As featured in the May Edition of Fibromyalgia UK Magazine
Fibromyalgia can be difficult to explain, and even more difficult for people to understand, but this doesn’t mean you have to suffer in silence.
You may be reading this as somebody who is wondering if they have fibromyalgia, or maybe, like me, you’ve just been recently diagnosed, after a long time of feeling truly terrible and wondering what on earth happens next. Perhaps you have known for some time now that you have fibromyalgia but those around you don’t quite get it. You could even be a close friend or relative of a fibromyalgia warrior who just wants to try and comprehend what all this means.
Its hard to explain to somebody who has never experienced a chronic condition quite what it means to be plagued every single day by pain, or extreme fatigue, especially when you look fine on the outside. Sometimes it feels safer not to tell people how you are feeling because of the fear that although they hear the words you are saying they just cannot understand, or perhaps you just cannot even begin to find the words to explain to somebody how you are feeling, how your body feels like it is breaking down and how weary you have become.
If you are just beginning to wonder if you have fibromyalgia, please, don’t suffer in silence, begin your journey to understanding your pain and fatigue by going to the doctor. If you don’t like the first opinion, or feel dismissed, then seek a second opinion. You could have been suffering for years, and just getting on with it, but I live by one of my favourite quotes by Albert Einstien “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”, so why not go to the doctor and see where it may lead? If you find it difficult to get across how you are feeling then book a double appointment, chances are once you start talking you won’t be able to stop.
If you have just been diagnosed, then explain to people your diagnosis as best as you can. Especially to those close to you. Fibromyalgia can be a solemn lonely journey if you do not share it. You don’t have to tell the world, just somebody, anybody, who will help you. There is no shame is asking for help. Don’t keep your suffering inside in the fear of it destroying those around you, because ultimately you could end up destroying yourself.
For those of you who will be told by your loved one that they have had this diagnosis, remember, it is not your job to understand the journey they have taken, after all, it is not your journey but theirs. It is simply your job to say ‘I believe you, how can I help you?’.
Lastly, if you have been suffering with fibromyalgia for many years, don’t just survive, live. Your head may tell you that some days appear impossible, others risky, based on previous experiences, or maybe even pointless, but open your heart and face your fears head on, preferably with somebody you trust. Tell them that you are scared, and let them help you to let go of your fear instead of suffering the familiar. You never know, with the right support, you may well surprise yourself.
I have been lucky enough to have been offered the opportunity to write regularly for Fibromyalgia Magazine, a UK based magazine that offers worldwide support to Fibromyalgia warriors. Please click the link at the top of this maple to access this and more wonderful articles!