Anxiety and Fibro

I've been a member of this site since June 2013 and have noticed just how many of us also suffer from anxiety problems.

My Pain Management Consultant said he has noticed a definite link, and sees many people who's primary problem was anxiety which then developed into fibro.

He believes that severe emotional trauma can lead to fibro due to events of this type in our lives causing damage to our nervous system and nerve endings which ties in with our generalised muscle pain.

We had a long chat about this, I had a severe breakdown in 2009 which did not become properly controlled until 2011, that is when my pains started, so I am inclined to agree with him.

I'm now left with GAD (generalised anxiety disorder)

I feel for you all as anxiety can be just as disabling as fibro.

Lucy xxx

I am on here because of family members with fibro. I am very happy I don’t have fibro. But I am on the anxiety bus with you! Mine began somewhere between when my daughter was diagnosed with autism and my marriage shortly after that began to fall apart. During my life it was mounding from one horrible incident after another but, these two things broke the camels back.I exercised, dove head first into my daughters diagnosis and learned everything I could to help her, saw two different counsels to reconcile marriage, I made huge changes to reduce stress in my daily living. I literally looked at everyone and everything and made a decision…should it/they stay or go? I went to my doctor and got a low dose antidepressant even when my husband doesn’t think anone should take them. By chance, I got hives and was prescribed hydroxylzine for the rash. All of a sudden the anxiety was very manageable. Coincidentally the antihistamine works great for anxiety. Especialy mine where it drives my skin crazy in general. The medicines I take are super low dose 25mg and 10mg. But this is the level that works best for me. I have tried an antidepressant before twice wit higher doses…after the first pill I had to immediately stop. It was just too much for me. I had to ask for a lower dose to get it. Doctors also suggested Xanax, I refused. I’m a glutin for punishment and want to try everything before I end up on that. I work my way from the bottom up when I am confronted with medicine. This winter has been driving everyone crazy and we will all do better with some outside time. Wether that’s exercise or just sitting on the porch in the morning with coffee. I need my summer routine back. In the winter I turn into a recluse. My car wouldn’t even start half the winter it was so cold! So Lucy, I hear you. I hope you find Spring comes and eases your symptoms. I hope you can locate anything that is causing you stress and pitch it. I wish you well!!

Hi Tiffany,

Thanks for your reply, My Niece has autism, she's 16 now, tries so hard to lead a normal life, but it's a worry for us all, especially at the age she is now! I'm very close to her.

I think after nearly 4 years I'm stuck on the anxiety bus! But at least with my lifestyle changes and medication, it is better managed.

Happy to chat anytime

Love Lucy xx

I don't suffer from it, but I agree there is a definite link. Soooo many people here have mentioned having anxiety. Sometimes it feels like 90 percent of the people here have it. So yes, yes, I definitely agree there is a link between emotional trauma and fibro. I had posted an article about this subject about a year ago, also linking stress and early trauma to fibromyalgia.

You know, I did have anxiety many years ago and anti-depressants really helped me to control it. I wonder if something like that could help others who suffer from anxiety? I'm no doctor so I don't know but maybe it's worth looking into.

It's weird beyond belief that your fibro pain started right after you recovered from your breakdown. Like it was waiting until you were well enough to start up. I'm really, really sorry that you've gone through two such horrible experiences. At least now you can people who you can share your experiences with. We're here to listen and help.

Good for you for getting beyond the breakdown. That takes a lot of courage and strength. I hope you get enough support on your other issues so you feel better.



Hi Lucy. I can relate to this very much. I had a severe breakdown in 1989 which took a few years to recover completely from. I believe that what I have gone through since my Dad passed away in 2009 and Mom in 2011 is very similar in nature to the first. What is so odd to me is that between the two, say 1991 to 2007, I was fine. Or so I thought. I was more fragile than I ever expected.

I just shared on another discussion that I do believe that I am better this winter than last. Maybe as we grow further from the source of our anxiety we can get somewhat better? Maybe, but I am still taking many meds and always seeking other kinds of therapy.

Very good topic Lucy. Thank you for sharing.

Tiffany, I think it's wonderful that you are on here to learn for a family member. Welcome.

What you describe sounds like big anxiety to me. I hope you are able to pin-point and eliminate any stressors possible. That seems to be the key and the thing that most of us did not do or were not able to do.



I too developed fibro after an emotional breakdown from abuse and harassment that lasted 10 years. Now I have GAD and PTSD along with fibro. I am on disability and spend mydays trying to remain peaceful and calm and do what I can. I have good days and bad days but Ive noticed some improvement since starting daily meditation. At times I have to scream and let out the tension but then a minute later I feel better . I too believe fibro is from emotional trauma that disrupts proper nerve functioning making them overly sensitized. I had this same condition in my early 20s following the breakup of a bad relationship but recovered fully a yerar after . Now at 45 I have it again. I think I will eventually recover again but I need to maintain healthier boundaries to keep peace and kindness in my life. In counseling and working on this. HUGS to all who have been emotionally wounded. I understand. Love and care deeply for yourself. Don't spend time around those who don't love and care deeply for you as well. Who needs garbage in their lives when you can have beauty. Love forgive and learn. Its a process to heal. Comfort and nurture your deepest needs. Don't neglect them. Your important and you matter too. Its time to heal our wounds. Whatever that takes.

Lucy, sad to hear you have GAD. I know what a challenge it can be.

Any kind of significant trauma to our bodies or emotions does seem to muck up people's health. There's a new branch of neurology that deals with functional neurological symptoms, things people deal with, including pain, that tests don't show. The conditions are real, but often diagnosed as mental instability or psychosomatic. I'm glad you have such a sharp pain specialist to work with, who listens and shows compassion and caring for your better wellness.

Anxiety, depression, and chronic illness all seem to run in packs together. One makes another worse and it becomes a nasty cycle. We each are different, so finding what works for us can be tricky. It's part of our journey. I try to look at it as a well hidden lesson, meant for me to discover, then move forward. Somewhere down the line that lesson will help me or help others.

I'm sure you already are practicing things like mindfulness, breathing, and anything else tat works for you. I use music as therapy too. Be well, and know you are SO not alone.

soft loving hugs,


Researchers have found that the HPA axis (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis) is affected in fibro. Not enough or too much cortisol can cause anxiety. An excess of the thyroid hormone T4 can also cause anxiety. I don't think doctors pay enough attention to these areas when treating patients with anxiety and/or fibro. Cortisol levels are more accurately measured with 24 hour saliva tests, rather than a single blood test taken during the day. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands. Symptoms of adrenal insufficiency include


postural hypotension (dizziness on standing)


craving for sweet or salty foods

sensitivity to light

frequent infections


easily startled

sensitivity to cold



brain fog

inability to concentrate

excessive thirst and urination

dark circles under the eyes

dry skin

body temperature that fluctuates abnormally

If adrenal insufficiency is the cause of your anxiety you could treat it with small doses of hydrocortisone (which is bio-identical to the cortisone produced by the body). A good reference book on this topic is Safe Uses of Cortisol by Dr William McK Jefferies, an endocrinologist who had 40 years experience treating adrenal problems.

I can see that point. I was a severely abused as child at home, bullied all thru school, and then married into another abusive situation to get out of another. Currently i am totally free of abuse and have a wonderful husband. But my fibro started at age 35 right towards then end of my life of living hell. I am nlw 42 and i am seriously very sick with fibro, polymyalgia. Cfs, sciatica and migraines. I believe my stress levels and my injury from my ex throwing me off 3 story building had everything to do with my illness.

Very interesting Lucy because I was thinking my Anxiety was because of the Fibromyalgia. Like that was my coping mechanism. I'm in pain but pushing through it hurting and irritated I have anxiety attacks. It wasn't until my dr put me on Lexapro that I was fully aware of the pain. Now I'm learning to cope with the pain. It never occurred to me to look at it the other way around.



Robyin. You and I have a similar history of abuse. One doctor explained to me that if somebody yells at you meanly you would feel a bit shaken up for a day or two. If somebody smacks you your emotions would be more intense and if somebody punched you in the face then that's stronger emotions you have to process through. Now take a history of abuseor a severe trauma and your mind shuts down because it cant cope but all the emotions are there just you cant feel it all at once. So it comes out a little ata time. As anxiety. Anxiety is all that repressed emotion. He has me lay in bed quietly every morning or as often as tolerated and see what happens. The anxiety starts soon after awakening but I sit with it and I say Im safe, Im OK. Its just emotions they cant hurt me. This is where I do inner child work. Self soothing the wounded part in me. Many times a memory will come to mind and Ill remember being hit so I stay with the memory and comfort that little girl in me . I cry and rock myself and the anxiety gradually lifts . Then I get up and have a nice shower and breakfast. Its a long process to heal yourself but if you don't do it no one else can. You have to take pills and that cures nothing. Don't be afraid of anxiety. Its just needing your attention, to nurture and be there for yourself so your spirit can heal. Ive had times where I screamed under my breath. I knew I was onto something when the severe pain in my back went away. Your storeing your trauma. Be loving and compassionate to yourself. Our bodies are trying to heal but it needs our loving accepting attention to do so. Never push yourself. Respect the pain. Your emotionally wounded, be kind. You deserve to heal. HUGS PS. All this repressed emotional trauma stimulates your nervous system and your body becomes sensitized. On edge and nerves are raw. Its just a wound. Like any other physical wound. Its raw and painful and throbbing and sore. Be gentle with you.

Hello April,

Thanks for sharing your story, sometimes it helps to share stories like ours with those who really understand.

I'm so sorry to hear that your GAD and PTSD is as a result of years of emotional trauma. A lot of us have different causes of our anxiety but we all share the same symptoms as a result.

I wasn't abused or harassed, which must have been just awful for you, mine was brought on by sheer worry, fear and panic, about anything at the time, even basic things like cleaning the bathroom, cooking a meal, general household tasks, would send me into a panic at the thought of doing them. It was a terrible time, I'd spend a good deal of the day retching in the bathroom at the thought of doing anything, but at the same time, I was in such a state I couldn't sit still, couldn't read a book or do my knitting, which I usually love doing. I don't think I watched anything on TV properly for over 6 months.

I couldn't sleep, I'd wake with a pounding heart, sweating, blurred vision and terrible mental confusion.

I've had to make a lot of life changes in order to control this, I resigned from my career of 27 years as a nurse, in 2011, moved house, as I couldn't bear to live in the house I once loved, as it held such bad memories for me, I felt so locked in, every room held memories of my most anxious moments and times of panic, especially the bathroom, it was there, in utter despair that I attempted suicide........I recovered, thanks to my Husband, Son and local mental health teams, but the house had to go in order to get on that journey of recovery.

I too am on disability, here in The UK, and have to ensure my life is calm and peaceful too, like you it has left me overly sensitised, both physical and emotional, even down to types of medication and fabric conditioner!

Yes, we must learn to heal our emotional wounds and care for ourselves and those of us in the same boat. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. It's just a shame that when you do recover it's still there in the back of your mind and in dreams, I too have PTSD from when it was at it's worst.

I'm sorry to hear that at 45 you have it again, I'm 47, just over 4 years now since it started and nearly 3 years since it completely wiped me out, but it's still just on the point of simmering below the surface, it hasn't gone and I don't think it ever will completely, but my life changes and medication have helped me get further down that recovery road with time. I do not want it back! But my biggest sacrifice was giving up my £25.000 a year job as a UK Nursing Sister, but it was essential, else I don't think I'd be here now.

So, my life is quiet, calm, simple, no frills but My Husband and I are happy, my son is getting Married soon to a lovely girl and now, I'm glad to be alive.

Many thanks to you all for replying to my's so good to know you're all out there...wherever you may be in the World!!!

Love and Hugs to you April.....I'm happy to chat anytime, whether it be openly on here or via a person message.

Lucy xxxx

Saw this and thought of you.....Kitty xxxx

Thank you to you all who have contributed to this discussion. xxxx

My counselor told me sometimes you have to slow down and look back so you can see whats dragging you down and heal it. Trauma doesn't go away by trudgeing ahead. As I have found out :( But I still like that quote because its encourageing to move forward in the healing process. Still would be nice to have a magic pill.

Lucy, What an accomplishment, working as a Nurse. I bet you have a lot of stories LOL Now its time to nurse yourself. Thanks for shareing your situation with me, it did actually help me talking about mine. It helps me understand myself better when I talk about it and why this happened again. Gentle hugs and deep peace sent your way.

This is such a good discussion. I am sorry there are so many hurting emotionally.

I hope that everyone who has trauma can work through it all. I know working through the pain seems impossible sometimes, but we really do need to get it out so we can heal physically. This new PT I'm seeing suggests that each place where we hold chronic pain there lives a certain traumatic event. The fibro pain will stay until we have gotten it all out. I remember a time when my 17 year old daughters boyfriend suddenly passed away. I had to scream. I had to go somewhere and just scream. It did something for my soul. It was a very difficult time to go through. My daughter is ok now and is 35 years old with a nice family. But for her, lots of working through stuff has happened in the last 14 years.

I have severe anxiety, depression, PTSD, and bi-polar dx's. I don't know what more I can get out. I'm in my mid fifties. I have been working on it all for 25 years. LOL ! I'll keep you posted. :0)

Love you all.


Yes the screams are what I seem to have stifled because I never made a sound when I was abused nor did I ever express any emotion except fear. I would freeze. SO theworking through it now is important for me. Its not like that everyday. Some days I actually feel calm and just achey. You sound like you've worked through a lot and my counselor said it can take decades. She also said that because of the traumas our nervous system and brain chemistry change. So meditation, daily quiet prayer, Tai chi, message ect are all gentle therapies to normalize our bodies again. Its hard to imagine what emotional trauma does to you so she explains things to me in physical analogies. Like...imagine if you were in a 5 car pile up on the highway. Youd be in the hospital a long time, lots of physical therapy and your body may never work the same again but you could learn to cope and have assistiance. She depresses me when she talks like that but it does help me understand Im not crazy for having the symptoms in my nervous system that I have. My nervous system was in several 5 car pile ups LOL. Why is life so awful for some people. Its made me long for a peaceful world where people love and care for one another and are compassionate and kind. A place where nobody causes pain to someone and everyones hearts are whole and healed. Sounds like heaven. This board is a little piece of heaven. But the world is not like that and people are messed up and hurt others. So I make a little world for myself at home and only let in kind people. I go where I enjoy going and stay out of loud noisy places. Anything that brings comfort to my soul and peace to my heart is allowed. Nothing else is allowed now. My counselor said I have developed radical boundaries and that's good. Im finally learning to take good care of myself. The sun is out today. I need some of that :) April

I love this, Lucy! I have joked with my husband that I may become a crazy cat lady as I get older. Now, I just have my baby Cobbler, who is a real love, and my sons cat Rick.

These are beautiful babies!