Ok, here we go…I’m going to open up a little bit about relationships. Mainly because I need to get some crap off my chest, but also to help anyone else dealing with a similar situation, because, let’s face it, other people’s experiences or thoughts can help us gain perception on our own.
During the past couple of weeks I found this to be quite true, as I looked to forums and other public sources for a type of reinforcement behind the decision I made…Even when I knew that I made the right choice for the good of my health. It’s funny (in a terrible sort of way) how our emotions tend to push against what’s really best for us.
This brings me to one of the biggest issues with toxic relationships: letting go of one. There are a lot more direct issues when dealing with physical or verbal abuse from a friend or spouse, such as one’s level of anxiety, depression, physical well-being, etc. But beyond all that, is the toughest thing of all:
Letting go of all of that.
Human beings are creatures of habit, and we form into grooves quite easily. Good or bad, healthy or destructive – a habit can be formed around anything that is done repetitively over a long period of time. It’s the basis for addiction, and plays a huge role when it comes to why we hang on to relationships.
When we are around the same person for a long enough time, whether they help us or hurt us, we get used to those emotions and we become comfortable with the circumstances, although from an objective perception we may know they are destructive. We will deny advice from friends, refuse to see the truth, and lie to ourselves just to keep up the habit, similar to a person who’s hooked on alcohol or cigarettes.
If you read my blog often, you know I’m a huge fan of music, and in this case I find the song ‘I Miss The Misery’, by Halestorm to be more than just fitting, and it should be self-explanatory of why that is in the name. It explains a toxic relationship, and some of the darker, subconscious reasons a person stays in one. Another song by the same band, ‘Familiar Taste of Poison’, does an excellent job to illustrate a similar point. I suggest checking out both if you’re a fan of awesome rock music, and amazing female vocals.
These songs have also been comforting for me in the past few weeks as I let go of a toxic, but close relationship. Recently, I had to end a 10 year bond with a friend that I have had a rich history with – both good and bad. I wouldn’t have done this if not for one reason: my health.
About three months ago, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. This came after going through almost two years of testing for M.S (Multiple Sclerosis) and other neurological disorders that cause widespread pain, and along with a cache of uncomfortable symptoms like: numbness, fatigue, nausea, tingling sensations in limbs, stiffness, weakness, loss of muscle control, burning sensations, skin burns to the touch, and so on. I was having a great number of these symptoms at random moments, with the exception of widespread pain, weakness, stiffness, and fatigue, which is more of the constant struggle I deal with, while occasionally one of the above symptoms can take me from my work anywhere from an hour, to a day, or more. And this occurs at any random time, and can be relieved just as randomly. Because of this mixed bag of symptoms, and the backup of patients waiting for MRI’s (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) in Saskatchewan, diagnosis took a long time.
Fibromyalgia is a disease with symptoms similar to M.S, which can vary between patients. Some have an easier time easing their symptoms and living a normal life, while others go through debilitating pain and discomfort. I got the latter of the two.
Not much about Fibromyalgia is understood, but scientists and researchers have known about the disease for almost two centuries now. It is now thought that physical, emotional and mental trauma, over a long period of time, can cause nerve receptors to misfire (or as I like to say, the switches are stuck in the ‘Fuck You’ position), turning stress signals into pain signals. Studies have shown that over 70 percent of all Fibromyalgia patients went through long periods of strain before developing the disease, and that emotional, mental, and physical stressors can influence symptoms for better or for worse. A final trigger for susceptibility is still being studied, but there are a wide host of outside factors for why a person may develop Fibromyalgia during these times of stress.
What’s this have to do with my story?
There’s some evidence that my long term emotional stress had to do with the relationship I’m talking about, and unfortunately, that stress hadn’t really stopped. It rose and fell at times, but it never stopped.
There really isn’t a cure for Fibro (as far as they know right now), but there are steps to making sure it goes into recession for long periods, and sometimes it never comes back. For some, pills work to alleviate symptoms. Others take natural remedies. I think if you really look, there are almost a hundred different ways a person can treat Fibromyalgia, and my doctor and I tried every single effective known cure that we could. Now, I’m treating my pain with Marijuana to calm down my nerve receptors, while using exercise and good living to try and set them back to their normal state – rewire my brain, so to speak. I also have a hiatus hernia which makes this a slight bit difficult, as it continues to send signals to my receptors to indicate real damage or inflammation. But that’s a whole other story and something I will get past once I get it fixed up.
Because of this treatment process I had to let go of one of my closest friends. As I said before, we were together on/off for a number of years, beginning with a relationship that lasted a good portion of our teenage lives. Even after breaking up, we always found a need for each other, and then we would seek each other out. We were always there for each other when things got rough, and when I look back, I realize it was ridiculous when I think of what some of the stress was caused by.
There were a lot of bad things that happened over the years, and I won’t paint myself as a perfect picture. I know there were times when I wasn’t as understanding as I should have been; times I was an asshole, and times I seemed like I didn’t care. But looking at things from the outside view, I know that she wasn’t the one being hurt most in the ten year history of our relationship.
I don’t want to deface anybody so I really don’t want to get into too many details, but I should offer some explanation. I was cheated on, lied to, manipulated, and led on numerous times throughout the ten years, but I kept it all for the sake of the good times. And, foolishly, for the hope that maybe one day everything would be all right. Just like the fairy tales say.
Unfortunately, my Fibromyalgia doesn’t give a damn about fairy tales, and this was a tough realization to face. I lied to myself for the better part of the past two months, convincing myself that it wasn’t true. I lied to myself, saying that the cause for my emotional stress came from somewhere else, and that she no longer affected me. Eventually, I came to grips with the fact that every time I thought of her, my pain physically increased a little, and then doubled when I was around her -sometimes even tripling, depending on circumstance. I finally had to let her go, this time for good, and it was one of the toughest decisions I’ve made in my life.
Afterward, I was left wondering if I made the right choice. I thought that I was wrong, that I acted too irrationally, and that I was an idiot because now I had lost her. This stress was followed by pain, and then tears…and then finally, I needed help. I went online and began to search for other Fibromyalgia patients with a similar story, and I was comforted by the hundreds of different patients who have dealt with the same thing that I have.
I’m not saying that the relationship was the main cause of the Fibro, but it was a factor, and as long as I was within it, I was never going to get better. If I had it my way, I would be rid of the Fibro and I would have kept her in my life. But life isn’t fair that way, and my health needed to come first.
I wanted to tell this story for a few reasons.
One: To illustrate the kind of damage that can occur when one forces themselves through a toxic relationship. It’s important to recognize the signs of danger and seek help when you need to get out. It can be hard, I know. The toughest thing really is letting go. It’s been over a week, and I’m still questioning my decision, although I know it was the right one. It’ll be a long time before that feeling is gone, and by then I might start feeling the some of the relief that I did it all for.
The second reason I wanted tell this story, was for others like me. If you have Fibromyalgia and are in a bad relationship, even if it’s not what you would consider abusive, it could be causing you extreme pain. Keep an eye out for the stressors and act accordingly. You don’t always have to be rid of the person, but you can talk to them about the problem and try to resolve it. If it can’t be resolved, then you need to do what’s best for your health, and let go.
I know this was a jumble of rant, and some of this may be confusing. So please, leave any questions or comments below, and I will be sure to get back to you. I will link some resources I’ve used to help me understand the disease below, as well as the links to the songs I mentioned earlier.
Thanks for reading.
Pro Health Forum:
University of Maryland Study, Fibromyalgia: An in depth report of causes, diagnosis, treatments and prevention:
Psychosocial Factors of Fibromyalgia:
Fibromyalgia Syndrome: What Have We Learned?
Some Therapy Music for a Rock Fan in a Bad Relationship:
Halestorm – I Miss The Misery:
Halestorm – Familiar Taste of Poison:
Did you like this article?
Do you like to discuss philosophy, writing, fiction and more?
Then be sure to subscribe to the blog. It’s free, so all you have to lose is your sanity. Possibly. I offer no guarantees on the outcome of your intellectual well-being. I just write to inform and entertain.
You can also follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Adam_Gainer
Or Like me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorAdamGainer
While you’re at it, don’t be too shy to check out my books!