By: Teresa Cooper
When you don’t live with fibromyalgia, it is difficult to understand the impact it has on a person’s life. Fibro warriors everywhere know all too well what it’s like to live with this all-encompassing disorder. Unless you’ve gone through it yourself, you probably don’t get it, but if you do, you know these problems have a huge impact on the way we fibro warriors live. These are 10 problems only people with fibromyalgia understand.
1. Chronic pain that seems to emanate from everywhere. When the doctor asks, “Where does it hurt?” you don’t know where to start. It hurts all over. Which pain is worse? Who knows? We just wish we could make it stop.
2. Exhaustion for no discernible reason. Why am I so tired? I just woke up! The chronic fatigue that comes with fibromyalgia makes it hard to even get out of bed sometimes.
3. Explaining that you’re not lazy to people who don’t get it. No, I’m not lazy. My body hurts and I’m tired. Don’t you think I’d get up and do X-Y-Z if I could? Everything can seem insurmountable when you have fibromyalgia.
4. The paradox of exercise and its benefits vs. the tiredness. The doctor says exercise will help with fibromyalgia, but the fibro makes it hard for me to even move sometimes. How do I get to a place where I can exercise comfortably without pain? Testing to see if it works can bring on more pain, which makes it seem like exercise is the devil.
5. Did you just punch me? Oh. No. You just tapped my shoulder. Sensitivity to touch is a common symptom of fibromyalgia and sometimes even the lightest touch feels like an assault. You want to put a sign on your back that says “please don’t touch me,” but that seems offensive. Where’s my t-shirt that warns people that when they touch me it feels like I’m being punched?
6. Could you turn that down, please? People with fibromyalgia can have heightened senses – hearing being one of them. What seems like a normal volume to you sounds like a megaphone to me.
7. I am not a lucky stiff. My joints and muscles feel stiff almost constantly and from the moment I wake up, and movement does not make it better. In fact, by the end of the day, I want to crawl back into bed to relieve some of my misery.
8. Leg cramps! Foot cramps! Oh, the muscle spasms! You get tired of the spasms after a while, really. No one else seems to get as many leg cramps as I do, and I eat plenty of bananas.
9. Trouble concentrating is bothersome. The fibro fog that takes over my body makes it hard to concentrate and can have an impact on my short-term memory. I’m sorry I asked you to repeat what you just said, but I simply cannot seem to focus on the words sometimes. Sticky notes and lists take over my life so I can deal with this. Planners have become my best friend – I just have to remember to look at them daily.
10. Chronic depression. It’s hard not to be depressed when you’re tired and in pain all the time. I’m sorry I’m always such a downer. I just have a hard time coping with this disorder and all that comes with it.
If you have fibromyalgia, I’m sure you can relate. If not, I hope reading this gives you some insight into what it’s like to live in our world. If you know someone with fibromyalgia, give them a hug today – just be gentle