I am here to tell you that Fibromyalgia is a real disorder. It’s a not a “catch-all” disorder, and it’s not a “lazy-person” excuse. We may not know for sure what causes Fibromyalgia Syndrome yet, but we who suffer from it know that it’s very real, and it affects our lives in a huge way on a daily basis.
According to MayoClinic.com, “Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.”
First, I want to address the myth that Fibromyalgia is a lazy person’s disease. Many people are surprised when they find out I’m a Fibro patient because I’m the epitome of an over-achiever. I’m a mom, run a business, and take Graduate courses for my MBA. I exercise, I volunteer, and I host exchange students. You will rarely find me in bed during the day, and you probably won’t hear me complaining too much. But every single day is a battle I wage with my body.
When I get up in the morning, I’m tired. I strive for a good solid nine hours of sleep, but it never feels like enough. I’m exhausted before I even get started. Many times, I’m stiff and sore, just from sleeping.
During the day, I move around as much as I can, trying to prevent the pain from sitting at a desk for a long period of time.
After my work day, doing every-day tasks of a mom and wife physically hurt. It hurts to cook a meal. It hurts to carry my daughter. It hurts to do laundry and to clean the bathroom. If I attempt vacuuming, I can pretty much guarantee my back will be in very bad pain the next day.
When I go to bed at night, my muscles twitch and spasm. I can hardly go a night without my heating pad.
The thing is, I could sit around and feel sorry for myself, or I can get on with my life. I did “sit around” for a while when I was really, really ill, but I nursed myself back to health the best I could. And now I’m concentrating on other things. I choose to spend my time doing what makes me happy, even if it’s harder for me than for other people.
I don’t want sympathy, but I do want people to stop saying that Fibromyalgia doesn’t exist, and I want people to stop saying the Fibro is a catch-all, lazy-person’s disease. If you see a Fibro patient “being lazy,” it’s because he or she is completely exhausted and in pain. He or she may be suffering from a flare-up which can last hours or weeks.
And I’m really tired of people saying “Well, you don’t look sick.” Please, be kind. I am sick and am fighting a hard uphill battle, even if others can’t see it.
It’s a good thing so many people don’t understand this disease. That means they don’t suffer from it. And I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
Have you been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia? What do you want people to know about this disease? Please comment with your thoughts.