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  • Taylor Brown

The Personal Behind the Professional

I'm excited to announce I'm starting a new support group for adults with chronic pain / illness. This is a different type of service and population for me but it comes from a deeply personal place and need, and it will undoubtedly become a passion project.

Here is my "why."

After a lifetime of severe anxiety I entered the two hardest and most grief-filled years of my life. It sent my body into a complete spiral because, let's face it, I wasn't starting with a full tank.

Last year I started to feel exhaustion like I've never felt before. Sleeping for 12-14 hours every night and still barely keeping my eyes open the next day. Constantly feeling like I was getting sick with that icky, heavy feeling in my chest, but the symptoms never fully coming to a head. Brain fog so intense I often could not process or think through the simplest of tasks. I was becoming a shell of myself.

And then as life became more stressful and big changes were on the horizon, I started to experience full-body pain. I was convinced I was getting the flu because the body aches felt just like that... like I had been hit by a truck. But again... no other symptoms ever developed. Just intense, excruciating pain and fatigue. Three days later, after limited mobility and a whole lot of questions, it went away.

But then it came back several more times in these episodes lasting about a week where I was completely debilitated from pain. I could not complete simple tasks. I could not take my dog on a walk. I was in tears every night. OTC pain meds would only make me comfortable enough to finally dose off into a fitful sleep, but wouldn't take the pain away entirely.

After the third episode like this, I never went back to 100%. I now have these symptoms almost daily to a varying degree.

Multiple doctors, specialists, tests, MRIs, and labs later, their best guess is that I have fibromyalgia.

In the months since then I have come to understand and believe that my fibromyalgia is absolutely a physical condition and manifestation born from intense psychological distress over a long period of time.

My body has unequivocally declared the current conditions as unmanageable.

I listened and began to make changes to my stress levels, to the way I treat myself, to how I view my place on this earth. But the catch-22 is that fibromyalgia (or any chronic condition) also causes psychological distress:

Not being able to participate in life the same way is immensely frustrating.

Being too tired to leave the house is isolating and trapping.

Not being understood by friends and family is lonely.

Lack of sleep is debilitating.

Having an invisible condition means often being judged or mistrusted.

I do not over identify with my fibromyalgia, but it's now a part of my life and I do understand that it is often a lonely and hopeless experience. It is also so often inextricably linked with psychological trauma, which I treat almost exclusively in my practice.

This is why I set out to create this group. Because those of us with chronic conditions are at home, feeling like shit, and lonely, and who better to understand this than fellow pain-sufferers?

We need to not have to explain ourselves so much. We need to be believed. We need to be understood. And we can do that for each other.

I'm ready to be here for you, and I'm so ready for you to be there for each other.

Join me in this support group! See flyer for details and reach out for questions.

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