The Personal Toll Fibromyalgia Takes On Patients

In addition to pain and fatigue, there is an emotional and personal toll fibromyalgia takes on patients. It is surprising that some of this is brought on by family members and even friends, many of whom do not understand the full extent of the disease. It is against such a backdrop that fibromyalgia sufferers experience unreasonable demands, deal with friends who have irrational expectations of the patient, and in some cases may even be conveying the idea that the sufferer might be faring better if she just got up off the couch and tried to walk it off a bit. Sure, this kind of advice might work for someone who is selfishly loafing around or simply a hypochondriac, but in the case fibromyalgia this is not just insensitive, but downright impossible.

At the heart of this insult being added to the actual injury is the fact that the patients – given half a chance – would leap at the opportunity to get up and get moving. It is the unfortunate reality that fibromyalgia disables its sufferers, even as there are not physical signs or easy to discern reasons why a patient should suffer from the incapacitating pains and tiredness. Moreover, the misguided advice offered up by well meaning companions of the sufferer add to the emotional stress associated with fibromyalgia. It is frequently compounded by the insensitive suggestions and negative attitudes of those not suffering from or understanding the complete scope of the pain that is experienced on a daily basis by a patient diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

The personal tolls these kinds of interactions take on the patients require them to learn acceptance of their fibromyalgia as well as acceptance of their acquaintances. It is somewhat odd to suggest that a patient should embrace her fibromyalgia and learn to feel at ease with having the disease. After all, the disease is something to be fought, not celebrated or accepted. Then again, it is only when a fibromyalgia sufferer arrives at a certain level of comfort within their disease that they can acknowledge to themselves and others that no matter what it might look like on the outside, the everyday experiences of pain and fatigue are just as real and ever present.

When this kind of attitude is present, those around the patient understand that there is precious little to be gained by encouraging the patients – however ill conceived their attempts may be – to be someone they are not. Interestingly, this forces the patient to come to terms with their illness and refrain from living in a certain state of denial. Embracing fibromyalgia demands an acceptance of personal limitations just as it also requires patients to learn to advocate for themselves and speak up when others are making unreasonable demands of them. Not everyone believes that they can go ahead and live this kind of way. Some hold that they are by nature far more reserved and proud.

It is in this manner that the personal toll demanded by fibromyalgia can be minimized, even if it cannot be completely avoided.

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