Melancholia, Fibromyalgia and Depression

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Melancholia

My wife and I saw a very interesting movie last night called Melancholia by Lars von Trier. I suspect that movie reviewers and psychologists will have a field day analyzing its meaning. I saw a great parallel between the movie and Fibromyalgia and Depression.

I won’t really give the plot away, but suffice it to say, a rogue planet is about to hit the earth causing its destruction. At the same time, Justine (a woman who suffers from severe depression) is at her wedding reception.  We become familiar with her and her problems with depression during the first half of the movie. The second half of the movie centers on her sister Claire and Claire’s family who are taking care of Justine and their relationships. During the second half, you really see how severe and ill Justine is. All the while, the rogue planet “Melancholia” is coming closer and closer to earth.

I’m not recommending this movie for people with Fibromyalgia, though of course you certainly can identify with it, I’m really recommending this movie for friends, relatives and others who want a glimpse into what the fibro sufferer experiences. The emotions range from fear through acceptance.

This is all I’ll say about the movie plot. The point is that people with fibromyalgia are living in their own isolated and private world. Those around the fibro sufferer cannot really understand what is going on. Sure they try, but as I always say, if you are not living in a Fibromyalgia body, you’ll never really fully understand.

The movie will give you a bit more insight into a Fibromyalgia sufferer’s private hell. Apparently the movie was inspired by Lars von Trier’s own experience with depression.

With Fibromyalgia, we are looking at two overlapping depressions.

First is situational, meaning that anybody with a chronic and painful illness would be depressed. This is only natural. Examples might be not getting the raise at work or being laid off. That would surely depress you. Perhaps a close friend or relative died suddenly. This would also cause you to be depressed. Living life has its ups and downs, sometimes we are happy, sometimes we are depressed and this is normal.

Second is the actual chemical and physiological depression that Fibromyalgia afflicts on its sufferers.  The body is producing so much adrenalin and other hormones and chemicals, due to the nature of the overactive nervous system that brain neuro receptors are being interfered with. This is common for Serotonin and Nor-epinephrine. Remember that most antidepressant medications being used are Serotonin and Nor-epinephrine re-uptake inhibitors. Therefore, people with Fibromyalgia are suffering from these two types of depression and most times, they are overlaid on each other (happening at the same time). It is no wonder that so many health care professionals, who are unfamiliar with Fibromyalgia in the first place) have so much trouble managing these sufferers.

Another aspect of the film depicts the isolation felt by these characters and how they deal with it; the same as how isolation is such a large part of a Fibromyalgia sufferer’s life. A common story I hear is the Fibromyalgia sufferer who had a normal life and a good job but became too ill to work. Less money came into the house. Relationships with the spouse and children became more and more distant, until the fibro sufferer was basically alone. Friends and family had left.

As you watch the movie, you’ll see the relationship between these characters and possibly how a fibro sufferer is feeling.

Dr. Gene Martin

Fibromyalgia Relief Center of the Bay Area

520 South El Camino Real, Ste 520

San Mateo, Ca. 94402

650-558-1010

e-mail: fibro@drgenemartin.com

web: http://www.drgenemartin.com

skype: dr.gene.martin

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