lift­ing up your arm up push­ing a but­ton, is irrel­e­vant, because lift­ing your arm would take too much damned effort. Yes, some­where, on some lev­el, you may know that you’ll lose yet more func­tion for not get­ting up and doing your exer­cis­es, but it’s less impor­tant than star­ing at the ceil­ing, or the pil­low, or what­ev­er is in front of your face right now. Not that you real­ly make any kind of con­scious val­ue judg­ment or any­thing, but the star­ing has iner­tia going for it. Even if noth­ing IS hurt­ing, even if you have all the ener­gy in the world and you could do any­thing you just don’t care.

Remem­ber that, the next time you hear some­one claim­ing that FMS and depres­sion are the same.

May 24, 2008 · Cyn Armistead · 4 Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Pain

4 Responses

  1. Fibrant Living: FMS or Depression? - Enemy of Entropy by Cynthia Armistead/TechnoMom - May 24, 2008

    […] Fibrant Liv­ing: FMS or Depres­sion? Post­ed by: cyn | Leave a com­ment | Link to this | Cat­e­go­ry: Fibromyal­gia, Health « Diane Duane Rocks | Home | I post­ed over at Fibrant Liv­ing today, about the dif­fer­ence between fibromyal­gia and depres­sion. […]

  2. Kerry - May 25, 2008

    I just want­ed to say that I couldn’t agree more. I have both depres­sion and CFS and they are total­ly dif­fer­ent. I can tell which is which and gen­er­al­ly the depres­sion is con­trolled by med­ica­tion but the CFS is unaf­fect­ed by it, show­ing that with the depres­sion removed I am still ill.

  3. Robin - June 18, 2008

    I too think that my ear­li­er depres­sion, along with the phys­i­cal trau­ma of a fall, led to my FMS. I nev­er knew I’d live with the con­se­quences for­ev­er.

    I think you’ve said more elo­quent­ly what I was try­ing to say. I’ll be adding you to my reg­u­lar reads. Thanks.

  4. cyn - June 18, 2008

    Thanks, Robin. I was glad to find your blog and anoth­er voice of rea­son.