To Klutzo regarding your comment about FM personality changes

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by cls, Dec 9, 2002.

  1. cls

    cls New Member

    I was reading your comparison about personality changes between a friend with MS and those with FM. Are you talking about depressive behavior in those with FM? Just curious.
  2. cls

    cls New Member

    I was reading your comparison about personality changes between a friend with MS and those with FM. Are you talking about depressive behavior in those with FM? Just curious.
  3. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    This board is moving so fast, and I only have about an hour daily on the computer,so that I sometimes miss things addressed to me.
    I meant any sort of change in personality, not just depression. Most people's illnesses don't significantly change who they are as people. In my experience, that does not seem to be the case with FMS, and I can't tell you how many Doctors or Nurse Practitioner's have talked to me at conferences and in their offices about this. They notice the changes in their long-term FMS patients, and usually jump to the conclusion that FMS is a psychiatric disorder. I have seen so many doctors who went from believing it was physical to believing it was psychological in just the past few years. The number of doctors in my area who will treat it themselves and not send you to a psychiatrist has steadily gone down. What I have said to all of them, is that they shouldn't put the cart before the horse! I have seen my own personality change dramatically in the 17 yrs. I have had the FMS, and I can state unequivocally that the FMS came first. I think the altered brain chemistry may be to blame as well as just being worn down by the high morbidity level of the illness. They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, but I think that is a crock.
    For those of you who get mad reading this...please do not kill the messenger! I am not responsible for doctors saying what they say to me, I am just reporting what I've heard over and over. I observed the same changes the doctors talk about when running my support group, but I came to a different conclusion than they did.
    As long as we're on this subject...the western medical model that seperates the mind from the body has got to go. It is false, and it is creating a stigma that helps noone. There is no mental illness or physical illness, there is just illness, and the brain and the body are connected to each other, so let's just drop that nonsense and move on with a solution.
    Getting off my soapbox now,
  4. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    Bumping for CLS
  5. cls

    cls New Member

    Thanks for your reply. This board does move fast, which is one of the interestig things about it. I'm still not sure what personality changes you are talking about. I mentioned depression because dealing with chronic pain sure makes me depressed. If you are not talking depression, then what other changes have you observed in your conversatons and support groups? I am interested to know because maybe I could use what you say for self-reflection.

    I agree totally with the mind-body connection. But with that viewpoint, sometimes I feel that I brought this on myself somehow.
  6. Shirl

    Shirl New Member

    Shalom, Shirl
  7. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    OK, if you want specifics, I will give them, but I will probably get blasted right off this Board from the backlash.
    Background: I am a Psychiatric Social Worker, with lots of experience facilitating small groups. I totally believe that FMS is a physical illness.
    Having said that, after people have had FMS for awhile, even with all my training, I had to keep reminding myself that it was a physical illness talking, and not manifestations of mental illness. I can see why so many medical people, who really are not that knowledgeable about FMS, can think we are all mentally ill. I also see why the secondary depression that is so common in FMS is often missed by clinicians.
    After having FMS awhile, most FMSers present as if they were severe anxiety neurotics. Some even present as if they have mood disorders (ie. bipolarity, hypomania, dysthymia). In fact, I was just dx'd as having a mood disorder, which I seriously doubt, but the doctor in this case knows diddly about FMS, so it did not surprise me much.
    When people seem overly reactive and anxious, depression will be missed, since the clinician is looking for a lack of emotion, rather than too much of it.
    I think a great deal of this hyper-reactivity is due to chemical dysregulation in the brain, but some is probably due to justified frustration with the medical profession's abyssmal lack of knowledge about our illness.
    The question becomes, if the physical alteration of chemisty is in the brain, is it not a mental illness, since illness of the brain is mental? I hate this whole question. I don't care what the answer is! The last time I looked, my head was attached to my body, and the one didn't work without the other!
    I will use myself as an example. Before FMS, I was a typical social worker type, ie. I was totally non-judgemental, endlessly tolerant, kind and understanding, and never asserted myself,which resulted in my being the free shrink for all sorts of needy leeches. Now I am very judgemental, intolerant, have a terrible temper, and will not let anyone use me for anything, any time. I overreact to everything, and once I start reacting, I have trouble stopping. My mind races, a symptom I have often seen mentioned here, and I wonder how many FMSers realize that a racing mind is a symptom of mood disorders. I have seen the same symptoms I manifest in many other FMSers.
    I hope this will help some of you understand why we are so often labelled as mental cases. I don't see any solution to this problem, until Western medicine throws out this ridiculous idea that physical and mental illness are somehow seperate things.
    Did this answer your question?
  8. 1Writer

    1Writer New Member

    When I first got sick, I was dx w/depression, then they tried to say I was bipolar, then not bipolar, just depressed again...put me on Depakote, Tegretol, Busbar, Prozac, Zoloft, (a few I can't even remember) and finally Celexa...that worked the best. I am no longer on any antidepressant and finally was dx w/CFS! After all those years of being a ZOMBIE from the meds and misdiagnosed, now at least I really know what is hurting and what isn't and why...I tend to agree w/you regarding mind AND body connections, could they NOT be.
  9. DeeMerrk

    DeeMerrk New Member

    I really digested your post, and it hit home in many ways, specifically in the mind racing department. It used to be orderly though full of things, but I knew where I was going with the things in my head.

    I believe that is why I have issues with my better half, as I am trying so hard to control myself, that the control in its' self become an issue. I came from a family that argued all the time, and had to learn how to control my temper and be an easy person with whom to live, but as this illness takes its' toll on me, being in control becomes more and more difficult. I dislike myself most of the time for being the way I have become.

    I know it throws my husband for a loop so much of the time. In just a few short years, things that never would have occurred to me to be bothersome, are now blown out of proportion. My mind used to be so keen and alert, and I do all kinds of things to keep it from going stale, but it still feels at times that there is a merry go round in my head, with me riding on one of the horses, and I don't have a chance in hell to catch the brass ring.

    Thank you so much for that posting.

  10. sofy

    sofy New Member

    I dont know what a mood disorder is in the real clinical sense. To me it has that vagueness to it like idiopathic. Racing mind I would take to be "no off switch". All charged up do, do, do until physically exhausted and then cant sleep. I've certainly been there. I always enjoy you input and hope my further inquiry doesnt make you sorry you tried to educate us in the first place. That what you get for hangin' out with a bunch of impaireds. Thanks
  11. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    Thanks to all who read this and didn't kill the messenger.

    If you want to see a perfect example of the personality changes I am taking about, read the current (and many previous) post about people leaving the Board because they think not enough people answer their posts, or they are mistreated, or we have cliques, etc. We've had many posts like this before, and this kind of extremely anxious, hypersensitive,even paranoid, overreactive behavior would not be considered normal by any mental health professional. I know it is the illness talking, but do outsiders know that? Not usually.

    Dee - I read your husband's post and I know he is trying...hang in there! My husband comes from a family where nobody ever argued, and he freaks out when I suddenly explode in anger over some little thing. He thinks I am mad at him, when it is just me being who I am now, unfortunately.

    Sofy - Please don't be so down on yourself. We get enough of that from doctors, don't we? Part of the reason I come here is to help others, since I can't work now. I also get a lot of help from the others here. We're all in this leaky boat together.
    To explain the criteria for mood disorders would take me an hour and my fingers would be in a world of pain, so I'll suggest you do a websearch for "bipolar disorder" + "criteria", and/or "mood disorders" + types + symptoms, or hypomania or dysthymia, etc. You will find more than you ever wanted to know! There are specific criteria, and you must have a certain number of them to be dx'd, just like with FMS where you must have a certain number of tender points.
    The point I was trying to make is that FMS patients may fulfill the criteria for one of these psychiatric diagnoses, but it may only be because their brain chemistry dysregulation is making it appear that they have a mental problem. Just like our altered chemistry can sometimes cause us to appear to have a bladder infection, or appear to have an ulcer, or appear to have an inner ear problem, or a heart problem, and on and on, depending on where the illness is affecting us that day! I once saw an article on FMS entitled "Fibromyalgia - The Great Masquerader". It was about how FMS imitates other diseases, and how we are constantly being tested for other things and coming up normal. Sorry if my fog is making my explanation less than adequate. Is this a bit clearer now?
    [This Message was Edited on 12/11/2002]
  12. achy

    achy New Member

    I was never a laid back kinda person, but I had my act together. I was very organized, very outgoing, got along wiht most people.
    Toady I am different. I am not nearly as organized..I get confused easily, forgetful, frustrated and just basically annoyed. I don't talk to people as easily as I used to.
    I think a lot of it has to to wiht the constant pain. It wears you down. Then add the noise sensitivity, medication side effects and I am now a First class _ITCH.
    I hate myself for how I feel somedays. I am depressed, yes. But I am also moody, agitated and short tempered. I can't help it, The more I try not to be the worse it gets.
    Sometimes I feel like I'm just gunna blow aout of my body!!
    I am fine one minute then the next just the sound of the dogs nails clicking across the wood floor drives me wacko. Or hubby come in and wants to talk and I just don't have the energy to get the words out, so I am curt wiht him. I have to be careful and explain I am having a sesitive moment, can we talk later?...and thank the good Lord he understands..or at least pretends to.
    Don't know if this is what you were looking for, but yeah...My personality has changed and everybody has noticed. Yeah, I can pop a xanax and get it under control again, but what a way to live. Take one pill for pain, one to get you moving than anohter to calm you down from the others....I always hated merry-go-rounds!
    Warm Fuzzies
  13. lucky

    lucky New Member

    Your comparison, Klutzo, is quite accurate when you look at it how outsiders will see us, including doctors who do not know us well or we see for the first time.
    I believe because of the brain chemistry which probably was caused by a virus (or is still caused by a virus or bacteria) that we have all these problems. In other words, the virus was first which caused all the changes lateron.
    My doctor is a firm believer of this theory (so am I) and therefore, with all my 'strange' behaviour sometimes, he told me that he never thought that I was mental or he would have sent me to a psychiatrist if this would be the case. But, the doctor knows me for 16 yrs.
    I have all the symptoms you are having - but I guess it is very hard for doctors to diagnose properly, especially if they see patients only a few times. This is still the saddest part for many of us to be labelled with something which is just not true.
    Kind regards, Lucky
  14. Wreckless

    Wreckless New Member

    My wife said to me "Where is the nice sweet caring man I married? I want him back" I can relate to the anger, and depression. I also was convinced that I had a personality disorder. I never told anyone I thought this, because I was afraid of the implications. Turns out I do have depression, and FMS. Have good doctors who found out what was wrong and started treatment. The Prozac has really helped me calm down. I also have my family involved. For instance, I allow my children to tell me when my behavior is inappropriate. They may say "dad, you're yelling" or "dad, calm down". When this happens, I know it is a red flag, and I need to stop before I work myself into a frenzy.My thinking can get quite confused during these times, and I can be quite irrational. I am lucky to have an understanding family, I know this, but it is also a desire to improve. I have to trust that my wife and kids will not take advantage of this to get thier own way, and surprising enough, they do not. They are all very much concerned about me, and it improves thier lives when I am doing well. I have had to learn to stop, NO MATTER WHAT, when I am cautioned about my behavior. I can always bring up my point latter when I am calm. I hate myself for what my family is going through because of my illness, but i do not know what else I can do. I am not the same person i was, but I have not discounted the fact that I can be better than i used to be, and shall continue to work at it.
  15. cls

    cls New Member

    Thanks for your replys. Klutzo, I understand what you were describing. I don't have the racing mind, irritability thing going, I'm becoming more withdrawn. I pull myself together each morning to go to work, get through work, and when I get home I just want to go to a quiet area and crash. It's not fun for my family because it looks like I'm shutting them out. In regard to anxiety and a racing mind, the only anxiety that I'm concious of is going out with a group of people, I always feel so different than others because I'm feeling bad, can't drink alcohol, can't wait to go home and go to bed, etc. I've been doctoring for a long time and feel burnt out from trying various medication regimes. I also sense frustration on the part of the docs sometimes because this condition is so hard to treat. I don't want to gloom everybody out. I'm turning in for the night. bye.
  16. dhcpolwnk

    dhcpolwnk New Member

    I'm still fairly new to fibromyalgia (about three months now), but a lot of the non-pain symptoms resemble things I've been dealing with due to multiple sclerosis for more than 30 years. (Oops! I'm dating myself!)

    As I deal with my current bout of face and jaw pain, and thinking about some MS-related symptoms, as well as GERD, IBS and other things, and especially when I add in the factor of lack of support that many people with fibromyalgia have from both family and doctors, it seems to me that stress could play a major part in what may appear to be a personality change or disorder. When nobody else is helping you deal with this pain--and in some cases, when others won't even acknowledge it--it seems perfectly understandable to me that you would get more irritable and that you would make a point in advocating to get your needs met, which the docs might interpret as hypochondria because a lot of what goes on with fibro can't be confirmed by some scientific test.

    Just my two cents worth.

    --Laura R.M.

  17. Sandyz

    Sandyz New Member

    I think the personality change is more from the stress and
    the difficulty of living with a horrendous illness. With
    no support and no hope in site for any kind of relief, how
    could you not get depressed, angry, crabby, iritable, with drawn, overly sensitive sometimes?

    That`s not a personality disorder. That`s just trying to
    cope with a very, very tough illness.
  18. WW68

    WW68 New Member

    Hello Kluzo. Don't come here very often, but read your post and loved it!!!!!! totally agree with the 'body mind' connection junk..WW68
  19. marcus1243

    marcus1243 New Member

    You don't seem brain-fogged at all to this reader.
    For myself, I find two major personality changes in me. On the one hand, I've actually become a more compassionate, caring person, and more ready to extend support and help to others. I've completely lost any arrogance I might have had -- along with just about all pride and dignity, unfortunately, which is the downside. I'm a very, very quiet person now -- the mouse hiding in the corner of the room, fearful of any disturbance. I hate that about myself, but when I'm dizzy, nauseous and racked with pain, I mostly just want to be left alone. This illness *does* mess with your head. Big time.