Have you ever spoke to a patient who is being treated for fibromyalgia? To fully grasp why fibromyalgia can be disastrous for sufferers living alone, one does not have to look much further than a doctor’s waiting room. Patients identified as fibromyalgia sufferers do not show any obvious signs of trauma or illness, yet they are caught in painful spasms that make it virtually impossible for them to grasp the doorknob when it is their turn to see the doctor. They may also slowly shuffle forward, much like a person who has been without a good night’s sleep for a prolonged period of time, and who is now suffering the ill effects of their oversight with respect to their much needed sleep.
Of course, these patients who are writhing in pain most likely get a full eight hours of sleep at night, try to take a lot of naps and rests throughout their day, and may not even have a demanding, challenging or even taxing job. This makes it hard to cope with fibromyalgia during the best of circumstances, but for someone living along, it is a recipe for disaster. The throbbing pain of fibromyalgia is of course identified as the most unbearable factor of this ailment since it prevents the person suffering with the disease from actually participating in daily activities most everyone else takes for granted.
Caring for a garden, painting the inside of a house, or even just making a bed becomes a study in pain management. The pain may be so severe that sufferers are forced to remain indoors, perhaps even remain in bed, and judiciously plan their every move to minimize the effects of the pain. A tiredness that is hard to understand by anyone who does not experience it first hand complements the debilitation fibromyalgia causes in the lives of its sufferers. Even patients who have found useful painkillers may not be able to make it past the feelings of fatigue. This is not the kind of tiredness that can be overcome with a nap or even a full eight hours of sleep.
Instead, it is the kind of tiredness that makes even the most normal tasks – such as placing a cup and saucer next to the sink – a task so immense that it is carefully weighed by the patient and usually not executed. The result of this fatigue is a sufferer whose basic household is slowly falling into disarray, and who have a home or garden that are going into disrepair. Sufferers living alone find that this leads to an inevitable form of depression. Fibromyalgia patients become slowly realize that they cannot depend on being able to engage in enjoyable activities for a sense of self worth. Instead, they must rely on the kindness of hired help or friends to do even the most menial tasks.
Before long, a patient with fibromyalgia who lives alone may find that she separates herself from other people, lives on her couch with pain as a constant companion, and has the only hope that tomorrow will not be quite as painful and fatiguing as today. There is little to hope for, and depression continues to grow. Intervention by third parties or professionals is crucial to increase the patient’s quality of life and also to ensure that she will take sufficient care of herself.