Dealing With Other’s Misunderstandings Of Your Fibromyalgia

Having fibromyalgia can be a lonely experience. Because you have no physical findings, it can be easy for others to assume there’s nothing really wrong with you or that your symptoms are all in your head.

You know that fibromyalgia is a real thing. The trick is to get other people to recognize that as well. 

Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia Others May Notice

While you may look normal to the outside world, fibromyalgia has some symptoms that others may notice. These include the following:

  • Extreme fatigue. Others may notice that you are tired all the time or that you have to stop and rest when you are doing anything that exerts your muscles. You need to explain to them that fatigue is a common phenomenon of fibromyalgia and that you just can’t help it when fatigue takes over and you need to take a nap or simply stop and rest when doing something.
  • Stiffness. Others may notice that, especially in the morning, your muscles are stiff and you can’t move about as nimbly as you used to be able to. The stiffness usually gets better as the day progresses. Explain to others that morning stiffness is very common in fibromyalgia and that there is little you can do but stretching exercises and waiting until the symptom passes.
  • Tender points. People around you may notice you wince when they touch you in certain areas. These tender points are a natural part of fibromyalgia and are located in several places throughout the body. Explain to them that tender points are common aspects of fibromyalgia and tell them to be careful when touching certain areas of the body, as they are exquisitely tender when touched.
  • Depression. Others may notice that you aren’t as cheerful as you used to be or that you tend to isolate yourself more than before. Depression goes along with fibromyalgia in many cases and you may not feel like doing things with others as a result. Tell others that depression goes along with fibromyalgia and that there are medications you can take to alleviate some of the symptoms.
  • Muscle aches. You may complain of aching muscles and be unable to do things you once were easily able to do because now you have muscle pain. This can affect all aspects of daily living, including simple things like carrying in the groceries or working in the garden. Tell others that muscle aches are simply a part of fibromyalgia and that pain relievers can be used to ease some of these aches and pains.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome. Others in your life may be aware of your bowel troubles, especially if you suffer from diarrhea and have to go to the bathroom frequently. Explain to them that many people with fibromyalgia also suffer from symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and that you happen to be one of them. 

What You Can Do To Teach People About Fibromyalgia

There may be those in your life who don’t understand fibromyalgia and want to know more about it so they can understand your symptoms and perhaps help you when you need assistance. You can give them brochures from your doctor’s office that talk about fibromyalgia so that they can see that it’s a real disease that is affecting all areas of your life.

Ask them to research fibromyalgia on the internet. There are numerous sources available on the web that talk about fibromyalgia, its symptoms, and its treatment. Through internet research, the other person will come to know fibromyalgia as you do—as a chronic disease that has no known origin but that has several available treatments, some of which you may be taking yourself.

If you have purchased a book on fibromyalgia for yourself, share that book with loved ones and others who want to know more about fibromyalgia. Books on fibromyalgia are plentiful and explain to others the various symptoms you might have. The books will help others recognize that fibromyalgia is a real disease.

If you attend a fibromyalgia support group, invite the other person to attend one. There they may meet others who suffer from the same disease you do and can help your loved one recognize that it is a common disease with many different manifestations.