What is flamenco?

Flamenco expresses several seemingly contradictory feelings at the same time: unbridled passion and indignation, as well as pain, distress and deep despair.

Flamenco dance is a collective term for over fifty different dance styles and dance techniques. Depending on the style, different props are used: flamenco fans, scarves, hats, castanets.

When you hear the songlines and the pounding of the dancing feet, at first it seems overwhelming, powerful, all-encompassing.

Making the disease graspable

Have I told you already? I ran a support group. Many people there told me that they couldn't paint. We wanted to use paint to give the illness a different expression. This belief is often connected with experiences from school, where pictures are supposed to be a  certain way. No room for intuition and interpretation. I was moved by these testimonials, because these people did not dare to put something on paper, for fear of being judged. But that was not the point.

There are other ways to achieve what I have in mind. You can make up images for the disease, or compare them to something you know. Associating images with things we want to remember is helpful in memory training. It can also help to make the disease more graspable. I'll try it out, see if you can relate: On the linked page, I compared chronically ill people with snowdrops. Let´s use something new You are like a snowdrops

A passionate dance - Flamenco

In the 80s, a film by Carlos Saura was released in the cinemas. Flamenco was a medium to tell the story of Bizet's opera "Carmen". At that time I had no idea about the disease fibromyalgia, but this dance fascinated me and I took lessons.

Carmen is about an attractive, self-confident gypsy woman with whom a soldier falls hopelessly in love. But he confines her with his love.

One song line is:

"Love is a stubborn bird,

..which nothing can tame,...

What do Fibromyalgia and Flamenco have in common?

Fibromyalgia syndrome does not fit any pattern either, it does not follow any rules. Each affected person experiences it somewhat differently. Until now, it has not been completely controlled by drugs or treatments. The disease can be alleviated, but not cured.

Fibromyalgia syndrome is also a collective term for many symptoms.

I don't want to compare fibromyalgia with love. Nevertheless, this unruliness, the capriciousness, the pain, the need and the deep despair are also characteristics of this disease, I think.

Fibromyalgia is described as "dazzling" and "mysterious" in training courses for doctors. Until now, I have found these terms pejorative and discriminatory. If I imagine the disease as a flamenco, then these words can apply. But my aim is not to trivialize the illness.  It is a symbolic image that enables me to counteract the illness in my thoughts.

What am I getting at? When dancing a flamenco, sometimes a person dances very determinedly in one direction but is then pushed back by a person from the other direction. For me, this is an image that says, "You (the disease) don't determine everything, I'm there too and I can face you and do something."

The picture is not quite constant in its statement. But in this way, you can connect the disease with something positive in your head, and that has an effect. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-power-of-positive-thinking

Which pictures help you?

Have you ever tried to find a picture for the disease?x

What went well today?

One mantra of mine that I try to follow with varying success is: "Focus on what you can do, (not what you no longer can do!)

In this mood I am quite courageous and say, seek the positive aspect in your illness. "I'm sorry?" I hear you say. "What could be positive about the fact that I am constantly in pain, cannot concentrate, have to go to the toilet all the time, cannot sleep, and much more?" Sounds like a tall order I know. 

This blog's been taking up all the time and energy I have for a while now. Also an trait of illness, it takes me much longer to do things. If I now address the issue of the Corona pandemic, then I am in a very difficult phase. Many people are disoriented, as there are different relaxation regulations from country to country. Protest movements are also forming. My topic is a different one.

During the period of the tighter lock-down, many positive characteristics emerged: Helpfulness, insight, conscious communication, appreciation of the simple things, we cooked and ate together again. (This all has other aspects, but let's stick with it)

Many positive messages were sent out by letter, mobile phone, music, video, clapping, and many more.

The bottom line is: We have our disease - Fibromyalgia. It's about acceptance. A simple word - a very difficult process.

How about looking for the positive messages in our illness? New invigorating acquaintances, praise from a doctor/therapist or a friend, a new hobby, experienced charity, our dog, or another pet that gives us unconditional love and encourages us to keep moving. New qualities we have - patience, empathy. I'm sure you'll think of something.

We were encouraged by our Umbrella Association, the DFV e.V., to keep a positive diary. "What went well today?" I don't do this every day, but sometimes. It changes your perspective.

Positive messages - a boomerang

This is an excerpt from an e-mail to a library I frequently go to .

"The library, in the place where I partly grew up, (possibly I had already told you) was my safe haven. I had a restless childhood. I read there, of course, but I also learned, did homework, and simply fled there as well. And this "safe haven" feeling has remained. Every library has its strengths and its own charm, just like yours. I borrow many cookery books from you. One might wonder if I actually read real books. I can't actually hold a book properly because of my pain disorder, I often read books from the online library. The love for cooking and trying things out came from my mother. They say the English can't cook. That is not true. My mother grew up on the Andaman Islands (A group of islands in the Indian Ocean below Myanmar, belonging to India), and experienced an array of culinary influences there. Cooking is meditative and therapeutic for me. Every day "What should I cook today?" is still annoying, I admit. I am in the process of building a blog with old recipes that make you feel good.

I didn't want to write that much. But now you have some idea why my head is somewhere else sometimes. There was and there is just so much to do and process. I'll try to come by soon..... "

We couldn't go to the library for weeks. I went back last week. The librarian told me it was the nicest e-mail she ever received in the library. I was very pleased to hear that, too.

The message

The message is:

  1. Find images for your illness that make it "understandable, graspable".
  2. Also have an eye for the good things that happen to you, notice them. If you want, you can write them down. And remember.

And now for the last part:

In the video, Maria Callas' facial expressions and interpretation show what I mean by the "capricious" etc.. Have a little patience, it takes a few minutes until she starts to sing, but then!

Photo by Stéphan Valentin on Unsplash


The influence of thoughts and feelings on health. (2019, February 28). Retrieved May 23, 2020, from https://www.wissenschaft.de/gesellschaft-psychologie/der-einfluss-von-gedanken-und-gefuehlen-auf-die-gesundheit/


I'm not a doctor or a therapist. I write about my experiences and do research. I have also worked in self-help for several years. And finally, I have been suffering  from  fibromyalgia syndrome and pain caused by other diseases for many years.

The blog is supposed to be informative and entertaining. Nothing more.

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