February 7th, 2015
Meditation as Medicine
By Amy Paturel, Neurology Now
In the spring of 2000, Cassandra Metzger was working as an attorney at the PBS headquarters in Washington, D.C., attending night classes for a master’s degree at Johns Hopkins University, and training for her first 10K race. At 34 years of age, her life was full and fast. But during that spring and into the summer, she became unable to get out of bed because of unexplained pain and fatigue. By the fall, she had to stop working.
A year later, Metzger was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a disorder of the central nervous system that seems to distort the body’s normal response to pain. Some researchers believe fibromyalgia causes pain signals to misfire.
Metzger was prescribed painkillers, muscle relaxers, sleep drugs, mood stabilizers, and other medications to manage her pain, insomnia, fatigue, and resulting depression. None of these worked very well. Then she discovered meditation, an ancient practice of focused attention designed to silence the brain’s default thought patterns and increase awareness of the present moment.
“Meditation saved me from despair more than once,” Metzger says. “During episodes of acute illness, I was saved by knowing that the experience of pain was just one moment in time—maybe an excruciating moment, maybe a long moment, but still a moment. I learned this by meditating. The concept of impermanence—that everything passes away—may seem scary, but for someone who is vomiting from a pain medication on which she pinned every last hope, impermanence is a beacon.” . . . Read the full article at Neurology Now!