Imagine you wake up and your muscles feel like you have a bad flu and your energy and concentration feels like you have been partying and drinking all night. Only you don’t have the flu and there was no party. That’s a glimpse of what it was like for me to wake up everyday until I healed a big part of what doctors call fibromyalgia. Packed with weakening pain, tired clumsiness and these random flare ups of pain that randomly appear like you accidentally stumbled upon a Pokémon. Gotta catch them all!
My name is Marjolein (Mar-yo-line), 35 years old, from the Netherlands and this is my story:
They(doctors/scientists) don’t know what causes fibromyalgia, the only way to diagnose it, is to rule out anything that can cause similar symptoms. And for some reason they claim it’s incurable?!
When I was diagnosed (at 30) I was prescribed heavy painkillers and muscle relaxers, oh yeah and that I couldn’t do anything about it. I had to give up my job in childcare and was sitting at home in pain, exhausted and suffering.
I refused to accept it! This was not going to be my life! Fuck that!
I tried to look for support in the fibromyalgia community, but with no luck. Those communities consisted of complaining and how nothing could make it better. If you even suggested something, it was laughed at and “been there done that, doesn’t fix it” mentality. On the other hand you had the “avoid all nightshades” and “leaky gut” people. Which basically meant the only thing safe to eat was lettuce?!
I thought, there has to be some middle ground! Something that everyone could do! Without being so extreme one way or the other?!
I discussed it with my rheumatologist and he recommended a pain rehabilitation center.
There I learned that chronic pain in general, is caused by trauma, any trauma: abuse, accident, chronic stress.
So fibromyalgia is basically your nervous system having anxiety and it’s sounding all the alarm bells when you do something extreme as the dishes. Good times!
I learned to be mindful of my body and what it can handle. Finding a balance between movement and rest. With regular body scans or check-ins throughout the day. You’re always looking for the “Goldilocks zone”. Well originally, I had blond hair, so it fits, I guess? Or maybe I am secretly a princess that can feel a pea underneath dozens of mattresses? Like Princess on the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen…Anywho…
I applied as much of the information that was taught to me. Mindfulness, working out gently, prioritizing my needs and what I loved to do, except if there were my boyfriend’s needs of course, because his trauma was way bigger, so he got a pass for EVERYTHING… oh and my job, I need to put all the energy into my new job so that I feel successful and acknowledged and worthy…
Well, as you can predict, that went great!
-Sometimes you need to sit on the needle just a little bit longer until it hurts enough- Luke Mindpower
I fell into a depressive state. Angry at the world, people and general unfairness of life. My energy drained and I was in more pain and had constant flare-ups.
I realized I needed help, I couldn’t do this alone. Unfortunately, my boyfriend wasn’t the man he used to be when I started dating him. He couldn’t support and help me in the way I needed him to. I got help in the household and applied for psychological help. (In the Netherlands psychological help is covered by health insurance, but only if you are diagnosed with depression for example.)
My psychologist helped me get out of the fixed mindset and victim mentality. Turns out people pleasing and perfectionism are also trauma responses, oh goodie!
I started doing the things that I love like hobbies and exercising again. Any zumba lovers out there???!!! Really good antidepressant, I highly recommend it! (Look for Zumba gold classes if you want a low-impact version.)
Although therapy helped me, my psychologist and I realized it wasn’t enough and my psychologist recommended that I find a coach.
In the meantime, I ended the 9,5-year relationship with my boyfriend (he wasn’t a bad person, we both had too much-unhealed trauma to have a healthy relationship) and cut off the remaining friendships with it. I reorganized my social media to give me a positive feed.
And there he was… This crazy Australian dude dancing barefoot in the woods on the other side of the world. My kind of crazy, I thought. With positive affirmations and great music, I started to follow him. Wait, this dude has a podcast?? No way! Let’s check it out!!
From the podcast to his (Dreamchasers) Facebook community, from his community to one of his clients. Luke fucking Mindpower!
In this group and the community it comes with, I learned how to love myself truly and found my life’s purpose (I want to help people heal their chronic pain). I’m taking good care of myself, I’m healing my emotional eating, my pain and traumas. Now I am more sore from the gym than the fibromyalgia, I am happier than I’ve ever been in my life and I don’t need anyone to validate or love me because I do that myself! I am facing my fears and insecurities and tell them to fuck off! I’ll take it from here!
It was a long journey (5 years) and although my journey is no way near finished, I know I am on the right path, and I trust the process. I am enjoying every step of the journey, and I have a lust for life that I could only dream of in the past. Where before I was scared of being seen and judged, now I am sharing my journey on TikTok and Instagram.
Life without hating yourself, people-pleasing and chronic pain is possible! And, you don’t have to have a rigid schedule or a ridiculous diet! Self-love is all you need!
Even in January this year, when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I didn’t let it stop me, I lost over 6 kilos(13,2lbs/0,9st) and feel stronger and healthier than in years!
Like I said, I am nowhere near finished! I will keep going, and nothing is going to stop me! It might slow me down, it might make me pause but I WILL KEEP GOING!!!
Are you coming with me? Yes, you are!
And if nobody is saying this to you, then I will say it: You can do it! You are strong! You are amazing! Don’t let anybody, not even your own brain, tell you differently!
I believe in you!
NOW GO AND GET THE LIFE YOU ALWAYS WANTED, YOU FUCKING BEAUTIFUL SOUL! I love you!
Thank you to Luke, Caroline, the rest of the team, and the Queens! And my sister Saskia who has supported me and continues to support me every step of the way! So grateful for you and will always appreciate you!